Electric Imp announces Secure, High Performance Support for AMQP

Data-Driven IoT Applications Need Enterprise-Grade Data Integration

The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is to deliver data-driven insights across a diverse range of use cases with millions of edge products. Capturing, delivering and integrating data at scale from the edge into the enterprise is a challenge that slows down many IoT projects. It requires not only robust security and reliable communication, but also protocol flexibility, scalability and processing capabilities to integrate efficiently into cloud architectures and business applications faster — and for less cost and effort.

The Electric Imp Platform already provides industrial-strength edge-to-cloud security, including UL 2900-2-2 Cybersecurity Certification, multi-channel managed communications, advanced device and cloud in-flight data processing processing and transformation capabilities, scalable device management, and a range of ready-to-use integrations with popular cloud service platforms such as AWS, IBM Watson IoT, Autodesk Fusion Connect, GE Predix, Salesforce and many others. We process more than half-a-billion device messages per day, enabling real-world, industrial-grade, high-volume transaction applications for our customers.

Now available from Electric Imp: High-Performance AMQP Support

Today, Electric Imp is proud to announce initial support for the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) 1.0. Electric Imp’s AMQP Integration delivers a proven protocol and highly-secure option for optimally-matched integrations to messaging-oriented cloud applications and enterprise infrastructure, such as Microsoft Azure IoT Hub.

Electric Imp’s AMQP support is designed for secure, enterprise-scale, low-latency, bi-directional communication, making it ideally suited for a wide range of high-performance and near-realtime IoT applications with millions of connected edge products, such as large-scale sensor deployments, remote monitoring of industrial equipment, and realtime tracking of commercial assets.

AMQP is offered as an API within the Electric Imp programmable cloud virtual machines (agents) that partner every imp-enabled device, enabling a direct and secure connection to an AMQP broker. For more details, please see our AMQP API documentation.

Electric Imp solutions designed for Microsoft Azure to enable demanding IoT Applications

In today’s IoT market, some vendors offer very basic Azure IoT Hub integrations with significant limitations, such as not being part of the Azure infrastructure, only supporting simple and one-way data flow, having a non-scalable approach to device onboarding, or lacking integrated in-flight data processing and transformation.

By comparison, the Electric Imp AMQP implementation provides tight integration between AMQP and Azure IoT Hub and includes ready-to-use advanced functionality required by demanding IoT deployments. The Electric Imp platform and integration will also soon be available to customers as an Azure Private Cloud offering, delivering an all-Microsoft solution.

Electric Imp’s support for Microsoft creates edge-to-enterprise device security and connectivity that help you create enterprise-grade data integrations and high-value IoT applications with confidence — and with a much faster time to market too.

Terrence Barr
Head of Solutions Engineering,
Electric Imp

Electric Imp Blog

Preview the all-new impCentral™ API

Many of our customers use some great command-line and GUI tools to build connected products using the Electric Imp Platform. We think you will all be thrilled with the new technology we’re introducing today as it’s going to make your development tools more effective than ever before.

It’s called the impCentral™ API, and it’s the powerful successor to Electric Imp’s Build API.

We launched the Build API in June 2015 as a means for advanced developers to interact with the impCloud™ directly rather than through our browser-based interface. The Build API made possible a number of powerful developer tools, some from us, others from our growing developer community.

We have now completely redesigned and rewritten Build, and the result is the impCentral API, a new technology focused on eliminating the complexities of IoT and complementing your overall product strategy by enabling you to securely develop, launch, manage and scale your IoT products with the tools and applications of your choice. It offers:

  • Simplified and consolidated access — the impCentral API forms a single, consistent access point for any tool, of any kind that needs to talk to the impCloud, whether for development work, production control, device management — or all three.
  • Greater control and flexibility — the impCentral API embodies our advanced ‘flexible deployment’ technology that enables customers to organize devices into as many groups as their product workflow needs, thus enabling a truly revolutionary way to meet the needs of customers who are managing and connecting millions of online devices.
  • Seamless integration — the impCentral API uses open standards like the JSON API specification to deliver consistent input and output for whatever task you need to perform, in a form familiar to web developers worldwide.

We’ve made the impCentral API available as a public preview. Its endpoints are accessed via the prefix preview-api.electricimp.com/v5.

