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Hardware for security may just get hot.

Larry Loeb

August 20, 2019

3 Min Read

Accelerating demand for embedded security in industrial and automotive segments is driving the market for technologies such as secure microcontrollers (MCU) and trusted platform modules (TPM), according to a semi-annual report from ABI Research. It forecasts in the Digital Authentication and Embedded Securitymarket data report (which ABI sells) that the total global shipments of secure embedded hardware will double by 2023. That means embedded hardware will then surpass the 4 billion mark at that point.

The report itemizes down six categories of embedded security technologies. These include NFC embedded secure element (eSE), trusted platform module (TPM), trusted execution environment (TEE), embedded SIM (eSIM), Authentication Integrated Circuits (IC) and Secure Microcontrollers (MCU). Each segment is further broken down by the number of shipments, ASPs, and revenues, worldwide and by region. ABI has also come up with an IoT/Connected devices category for the report that includes: connected car, digital home, smart home, wearable computing, smart cities and buildings, utilities and industrial IoT, as well as other devices found in agriculture, asset tracking, ATM, digital signage, inventory management, kiosks, people & pet tracking, POS, vending machines, heavy vehicle, and healthcare equipment.

The report finds TPMs are finally gaining momentum, notably in new industrial markets, after more than a decade since their standardization. It had largely become static in the PC space, with ABI finding almost 100% adoption for machines that are running Windows 10.

"The renewed interest is coming from the industrial and automotive sector, in large part boosted by the release of TPM 2.0 in 2016, which adapted the technology to IoT scenarios. Infineon and STMicroelectronics are set to gain significantly in this reinvigorated market, with both offering dedicated TPM 2.0 solutions for embedded applications," Michela Menting, Research Director of Digital Security at ABI Research, said in a prepared statement. The emergence of secure varieties of microcontrollers for the IoT market is gaining traction according to ABI, and is seeing demand in smart cities, homes and buildings, as well as in utilities and industrial IoT. Further, the improved processing and performance capabilities of MCUs has allowed the inclusion of security features. NXP and Renesas are both offering secure MCU platforms (Kinetis and Synergy respectively).

Other strong contenders that ABI is watching in the market for secure embedded hardware include Microchip, Cypress (which is about to be eaten by Infineon), RedPine, Nuvoton, Maxim Integrated, Goodix, TI and MediaTek.

Dean Weber, chief technology officer for Mocana Corporation, told Security Now via email that, "Yes, the trend is to use more Trust Anchors in various formats to provide enhanced security on industrial platforms. Hardware is best, software is least secure. Given the proposed growth curves for IoT/IIoT devices, making better demonstrable security solutions integral to devices is rapidly becoming a requirement in many aspects. Yes, this bodes well for companies building and providing software to leverage these capabilities."

He's not saying that the market will double in three years, but he's also not saying that he thinks it to be impossible.

Hardware for security may just get hot.

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

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About the Author(s)

Larry Loeb

Blogger, Informationweek

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet protocol. His latest book has the commercially obligatory title of Hack Proofing XML. He's been online since uucp "bang" addressing (where the world existed relative to !decvax), serving as editor of the Macintosh Exchange on BIX and the VARBusiness Exchange. His first Mac had 128 KB of memory, which was a big step up from his first 1130, which had 4 KB, as did his first 1401. You can e-mail him at [email protected].

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