Author: Andrew Foster, Product Director | IOTech
We launched Edge XRT at end of summer 2020 as a complementary extension to Edge Xpert and it was designed to target time-critical and resource-constrained edge systems. These represent an important subset of use cases that could not be easily addressed with Edge Xpert. We’re pleased to report that Edge XRT is already really resonating with the market.
In particular, a couple of optimal uses have emerged where Edge XRT is adding a lot of value and provides clear differentiation over alternative approaches. The first is to provide a flexible IoT framework for microcontroller and microcomputer class devices, these are environments with memory constraints less than 1GB and as low as 256KBs, typically running a low powered ARM processor. Creating IoT applications for these types of device is normally the realm of custom/bespoke application code created by highly experienced embedded developers. What our users like about Edge XRT is that in many cases they can create connected edge applications simply by configuring Edge XRT’s standard components without the need for complicated programming, although they can of course create components of any complexity if needed.
This capability was highlighted in our recent webcast “Accelerating Time to Value for IoT Applications at the Far Edge” where we discussed our partnership with Microsoft. Over the last six months we have been working with the Microsoft Azure Sphere team who have in turn been partnering with a number of major hardware vendors to create a new generation of secure, certified chips and MCUs based on Azure Sphere IoT technologies. In this case, Edge XRT provides a standard configurable IoT application layer for Azure Sphere devices that can reduce time-to-market for new edge applications deployed within the Azure ecosystem from weeks to days.
The second area where we are seeing significant interest in Edge XRT is as an embedded component used within third party edge stacks. Edge XRT’s small size and configurable architecture (supplied as a set of libraries) make it a great technology that can enhance other platforms and edge solutions. Our partners can easily choose the specific capabilities they want to utilize such as comprehensive OT connectivity or data transformation/local processing and embed these capabilities in their own solution. By supporting different northbound interface options (e.g. MQTT or native adaption on the Edge XRT bus) third party integration is very straight forward.
In summary, we are seeing a need from the market for IoT capabilities to be available on an increasing range of different devices, especially for low-cost MCU class devices deployed at the far edge. Providing a standard edge software layering with great “out-of-the-box” connectivity such as Edge XRT, significantly reduces development time and risk for new projects. We are excited with the progress we have made since launching Edge XRT and believe that it provides clear technical and business benefits that our users understand.
If you are interested in finding out more about Edge XRT, details on the latest Edge Xpert v1.1 release can be found here. If you want to try it for yourself, then you can simply download an evaluation copy from XRT software download.