Amazon FreeRTOS now supports Bluetooth Low Energy! Find Out How! | Symmetry Blog

Dec 5, 2018
 

With so many IoT devices cropping up, having a proper operating system for IoT devices can really help utilize all the features unique to IoT applications. Many devices operating off the cloud or the edge output a lot of data and being able to easily manage that data can really make the difference for engineers. IoT applications also require complex connections between devices, and an operating system built specifically for IoT can help handle the interconnected systems of IoT devices.

Understanding the modern needs of upcoming applications, Amazon has released a new operating system, Amazon FreeRTOS, made specifically for IoT microcontrollers. Furthermore, a new product by Nordic Semiconductor has brought Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to Amazon's FreeRTOS, expanding the possibilities in IoT development.

Keeping reading to learn more about how to bring Amazon FreeRTOS and Bluetooth Low Energy together.

 

What is Amazon FreeRTOS?

Amazon FreeRTOS (a:FreeRTOS) is an operating system for microcontrollers that makes small, low-power edge devices easy to program, deploy, secure, connect, and manage. Amazon FreeRTOS extends the FreeRTOS kernel, a popular open source operating system for microcontrollers, with software libraries that make it easy to securely connect your small, low-power devices to AWS cloud services like AWS IoT Core or to more powerful edge devices running AWS IoT Greengrass.

A microcontroller (MCU) is a single chip containing a simple processor that can be found in many devices, including appliances, sensors, fitness trackers, industrial automation, and automobiles. Many of these small devices could benefit from connecting to the cloud or locally to other devices. For example, smart electricity meters need to connect to the cloud to report on usage, and building security systems need to communicate locally so that a door will unlock when you badge in. Microcontrollers have limited compute power and memory capacity and typically perform simple, functional tasks. Microcontrollers frequently run operating systems that do not have built-in functionality to connect to local networks or the cloud, making IoT applications a challenge. Amazon FreeRTOS helps solve this problem by providing both the core operating system (to run the edge device) as well as software libraries that make it easy to securely connect to the cloud (or other edge devices) so you can collect data from them for IoT applications and take action.

 

Some of the benefits of using Amazon FreeRTOS include:

  • Extending the FreeFTOS Kernal
  • Easily Programming, Deploying, and Managing Low-Power Connected Devices
  • Secure Data and Device Connections
  • Connecting to the Cloud or to a Local Edge Device
  • Broad Hardware and Technology Ecosystem
  • Integrated High Quality Tools

 

How does Amazon FreeRTOS work?

Amazon FreeRTOS provides everything you need to easily program connected microcontroller-based devices and collect data from them for IoT applications. You can get started by choosing an Amazon FreeRTOS-qualified microcontroller from the AWS Partner Device Catalog. Then, you can use the Amazon FreeRTOS console or GitHub to select the relevant software libraries for your devices and download the complete Amazon FreeRTOS operating system, including the device and application specific libraries. To learn more about all the options for getting started, click here.

Once Amazon FreeRTOS is deployed to your devices, you can securely connect them to cloud services like AWS IoT Core, to a local edge device, or to a mobile device via BLE (BLE support in Amazon FreeRTOS is currently available in Beta), and update them remotely using the OTA update feature.

 

Amazon FreeRTOS How It Works

 

More information about Amazon FreeRTOS can be found here.

 

So, how do I add Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to Amazon FreeRTOS?

Nordic Semiconductor has recently announced that its award-winning nRF52840 multiprotocol Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoC) is one of the first devices to support Bluetooth LE with Amazon FreeRTOS.

“We are delighted to be working with Nordic Semiconductor,” comments Dirk Didascalou, Vice President, AWS IoT, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “By allowing Amazon FreeRTOS applications to communicate over Bluetooth Low Energy, we are making it easy for our customers to securely connect their Bluetooth LE devices to AWS IoT via a mobile device, and build innovative, low power applications including analyzing sensor data, and monitoring and managing fleets of devices.” 

“The Nordic nRF52840 SoC has become one of the world’s most popular Bluetooth LE chips since its introduction in 2016,” comments Nordic Semiconductor CTO, Svein-Egil Nielsen. “Featuring an Arm Cortex-M4F processor, 1MB of Flash and 256kB of RAM memory, together with a multiprotocol radio that supports IEEE 802.15.4 in addition to complete Bluetooth 5 support, the nRF52840 is the ideal platform for IoT devices.

“The Nordic nRF52840 SoC has become one of the world’s most popular Bluetooth LE chips since its introduction in 2016,” comments Nordic Semiconductor CTO, Svein-Egil Nielsen. “Featuring an Arm Cortex-M4F processor, 1MB of Flash and 256kB of RAM memory, together with a multiprotocol radio that supports IEEE 802.15.4 in addition to complete Bluetooth 5 support, the nRF52840 is the ideal platform for IoT devices.”

Nielsen continues: “We are delighted to see AWS add Bluetooth LE support to Amazon FreeRTOS and name the nRF52840 as one of the first chips to officially support it. As many customers’ de-facto, ultra-low power IoT connectivity chip of choice, offering a wide breadth of connectivity options with outstanding energy efficiency, the nRF52840 is an excellent complement to, and expands, the solution and product application range possible with Amazon FreeRTOS.”

The Bluetooth LE support in Amazon FreeRTOS was recently announced at AWS re:Invent 2018 in Las Vegas.

This Beta release includes a GATT/GAP API, a custom profile for provisioning Wi-Fi credentials over Bluetooth LE, and companion iOS and Android SDKs. Also included is a custom profile for MQTT over Bluetooth LE that offers seamless Device-to-Cloud messaging via an iOS or Android proxy device.

 

To learn more about the Nordic nRF52840 and to purchase, click here.

 

Looking to integrate Nordic products with your design? Our Applications Engineers offer free design and technical help for your latest designs. Contact us today!

 


 

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Why partner with Symmetry Electronics? Symmetry's technical staff is specially trained by our suppliers to provide a comprehensive level of technical support. Our in-house Applications Engineers provide free design services to help customers early in the design cycle, providing solutions to save them time, money and frustration. Contact Symmetry for more information.



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