Microsoft announced that Azure Sphere will arrive in February 2020


In April of last year, Microsoft announced a new product under the name Azure Sphere, a "package solution" that will make IoT devices more secure by using a new Linux-based operating system. Now Microsoft has announced the release date.

Microsoft took advantage of its stay at the IoT Solutions World Congress and announced the schedule of microcontroller launch Azure Sphere (MCU), together eleven new industry use cases for your Azure IoT Central platform. They are particularly aimed at retail, healthcare, government institutions or the energy sector. According to the company, the solution will be available with its associated cloud security service from February 2020.

Maybe some of you know that Microsoft released its first Azure Sphere chip (MediaTek MT3620) on October last year. Called Pluto, the system features a custom Linux kernel and secure containers for applications.

With this secure boot system, Sphere users have additional firmware and hardware protection.

With this Microsoft answers an important question with Azure Sphere: in a connected device environment, how can you maintain security? Cars, appliances, locks, toys, consumer electronics, lights, and more are powered by microcontrollers (MCUs) and they are all getting more and more connected.

Pluto gives Azure Sphere a secure communication link to the cloud platform backend. Additionally, users can take advantage of Wi-Fi hardware management to protect IoT applications.

Azure Sphere is a solution that includes three components. One is a the MediaTek MT3620 chip, which should already be widely adopted by Microsoft customers.

The second component is a cloud service designed to protect Azure Sphere devices through certificate-based authentication and by monitoring the threat image and continually improving security with software updates.

The third component is Azure Sphere OS, a new operating system based on a custom Linux kernel to provide IoT devices up to multiple layers of security and a secure software environment.

Three chipmakers already work hand in hand with Microsft one of them, MediaTek who passed the test with his MT3620, while the Dutch NXP has been working with Microsoft since June to improve the capabilities and power of its i.MX 8 processor.

"NXP's collaboration with Microsoft is a further step in our ongoing commitment to providing comprehensive security solutions to our customers," said Joe Yu, vice president of Low Power Application Processor Product Line at NXP. “With this Azure Sphere certified application processor, customers can create next-generation products with the energy efficiency and multifaceted capabilities of the i.MX 8 series and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that their products are protected in the field by the Azure Sphere security service «.

Finally, Qualcomm It should soon offer the first chip for Azure Sphere, which the same technology should be running on what Microsoft calls "Guardian Modules," which serve to provide secure connectivity to existing industrial equipment.

Besides that three clients also made themselves knownAmong the "hundreds of customers" with whom Microsoft announces plans to implement Azure Sphere.

  • The first of them is the international coffee chain "Starbucks", which will use Azure Sphere solutions to connect its store equipment with Guardian modules.
  • The second is Gojo Industries, creator of Purell hydroalcoholic lotions for hand disinfection. The company is updating its lotion dispensers in healthcare facilities with Azure Sphere.
  • Finally, Leoni is a German cable manufacturer who works for various sensitive industries and wants to give intelligence to his cables while securing them.

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