IoT sensors are being infused into just about everything, from industrial equipment to consumer devices, and increasingly these devices are connecting to the cloud. By 2020, Gartner predicts there will be more than 20 billion connected devices*. In April 2018, we announced we’re investing $5 billion in IoT and the intelligent edge over the next four years. Since then, we’ve been making a number of investments from product innovation – including Azure Sphere, Azure Digital Twins, Azure IoT Edge, Azure Maps and Azure IoT Central – new partnerships with DJI, SAP, PTC, Qualcomm and Carnegie Mellon University for IoT and edge app development, and programs to help drive the next wave of innovation for our customers.
Today, I am incredibly excited to share we have acquired Express Logic, a leader in real time operating systems (RTOS) for IoT and edge devices powered by microcontroller units (MCUs). Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS has over 6.2 billion deployments, making it one of the most deployed RTOS in the world per VDC Research. This widespread popularity is driven by demand for technology to support resource constrained environments, especially those that require safety and security. Manufacturers building products across a range of categories – from low capacity sensors like lightbulbs and temperature gauges to air conditioners, medical devices, and network appliances – leverage the size, safety and security benefits of Express Logic solutions to achieve faster time to market. Even highly constrained devices (battery powered and having less than 64KB of flash memory) can use Express Logic solutions. Over 9 billion of these MCU-powered devices are built and deployed globally every year, many of which can benefit from Express Logic solutions.
With this acquisition, we will unlock access to billions of new connected endpoints, grow the number of devices that can seamlessly connect to Azure and enable new intelligent capabilities. Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS joins Microsoft’s growing support for IoT devices and is complementary with Azure Sphere, our premier security offering in the microcontroller space. Our goal is to make Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS available as an option for real time processing requirements on an Azure Sphere device and also enable ThreadX-powered devices to connect to Azure IoT Edge devices when the IoT solution calls for edge computing capabilities. While we recommend Azure Sphere for customers’ most secured connections to the cloud, where Azure Sphere isn’t possible in highly constrained devices, we recommend Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS over other RTOS options in the industry because of its additional certifications and out-of-the-box connectivity to Azure IoT Hub.
As we’ve stated consistently in the past, our primary goal is to simplify IoT – from the cloud all the way down to the smallest MCU based devices. We do this by meeting our customers where they are with the right developer tools, software and intelligent cloud services to manage their solutions at scale. Express Logic’s technology and team will be an incredible addition to Microsoft in our quest to give every customer the ability to transform their businesses, and the world at large, with connected solutions.
*Gartner, Inc., “Leading the IoT: Gartner Insights on how to Lead in a Connected World”, by Mark Hung https://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/books/iot/iotEbook_digital.pdf