First, you’ll want to check out the features the new API offers, which you can do by visiting our online documentation. We have a primer that will introduce you to the API’s new concepts, and a guide to help you quickly port your tool from the Build API. There’s also a full API reference, of course.

Existing Build API-based tools will continue to work and access the impCloud. We are committed to giving toolmakers plenty of time to port their code to the impCentral API, and the two APIs will co-exist for the time being. We will formally End of Life Build in the coming weeks once the impCentral API is feature complete, at which time we will give 90 days’ notice of the Build API’s closure. Now is the time to begin planning your porting strategy, as the Build API is no longer being updated.

The impCentral API is not yet complete, and we will continue to work on it during the public preview period. For example, collaboration facilities are next in the queue to be added. You can find a list of known issues and preview limitations here.

As you try out impCentral’s many new features, please use the Electric Imp Forum to let us know how you’re getting on, to notify us about problems you experience, and to make suggestions for future releases.

Kenny Lee,
impCentral Product Manager,
Electric Imp

Electric Imp Blog

Electric Imp Platform now available on the new imp004m module

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One unique value for Electric Imp customers is the diverse variety of connected products our customers can create on our secure IoT connectivity and middleware platform. That includes IoT-connected products running for years on batteries and supporting wide-ranging IP connectivity.

For us, flexibility starts with the the fully-integrated nature of our solution, which includes authorized hardware modules running the impOS operating system, secure architecture (UL 2900-2-2 certified), programmable device and cloud application containers, and extensive managed cloud services – all purpose-built for IoT.

We’re very pleased to announce the availability of the new imp004m module, which gives our customers additional options for their IoT designs, enabling easy hardware design-in and suitable for long-running, battery-powered use cases.

What makes the imp004m extremely easy to use in hardware designs is its integrated antenna with modular FCC/IC/TELEC approval and 2-layer PCB support, obviating the need for impedance-controlled traces. As with all our modules, the imp004m also comes pre-installed with impOS software, making each module secure starting from the silicon, and fully managed by the Electric Imp Platform as a Service. Services include over-the-air security and platform updates, easy and secure device enrollment, fail-safe software provisioning, and scalable device management.

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The imp004m features include:

  • A 96MHz ARM Cortex-M4F processor with 184 KB RAM available for application use
  • 256 KB of application space (sufficient for more than 10,000 lines of application code)
  • 2.4 GHz WiFi, and full range of I/O (UART, SPI, I2C, GPIO, PWM, ADC)
  • FCC, IC and TELEC modular wireless approvals, tested to conform to European CE standards
  • Integrated antenna with modular FCC/IC approval
  • Hardware and software optimized for battery efficiency (2 years of operation or more with a CR123 battery in periodic sensing applications)
  • Software compatibility with the other impDevices which enables customers to easily move between different modules based on their project requirements

Each imp module also provides powerful edge application processing and connectivity for a wide range of use cases, from the small and efficient imp003 module to the powerful imp005 module, which includes with dual-band WiFi, 10/100Mb Ethernet, and USB host support.

Ideal use cases for the imp004m are remote monitoring applications such as environmental monitoring, equipment monitoring or process monitoring, asset tracking and optimization, access control, and many other use cases requiring battery-powered, secure, and intelligent edge nodes.

To support easy hardware prototyping and software development, the imp004m Breakout Board is also available. The breakout board includes the imp004m module, flash storage, basic circuitry for power and BlinkUp™, and I/O headers. The design is open sourced under MIT license and complete design and PCB files can be found on our Dev Center.

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The imp004m module is available immediately as fully functional samples for development purposes from Murata, as is the imp004m breakout board (Electric Imp store, DigiKey). Availability of the imp004m production version is expected soon.

In summary, the imp004m enables customers to add secure, scalable, and intelligent connectivity to their products effectively and with minimal effort, going rapidly from PoC to production, so they can deliver IoT solutions and business value faster too.

Jonathan Dillon
Hardware Project Manager
Electric Imp

Electric Imp Blog

What it means to be the world’s first IoT platform to earn UL cybersecurity certification

This past week, the world learned how critical basic cybersecurity can be.

The exploitation of unpatched computers, for example, is a cautionary tale of critical operations crippled by ransomware, something that could have been avoided if security updates that were available from the software vendor had been fully deployed.

