New LITE working group takes up ARMs against the IoT

Another initiative targets developers of smart doorbells and other gizmos

Linaro, the collaborative engineering effort focused around Linux for ARM-based devices, has spawned a new working group to develop open reference platforms for connected products, with an inevitable eye on the Internet of Things (IoT).

Dubbed the Linaro IoT and Embedded (LITE) Segment Group, the new initiative is launching with the backing of many of the usual industry suspects, including ARM itself, chip makers such as NXP Semiconductor and Texas Instruments, plus Red Hat and Canonical from the Linux distributor side.

The group claims that developing a secure platform for connected devices is its priority, no doubt driven by dire warnings coming from security experts about the dangers of connecting more and more things up to the internet and thus exposing them to a world full of evil hackers and malware.

Initial technical work within LITE will be focused on delivering an end to end, cross-vendor solution using the Cortex-M architecture, ARM’s smallest and lowest power consumption processor family, although it will also support the more powerful Cortex-A chips.

This is to include a bootloader, RTOS, security, communications, middleware and a choice of application programming tools, targeting applications ranging from sensors and connected controllers to smart devices and IoT gateways, with both the industrial and consumer markets in mind.

The problem is that there are already a rash of initiatives and competing standards focused on the IoT, an issue that LITE itself acknowledges. It stated that members will work to reduce fragmentation in operating software, middleware and connectivity solutions, and aim to deliver reference platforms to enable faster time to market, improved security and lower maintenance costs for connected products.

“Linaro has been very successful in hosting collaboration within the ARM ecosystem to reduce fragmentation and deliver new open source technology into multiple markets,” said the organisation’s chief executive, George Grey, in a canned quote.

Grey said that LITE will be an opportunity to apply the same approach to the rapidly emerging IoT software market, and that delivering base reference platforms will combat fragmentation while allowing the vendors to focus on their differentiation and value-add.

LITE said it is making available today a preview of technology that will be delivered in the initial LITE IoT Reference Platform coming in December, while an open source sensor solution based on it is being demonstrated during the Linaro Connect shindig in Las Vegas this week. ®

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