Case Study

Timesys’ Yocto, kernel customization, board bring up, and camera expertise enables smart home appliance manufacturer to deliver its product from proof of concept to production

The Challenge

A leading manufacturer of consumer appliances was building a smart home appliance with LCD panel and camera and wanted embedded Linux expertise so the company could focus its engineering resources on developing its application. The company needed to find an engineering company to act as their embedded software product engineering team and work as an extension of their team to support the requirements definition, software architecture risk reduction, and software implementation of their next-gen product.

The product featured a custom board that used a TI Sitara™ processor and was built with a TI reference Yocto BSP that would require application customization and extensions to meet the application requirements. The manufacturer needed a reliable engineering team that could provide BSP / Linux kernel modifications for the prototype hardware, a proof of concept demo, support for application development, and support for any last-minute requirements and any hardware / software issues that could arise throughout the process. The project would span concept to market and would require a deep knowledge of embedded Linux / Yocto development.

The company engaged with Timesys to leverage Timesys’ years of Linux OS, kernel, Yocto BSP, custom board bring up, and IPU / VPU and camera driver expertise.  

The Solution

The project was broken into phases during which Timesys provided the following:

Phase 1: Custom Linux bring up on prototype hardware – to support the company’s product requirements definition

  • Created Yocto BSP with support for UART drivers, LCD display, touchscreen driver, OpenGL ES, video playback (GStreamer), audio codec, WiFi, GPIO, PMIC, and PWM
  • Reduced Linux boot time and filesystem footprint

Phase 2: Proof of Concept (PoC) – to support the product’s software architecture and reduce technical risk

  • Integration with Amazon AWS multimedia cloud for analytics

Phase 3: Board bring up and provide support for the manufacturer’s team application development

  • Upgraded Yocto and semi vendor meta layer to latest version
  • Upgraded kernel to latest stable LTS (long-term support) version
  • Performed DDR3 RAM calibration and stress test
  • Added support for new peripherals (eMMC, PMIC, WiFi/Bluetooth, TPM)
  • Added support to root filesystem (RFS) for WiFi connection management, access point mode, new touchscreen driver, TPM as encryption accelerator, and dynamic voltage frequency scaling
  • Added support for firmware update with A/B partitioning for system redundancy
  • Optimized boot-time

Phase 4: Ready for test and production – to add support for last-minute requirements and resolve various issues

  • Extended TPM driver and OpenSSL to support new encryption algorithms
  • Debugged issues with audio and USB
  • Debugged kernel panic

The Benefits

Throughout the software development lifecycle, Timesys provided the Linux OS, kernel, and Yocto BSP customization skill set needed to support development of the smart home appliance LCD panel. By engaging with Timesys for Software Engineering Services, the appliance manufacturer was able to focus its engineering team on developing their custom, state-of-the-art application while Timesys focused on the underlying platform.

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