Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Mentor Graphics targets RTOS upgrade at IoT applications

Steve Rogerson
May 13, 2015
The latest release of Oregon-based Mentor Graphics’ Nucleus real-time operating system (RTOS) is targeted at connected embedded devices for high-performance, advanced IoT applications. The Nucleus RTOS and process model technology enable developers to reconfigure, update and provision connected embedded devices that use cloud-based remote software services.
Users can dynamically modify application software during system operation throughout the process, keeping the target up to date on all changes concurrently. The process model supports ARM Cortex-M based cores with dynamic linking and loading (DLL) capabilities, enabling devices to optimise memory resources.
Integrated TI WiLink and CoAP constrained application protocol provide the connectivity of IoT devices. This RTOS targets connected IoT applications such as portable medical devices, energy management systems, wearables and smart connected devices.
IoT endpoints based on Cortex-M cores with the Nucleus RTOS and process model technology can now be reconfigured, updated and provisioned using cloud-based s remote software services. This allows embedded developers to modify application software dynamically during system operation, keeping the target up to date, even in mission-critical environments. The RTOS provides the IoT middleware, scalable footprint, power management and security required for IoT connected devices.
The lightweight Nucleus process model takes advantage of the memory protection unit of Cortex-M0+, Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 cores to create protected regions in memory that can be used for dynamic application loading and unloading at system start-up or afterwards during run time. This release also includes CoAP with DTLS security support, and support for the Texas Instruments WiLink 8 module for Wifi and Bluetooth wireless combo connectivity.
The growth of smart IoT devices with feature-rich applications and the need to interact with cloud-based services are placing new requirements on embedded IoT software developers. Wearables, portable medical devices, energy management systems and other smart connected devices are routinely based on resource-limited systems using Cortex-M cores. IoT systems have limited memory, so a single monolithic application cannot be loaded at start-up with all the software required for the breadth of services.
IoT systems with limited memory resources must run applications based on current need, and with the ability to free memory resources when the application is no longer required. Large applications must be parsed into smaller algorithms and loaded sequentially as modules, only when needed to conserve memory resources.
The management of software on IoT devices requires the ability to upgrade applications and/or load new modules using cloud- based services. The Nucleus RTOS makes full use of the memory protection unit on Cortex-M cores to provide protected regions that isolate software modules for dynamic linking and loading. With the RTOS process model, software can be loaded from system memory as needed, or from cloud-based services to upgrade a system, provision the device or provide fee-based software.
Today’s complex IoT devices combine multiple wireless connections, driving the need for consolidated wireless systems that support multiple protocols on a single device. Bringing high-performance wireless connectivity to IoT devices, the combo connectivity features 2.4 and 5GHz dual-band throughput, Wifi 802.11 capabilities, and dual-mode Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy technology. The low power features of the WiLink 8 modules are supported with the Nucleus RTOS power management framework to optimise power consumption and extend battery life. This pre-integration enables IoT developers to bring to market connected devices with the latest security protocols that support multiple wireless modes in a single chip for medical, industrial and other IoT products.
IoT node devices require low power to interface with cloud-based services supporting the latest IP protocols. The RTOS makes use of CoAP to bridge IoT nodes that are power constrained or have limited system resources yet require cloud access. Using IP standards, the RTOS with CoAP provides a RESTful-based framework with DTLS for security and UDP over IP for transport, making it efficient to cloud services.
“The use of cloud-based services to provision and upgrade software in resource constrained IoT devices using the Nucleus RTOS process model gives developers the ability to effectively use the advanced features of our WiLink 8 combo connectivity,” said Eran Zigman, business line manager for wireless connectivity at Texas Instruments. “Dynamic linking and loading enables the efficient use of memory resources and opens the door for embedded IoT developers to add a breadth of features to create the next-generation of connected devices.”