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After years of testing and previews, Microsoft has finally made available its Azure Sphere hardware and service meant to enhance the security of Internet of Things devices.

The company initially introduced the service that included a Microsoft-developed Linux OS for Microcontrollers back in 2018. Over time Microsoft’s Azure Sphere has evolved out of the company’s research project called Project Sopris.

Microsoft’s Azure Sphere enhancing the security of IoT devices

Microsoft’s managing director of Azure Sphere Galen Hunt indicated that the Internet of Things is in the science-fair stage where everybody is piloting and testing. However, security has been a concern for most enterprises hindering them from going to scale.

The technology comprises of Microsoft-accredited microcontrollers that include single-chip computers with memory, storage, processors as well as IOT abilities. Equally, it includes the Azure Sphere cloud security service and Linux-based operating system. The security service offers authentication, threat response, as well as on-device and application failure status.

Azure Sphere’s first chip was Mediatek MT3620 that consisted of an onboard security subsystem called “Pluton.” Last year the company announced that it will work with NXP on a different Azure Sphere accredited chip, the i.MX 8 best suited for graphic, AI and enhanced UI experiences. Also, Microsoft is working with Qualcomm to produce the first-ever cellular-enabled Azure Sphere-accredited chip that will offer enhanced and secure connectivity.

Customers to sign up at no fees

With the launch of Azure Sphere, eligible customers will in the coming days be able to sign up. There are no associated fees with Azure Sphere, but customers will have to pay for the chip, and the cost includes all the components of the Azure Sphere, including OS updates for the chip’s lifetime. Similarly, developers can license Microsoft’s Azure IoT and Visual Studio services to help in the efficient development of apps for Sphere.

Company officials indicated that Azure Sphere has been used in designing and producing consumer appliance to manufacturing and retail equipment. The MT3620 chips have been used in guardian modules for protection and securing vital equipment. Those who want to connect existing devices can do so through the guardian module.