Nordic Semiconductor today announces that its nRF52840 and nRF52810 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) System-on-Chip (SoCs) running Zephyr RTOS have been selected by Santa Barbara, CA-based Adero™ for its suite of intelligent organization products.
Nordic has been a member of the Zephyr™ project since 2016 and is present on both the Governing Board and Technical Steering Committee. Nordic developers have made extensive contributions to Zephyr since 2016, including the Bluetooth LE Link Layer and MCU Manager device management protocol for device firmware update (DFU), used by Adero in its ‘Intelligent Organization Starter and Deluxe Kits’, recently launched in the U.S. Due to the long term partnership and Nordic’s position in the Zephyr project, Nordic was well placed to work with Adero when they selected the Zephyr RTOS.
“We chose Zephyr as the RTOS for our product as this was the best future oriented platform and OS for our embedded product,” says Adrian Yanes, Vice President or Product Development at Adero. “We knew the nRF52 Series was strong on low power and overall performance, and selecting this came naturally as it really complemented Zephyr with its modest footprint, low overhead and overall performance.
“The already existing features in Zephyr, and Nordic’s ability to support us on some central elements like the open source Bluetooth stack, allowed us to focus most of our efforts on our application which was really critical to use during our product development.”
“Nordic routinely supports nRF52 Series SoC products to accelerate customer product development,” says Joel Stapleton, Technical Product Manager, Nordic Semiconductor. “Supporting the Zephyr RTOS and collaborating around an open source platform proved to be an effective way to focus our efforts where they made the biggest difference for the customer and allowed us to work openly and faster as a result.
“We saw that the unique expertise that exists in different organizations can come together to continually build a better solution for all users. For Nordic, the independence of the Zephyr project is a key advantage over alternative solutions for customers as it attracts the greatest diversity of supported platforms and developers. The Zephyr RTOS vision aligns closely with the product makers using Nordic devices, and Nordic is heavily involved in the project to help achieve that vision.
“The configurability and performance of the Zephyr RTOS make it a best-in-class low power solution for memory constrained wireless SoCs. I would expect more product makers to leverage Zephyr for a scalable solution across their product range in the future."
During the Adero project, Nordic integrated Mobile Device Management libraries into the intelligent organization application for iOS and Android, made improvements to low power timer integration with the RTOS, and qualified the Zephyr BLE Host while the Adero team were able to focus on product development. The Zephyr project and community benefited from Adero contributions including bug fixes and optimizations made in the course of their work.
According to Nordic, such collaborations are constantly increasing the contributor base for core platform components like the Zephyr RTOS kernel and native wireless protocol stacks. Each new user and development project are extending the features and functionality available, improving stability, and eliminating bugs.
“Time to market was a really important aspect for us when developing our product,” continues Adero’s Yanes. “Zephyr provides a rich set of RTOS APIs and a lot of native features that helped with that. By adopting an open source platform, we can also leverage features and improvements from other contributors, not just Nordic Semiconductor.
“This collaborative effort goes hand in hand with how we think embedded software should be written in 2018, and that is why we happily contribute improvements back to have a stronger platform now, and for future product development.”
As a result of the Nordic and Adero collaboration, the Zephyr project now includes the world’s first open-source, fully-qualified, and production-ready Bluetooth LE stack. Nordic's qualification of the Bluetooth LE stack in Zephyr enables end-product makers such as Adero to launch Bluetooth products using the native Bluetooth LE support in the Zephyr RTOS. While Zephyr is not the only RTOS to include an open source Bluetooth LE Host or Link Layer, the Zephyr Bluetooth LE stack is the only one with all required components qualified and available as open source. A complete, qualified Bluetooth LE stack (consisting of a Host, Link Layer, and Physical layer) is needed to list an end product using Bluetooth technology. (Refer to the Zephyr Host QDID: 119517
and Link Layer QDID: 101395
“The Zephyr RTOS is a unique cross-architecture operating system and is a great fit for resource constrained, low power wireless system-on-chip use cases.,” says Kate Stewart, Senior Director of Strategic Programs for the Linux Foundation. “The Zephyr Project is neutral ground for product makers to collaborate on new features, as well as sharing best practices for safety and security. The diverse membership includes leading silicon vendors, research institutions, product makers, and value-added service providers. We are excited to see project members like Nordic Semiconductor collaborating with Adero and their contribution of valuable improvements and features back to the growing Zephyr community.”
Nordic’s nRF52 Series multiprotocol SoCs combine a powerful 64MHz Arm processor with a high performance, ultra-low power 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5, ANT™, Thread, ZigBee, and proprietary RF protocol software). The nRF52 series has up to 1024kB Flash memory and 256kB RAM, and when running the Zephyr RTOS, an end user can build advanced Bluetooth LE applications thanks to its Bluetooth 5-certifed protocol stack.