Last year, Microsoft announced they were working with Mediatek on Project Sopris Secure WiFi MCU, based on Mediatek MT7687 MIPS microcontroller with 7 properties enhancing security (Hardware-based Root of Trust, failure reporting etc…).
The company has now unveiled a complete secure IoT solution with Azure Sphere comprised of three main components:
Azure Sphere certified secured MCUs which combine real-time and application cores with built-in Microsoft security technology and connectivity. The first compatible MCU will be Mediatek MT3620, which differs from MIPS based Project Sopris, as it features one Cortex A7 and two Cortex M4 cores as well as WiFi connectivity.
- Azure Sphere OS that provides four layers on top of the hardware: security monitor, custom Linux kernel, on-chip connectivity services to Azure Sphere Security Service, and app containers for computer (A7 core) or/and real-time I/Os (M4 cores).
- Azure Sphere Security Service, a secure cloud service for Azure Sphere device that brokers trust for device-to-device and device-to-cloud communication through certificate-based authentication. The service can also detect security threats thanks to online failure reporting, and update security through software/firmware updates.
Azure Sphere should be found in various IoT applications including in the white goods, agriculture, energy and infrastructure sectors, and Microsoft claims three benefits the solution namely: security, productivity (e.g. via Visual Studio development), and opportunity …
Beside Mediatek, other silicon vendors are involved in bringing Azure Sphere certified MCUs including NXP semiconductor, Nuvoton, Qualcomm, STMicro, Silicon Labs, and others. Seeed Studio is also listed as a partner, which probably a development kit should be launched in due time.
But for now, Azure Sphere is still in private preview, and development kits are expected in mid 2018, and end products should start selling by the end of 2018. You’ll find some limited information on the product page.