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The Role of Hardware Root of Trust in Edge Devices

By Saumitra Jagdale, EETimes Europe (June 21, 2022)

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, has sustainability and increased efficiency as its foundational tenets, and their existence is the result of the latest advancements in technology. One such advancement is the emergence of edge computing — computing that happens directly at the point of data collection, or at the “edge” of a network, as opposed to cloud computing, wherein the data is sent to a centralized server and then processed per the requirements.

Edge computing emerged as an answer to the growing demand for bandwidth created by data generated from internet-of-things devices. Moving the computing process to the edge allows service delivery to the end user with minimal latency compared with that of centralized processing, and it can help bring services and solutions to areas that lack sufficient network or grid connectivity. When integrated with other technologies that are characteristic of Industry 4.0, such as the IoT, edge computing can help deliver services and processes much faster and more efficiently.

Developments in SoC technology in tandem with hardware acceleration have enabled specialized processes to be performed remotely with increased efficiency of the SoC as a whole. The latest developments in chip manufacturing technologies have also made possible the realization of devices that consume power in the order of nanowatts. These devices, by the virtue of their very design, are used in applications in which they are most likely to be left unattended, giving potential intruders unsupervised and uninterrupted access to them. And because the computing happens where the data is collected, any breach in security can cause sensitive data to be jeopardized. Hence, developing relevant safety systems for edge computing becomes a critical factor in the industry of tomorrow.

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