The IoT ecosystem centering on RT-Thread is gradually being established


Ma Chao

At the 1999 AOL International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MIT Professor Ashton proposed a solution, which is rely on the Internet, RFID technology, and EPC standards, based on the computer Internet, using radio frequency identification technology, wireless data communication technology etc, to construct the Internet for global physical objects information real-time sharing, also the origin of the IoT. With the continuous advancement of Internet technology in the past two decades, the IoT has completed three-stage upgrade: from early sensor network to the discovery network, and then to the intelligence and perception network. Currently, IoT has formed an information network that connects objects and objects with reliable information transmission and intelligent processing capabilities, and has three major characteristics: comprehensive detection, reliable network transmission and intelligent processing.

In 2020, the scale of domestic IoT industry has exceeded RMB 2 trillion, and it has become an important basic platform for the birth of strategic emerging industries. It has broad development prospects and also provides an opportunity for the entire information industry to find a second curve of growth. In terms of domestic product networking solutions, especially IoT operating systems, RT-Tread has always been a low-key company. Last year, they released a hybrid micro-core operating RT-Thread Smart, which can run on high-end chips that support MMU functions. This has caused great repercussions in the industry. In this year, may chip companies join in the ranks of the developers of RT-Tread, so the IoT ecosystem centering on RT-Thread is gradually being established.

The installed capacity of RT-Thread in china has exceeded 1.4 billion units, and it is one of the largest market share in the domestic market in IoT operating systems. The founder Xiong Pu Xiang has also become one of the leading figures in the domestic operating system industry, he has a excellent reputation in the industry, people unsully call him 'Xiong Da'. As one of the earliest programmers who contacted with Linux in China and contributed code to Linux, Xiong was one of the top-level programmers. From the very beginning, he was impressed by the spirit of open source and free. After graduation, the operating system that he used was closed source VxWorks. However, without the source code, many softwares were difficult to customize. Therefore, in 2005, after he graduated for 3 years, due to project requirements, the idea of writing an operating system by himself was born.

As a typical RTOS (real-time operating system), RT-Thread includes TCP / IP protocol stack, file system, libc interface, graphical user interface and many other components. However, in its initial period, Xiongda was, in this field, not far-off the one and only pioneer. In the general opinion, the developing operating system is a very boring process, but this is one of the three romances for programmers (the other two are graphics systems and compilers), and the persimmon graphics system later launched by RT-Thread may also be the way to realize their romance.

However, all beginnings are hard. It is said that when the first few versions of RT-Thread were released, Xiongda was always waiting for comments on the forum. However, because the first few versions were not stable and with low popularity, Xiongda also experienced a technical seminar in which only one person participated. However, after more than a decade, RT-Thread has the largest embedded open source community in China, and I often sneak in the Xiongda’s broadcast room. In order to break the monopoly of the foreign IoT operating system on high-end chips, RT-Thread Technology, last year, launched a new open-source operating system -- RT-Thread Smart. Due to the limitation of operating conditions of the IoT terminals, its operating system has a very high performance requirements, and it can't be too big in volume, generally not exceeding 10M. It can be said that the volume requirements almost put Windows, Android and other current prevalent operating systems excluded. This will be a major opportunity for our own IoT operating system; On the other hand, the functions of the IoT operating system cannot be too simple, which is yet another challenge for the national product network operating system. As for RT-Thread Smart, it is an example of a perfect balance of performance, volume, and function.

If last year's release of RT-Thread Smart was a sowing, then this year is the harvest year of RT-thread Technology. Traditionally speaking, IoT is the process of connecting any object to the network through the agreed protocol, so that everything can conduct information exchange and communicate through the Internet. This mode of IoT terminal is generally only seen as an extension of the perceptual layer, covering very limited business scene. In this case, what RT-Thread technology did last year in the edge computing layer got support from many other chip manufacturers this year, wisely making the edge layer between perception layer and transmission layer exerting its ability of the IoT terminal.

After nearly 16 years of cultivation-RT-Thread cloud edge indicated its dominance

At present, the implementation of the IoT programme faces two main challenges: Firstly, the communication standard of the IoT terminal has not yet been established, and the system cannot be interconnected with each other, resulting in a low level of intelligence and integration of the IoT system, which affects the user experience. Secondly, the security certification mechanism of IoT terminals is not sound, and product safety needs to be improved. Edge computing is a solution formed to solve these two major points. Specifically, it refers to the use of an open platform that integrates network, computing, storage, and application core capabilities on the side close to the source of things or data to provide nearest-end services nearby. Its applications are initiated on the edge side to generate faster network service response and meet the industry's basic needs in real-time business, application intelligence, security and privacy protection. Therefore, after the introduction of the edge computing layer, many IoT applications can give faster response and at the same time be more secure and reliable.

It is worth observing that at this developer conference RT-Thread, together with many manufacturers , provided a complete, soft-to-hard full-stack solution. Adaptability optimization to create a one-stack, full-link IoT solution is more conducive to the evolution of IoT solutions towards systemization and intelligence.

