Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Avnet gives away 20,000 IoT starter kits

Steve Rogerson
July 24, 2019

Avnet is giving away 20,000 free Azure Sphere starter kits to help developers create highly secure, end-to-end IoT services.
Security has become the biggest challenge for IoT development, with eight out of ten developers identifying it as their biggest hurdle. To help developers create secure, end-to-end IoT services, Avnet is giving away 20,000 Azure Sphere starter kits.
Additionally, developers will have access to a series of resources including webinars, lectures, road tests and design contests hosted by Avnet as part of the company’s on-going relationship with Microsoft’s Azure Sphere ecosystem.
Developed by Avnet and announced earlier this year, the Azure Sphere MT3620 starter kit can equip IoT endpoint devices to be highly secure. The starter kit leverages the Avnet-developed Azure Sphere module that is based on Microsoft’s secure Azure Sphere operating system and Azure Sphere security service hosted on a MediaTek MT3620 secure MCU.
The kits will be offered through Avnet’s and Element 14 communities with kits and contest submissions open until September 30, 2019. Additionally, developers will be able to put their skills to the test in two different design challenges based on the Azure Sphere starter kit, with the opportunity to win a range of prizes totalling more than $70,000:

  • Sensing the world: Participants are challenged to develop an IoT device that demonstrates the vast potential of Azure Sphere. Participants can use their choice of peripherals, complementing the on-board connectivity, sensors and expansion possibilities, as well as choose their own application. Submitted projects will be judged on ingenuity and how well they achieve their stated purpose.
  • Secure everything challenge: Focusing on the increasing need for security, participants are challenged to create a highly-secured, connected MCU-powered device using Azure Sphere. Projects should satisfy one of a number of defined themes including building and home automation, smart retail and energy, and renewables.
“The rapid expansion of IoT has brought forward a new set of security challenges for developers, putting even more projects at risk of getting lost in proof-of-concept purgatory,” said Lou Lutostanski, vice president of IoT at Avnet. “By working with Microsoft, we’ve combined the superior security benefits of Azure Sphere with Avnet’s hardware and software capabilities. As a result, we’re delivering secure IoT support that designers need to take their concepts from the back of a napkin all the way to production, faster than before.”
The starter kit takes advantage of Microsoft’s secure Azure Sphere OS and Azure Sphere security service. By uniting hardware, software and cloud in one product, Azure Sphere secures the seven critical properties of an IoT device – hardware root of trust, defence in depth, small trusted computing base, dynamic compartments, certificate-based authentication, failure reporting, and renewable security.
Securing these seven features gives developers the benefits of IoT while reducing the risk of an end device being vulnerable to attack, which can bring peace of mind to any business.
The giveaways and related design resources are the latest initiatives from Avnet, as they work with Microsoft to help developers secure IoT devices with Azure Sphere. The collaboration highlights the power of Avnet’s end-to-end product development ecosystem, which helps bring projects from idea to design, and design to production. The result is a reduction in technological complexity, time to market and costs across hardware and software in the IoT, backed by Azure Sphere’s stable, secure and flexible platform for professional development.