One of the fathers of the Internet, Vint Cerf, has warned that just slapping together open source code and operating systems without integrating a rigorous IoT-specific security regime is a recipe for disaster — a statement borne out by the continuing evolution in the sophistication of malware targeting embedded Linux systems, following on from the infamous Mirai botnet. Such malware is becoming more powerful and insidious with every generation.

The political rhetoric is heating up as well. The US Director of National Intelligence recently warned of a future where insecure IoT devices will impact everything from global intelligence operations to computer networks, public and private.

At some point, we all have to get real about IoT security.

At Electric Imp, we have always been serious about cybersecurity and protecting our customers’ connected devices.

That is why we’re extremely proud to announce that the Electric Imp Platform is the first IoT platform to be independently certified to UL® 2900-2-2 (Standard for Software Cybersecurity for Network-Connectable Devices, Part 2-2: Particular Requirements for Industrial Control Systems).

In addition, the Electric Imp Platform is the first IoT platform that enables product manufacturers and customers to take advantage of the new UL Certified Cybersecurity Software Implementation Solution. Many Electric Imp customers have expressed concern about their lack of engineering resources and expertise, time for documentation and testing, and other costs and fees required to gain certifications. That time, effort and cost are all significantly cut now that our customers only need certify the incremental parts of their product not already included in the comprehensive, pre-certified Electric Imp Platform.

“I’m pleased to see that Electric Imp has proactively received UL 2900-2-2 certification for the cybersecurity of their IoT platform,” states Rachna Stegall, director of connected technologies at UL. “UL 2900-2-2 testing criteria is for Industrial Control Systems to assess software vulnerabilities and weaknesses, minimize exploitation, address known malware and review security controls. Software developers and product manufacturers that select a UL certified platform, and also get their product UL certified, have greater peace of mind in their cyber due diligence.”

At Electric Imp, we’re always looking for ways to make connecting to the Internet easier, more affordable and even more secure. With UL 2900-2-2 certification and the new Certified Cybersecurity Software Implementation Solution, product and service companies that build on the Electric Imp Platform effectively do their cyber due diligence as well. The result is that their customers and distributors can tap the advantages of IoT with confidence.

See the full press release for more details.

Hugo Fiennes,
CEO and co-founder,
Electric Imp

Electric Imp Blog

Electric Imp announces support for Industrial IoT Connectivity with isolated LAN Ethernet, Modbus-TCP, and Modbus-RTU

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Connecting industrial equipment to the cloud is challenging: Many popular industrial protocols were not designed with security in mind so appropriate additional protection measures are essential, and the wide variety of existing industrial equipment means having to accommodate and adapt to a large array of legacy protocols, equipment specifics, and data formats.

As a result, an industrial IoT connectivity solution must not only be designed to ensure robust security boundaries and risk containment but also provide a flexible edge software platform for application-specific protocol translation and data conversion. Furthermore, the solution should be easily reusable across a wide range of use cases and equipment by means of easy and low-risk software updates and must be remotely manageable to ensure secure and reliable operation for decades to come.

The impAccelerator(™) Fieldbus Gateway is purpose-built to handle these challenges and make industrial IoT connectivity secure and efficient. It comes ready-to-use with the proven Electric Imp IoT Connectivity Platform and includes a range of fieldbus connectivity options such as LAN Ethernet and RS-485 interfaces – both providing electrical and protocol-level isolation for security and robustness. Further included are WAN WiFi and Ethernet connections to the cloud, a USB host interface, mikroBUS and XBee slots for hardware expansions, and a range of power options including Power-over-Ethernet (PoE).

For a full IoT connectivity solution simply add our ready-to-use open source drivers for LAN Ethernet, Modbus-TCP, or Modbus-RTU master or slave and any application-specific protocol translation or data conversion – and the Electric Imp platform does the rest: Authenticating and connecting the impAccelerator Fieldbus Gateway securely to the cloud, enabling rapid and reliable over-the-air software updates, and delivering ongoing platform and security support for the lifetime of the system. Due to the lightweight and managed design the fieldbus gateway is ideal for placement right at the edge, which minimizes the attack surface for possible traffic interference.

Developing and deploying secure and efficient industrial IoT connectivity solutions has never been easier (and quite frankly, more enjoyable). Order your impAccelerator(™) Fieldbus Gateway today or build your own based on our open source reference design.

Terrence Barr
Head of Solutions Engineering

Electric Imp Blog