The prosperous development of RT-Thread in the edge computing layer has in turn greatly influenced the functionality of the IoT terminals, most of the previous IoT terminals were only equipped with RFID radio frequency modules, but the IoT application scenarios are constantly expanding and pure sensing is no longer adapted to the trend. The IoT terminals cannot be upgraded without the support of the operating system, which is Rayside's strength.

In the context of the rapid development of terminal computing power, IoT terminals and edge computing nodes have been deeply integrated with all aspects of application scenarios such as industry, agriculture, finance, and intelligent driving, greatly improving production efficiency and user experience. Among them, it is particularly worth mentioning that RT-Thread has a long-term view in this area. They have made arrangements for AI and intelligent driving very early.

Perhaps you all know that intelligent driving requires extremely high real-time performance of the operating system, yet your understanding is not thorough enough. Therefore, here is a brief introduction. Not long ago, Tesla just announced that its autopilot system FSD Beta9.0 is about to be completed. It is reported that the latest version of the FSD autopilot system must reach L5, which is another World-shaking news because the current Tesla AutoPilot only reaches L3. L5 autopilot system does not seem to be a groundbreaking work, but, from a practical point of view, it is extremely difficult to truly realize all-weather autonomous driving. According to public data, a test autonomous vehicle will generate at least 10T data per day, with millions of data to be process every minute on average, and the decision delay of automatic driving must be controlled at an extremely low degree. When a car is running at a speed of 80 km/h, its mechanical braking distance is close to 30 meters. To ensure safety, the reaction time left for automatic driving is usually only 0.1 seconds, and any mistake in decision-making may cause extremely serious consequences.

To be specific, L5 autopilot system is an extremely precise system with a data processing capacity of 1G per second, manual command response delay not exceeding 0.1s, and reliability not lower than 99.999999%, which is very demanding on the robustness and the real-time performance of the operating system because even 0.1 second delay in scenarios such as intelligent driving and automatic flight may cost lives. Being able to appear as Car OS is a good illustration of RT-Thread's current technical strength.

Judging from the historical experience of Internet development, the good technological ecology of Apple and Google is an opportunity to lay a solid foundation for the subsequent industrial explosion. It would be the same for this wave of IoT. The establishment of a complete ecological chain will be the key to the competition of various IoTs. However, different from the idea in the previous mobile internet that portal is the king, IoT requires a solution that covers full stack and the entire chain with no dead ends. Otherwise, the ecology cannot be built. The author, MA Chao, believes that, in terms of the construction of IoT ecosystem, RT-Thread is at least half a position ahead of other competitors in the industry, because their circle covers the underlying chips, edge computing, cloud computing, and IoT communication networks, and etc., being able to have corresponding solutions for issues at any level. Such full-stack and end-to-end advantage is not even available to the current technology giants.

As aforementioned, the operating system of RT-Thread has penetrated into all walks of life. It is believed that an ecosystem centred on IoT technology will soon be formed in the future, and industries involved will usher in explosive development one after another.

IoT + Developer= Prosperous Ecosystem

I personally think that the next two years will be a critical period for the formation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and ecosystem. We can see that many emerging projects such as "Cloud Raising Pigs" and "Cloud Tourism" are gradually taking shape, where the power of the developer community cannot be ignored. Because on the one hand, developers can contribute code to the ecosystem, on the other hand, they can also directly join the community for positive interaction.

Take the "Cloud Farm" project as an example, many ecological greenhouses use IoT technology to collect real-time temperature and humidity signals, as well as environmental parameters such as light, soil temperature, CO2 concentration, leaf humidity, dew point temperature, and automatically turn on or turn off designated equipment. Besides, it can be processed at any time, according to actual needs, to provide a scientific basis for the automatic monitoring of the integrated agricultural ecological information, automatic control of the environment, and intelligent management.

The developer community members of the Cloud Farm project can be informed the various indicators and parameters of the animals and the surrounding farms on their smart phone, contributing codes, such as "pig face recognition", to the project, so that the farm keeper can master the dynamics of the baby pigs. While for developers themselves gain a sense of actual participation of the operation of a happy farm. The core of the interaction is the community. It is wise that the RT-Thread uses developers as the entry point to create an IoT + ecosystem.

I am very pleased to see that Mr.Xiong and the RT-Thread have done very well in terms of the developer ecosystem building. Despised Mr.Xiong often personally visit the developer community to answering the questions encountered by developers, their development platform RT-Thread Studio has always been built in accordance with the concept of a full-stack IDE for the IoT.

In my actual experience, their application store module obviously has technical integration considerations.
It is very convenient to add support for various chips in RT-Thread Studio by selecting the corresponding package in the Package Center, and it is also easy to access the cloud platform. I feel that this Package Center already has the prototype of an IoT application store, which in fact reflects the general trend of the establishment of the IoT ecosystem.

At present, the concept of the IoT and related technical products have widely penetrated into various fields of social economy and people's livelihood. With the deep integration and comprehensive application of the new generation of information technology, the IoT is playing an important role in promoting the energy saving and digital transformation and upgrading of the industry. Driven by its IoT solutions and the prosperous developer community, I believe that the RT-Thread will play an important role in the future construction of the ecosystem with IoT technology as the core.

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