Endian ❤ Zephyr RTOS: An Introduction

Zephyr IoT

Building and bringing connectivity to embedded Linux devices is kind of Endian’s thing - we’ve been doing it since the company started back in 2003.

Linux is a great choice for any device that can support it - it’s free, has great hardware support, it’s incredibly feature-rich and has an enormous, dedicated developer community that are constantly optimizing performance, adding features and squashing bugs. If your device can run Linux, it probably should.

But tiny IoT devices that wants to operate for years on a coin-cell battery can’t. Linux can be made quite tiny, but it won’t ever be tiny enough to run on a MCU with 16 kB RAM and 128 kB flash.

On these devices, the traditional solution means choosing some proprietary kernel which you then customize to your use case with homebrewed or copy-pasted code. But the requirements on modern IoT devices has made this approach unfeasible. If you want your connected device to be secured, robust, performant and power efficient, you need modern development principles: community collaboration, well-designed abstractions, modularity.

The Zephyr Project

Enter Zephyr RTOS - a project that aims to do for tiny IoT devices what Linux has done for the rest of the embedded world. The permissive licensing model, active community, feature richness, focus on security and robustness and wide hardware support makes Zephyr a great choice for modern IoT development.

We have already used Zephyr for several projects, including (the world’s first?) 6LoWPAN-connected EV charging station; a solar-powered, camera-equipped recycling bin; an award-winning self-powered flow sensor and a smart lock that uses NFC and BLE.

These products are incredibly complex, but also have strict requirements regarding encrypted communication, ultra-low power consumption and device-to-cloud interoperability. It’s true that these constraints can be satisfied using just about any RTOS, but the time-to-market likely wouldn’t even be of the same order of magnitude as Zephyr.

If you’re curious about what Zephyr can do for your company - drop us a line or give us a call. We’re always happy to help.

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