The next big thing – RTOS for IoT – and Samsung lines up

Written by on April 5, 2016 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

Internet of Things 22If Google has won the smartphone operating system war, there is still room for a new approach in the fragmented and immature world of the Internet of Things. Many newly connected devices will require an OS which supports apps and web services, but otherwise has more in common with the real time OSs (RTOSs) of the embedded market, including tiny footprint and minimal latency.

That will open opportunities for RTOS experts like Intel’s Wind River; for embedded chip giants like ARM with its mBED OS; and for mobile players which were forced to accept Android’s leadership in smartphones, but now want another chance. Huawei has already shown off its own operating system for IoT devices, and now Samsung is set to do the same, if the agenda for its developer conference – to be held in San Francisco on April 27-28 – is anything to go by.

The agenda for the event includes a panel session called ‘Choosing a tiny IoT real time operating system’. The brochure says: “In this session, Samsung will announce our new, open source IoT real time operating system, which has a wide scope of features while maintaining a lightweight and efficient footprint.”

Like other RTOSs, the system will enable devices to execute simple tasks – such as turning on lights – rapidly and automatically, with no human trigger. For Samsung, this would have obvious relevance in smart home systems where interactions between the firm’s various home appliances could be automated – a washing machine cycle controlled from a smartphone, for instance, or the integration of security and lighting networks.

However, such an OS would also have broader potential in applications such as a smart factor, and since it is open source, Samsung could seek to establish it as an open platform, or an Android of the real time world.

According to PC World, the RTOS may be a stripped-down implementation of Tizen, the Linux-based mobile OS for which Samsung has been trying to find a home. The project evolved out of the now-defunct LiMO mobile platform and is led by Samsung and by Intel – the latter joined after the collapse of its MeeGo mobile OS venture with Nokia, after Nokia adopted Windows Phone. Samsung has shown Tizen in smartphones and smart TVs and it runs in some of its smartwatches, but most of its plans to make it into a significant mobile OS – and a counterweight to Android – have come to nothing amidst limited carrier or developer interest.

In the IoT, however – and especially in the real time embedded end of that space, where Android cannot currently reach – there may be more opportunity for Samsung to attempt to control its software destiny this time around, and perhaps to establish a broad industry platform with support from other vendors.

This could bring together the RTOS with hardware – last year, Samsung unveiled its Artik IoT modules, which include processors, memory, communications chips and software to provide device makers with the bones of a connected device. To compete with similar modules from Intel and other chip giants, a software ecosystem will be essential, so the RTOS may turn out to be more important for Samsung’s semiconductor business than for its devices or home equipment.

First published at RethinkWireless

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About the Author

About the Author: Caroline Gabriel is Research Director & Co-Founder at Rethink Technology Research. She has been analyzing and reporting in the hi-tech industries since 1986 and has a huge wealth of experience of technology trends and how they impact on business models. .

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