Shipments of IoT devices with embedded real-time operating systems (RTOS) are expected to reach 21 billion by 2022 as IoT starts relying on RTOS to support its application features, according to analysts at ABI Research.

The embedded RTOS market is expanding rapidly. Some of the most high-profile and innovative RTOS currently on the market include µC/OS, FreeRTOS, Integrity RTOS, mbed OS, MEOS, MQX RTOS, Nucleus RTOS, PikeOS, QNX, RIOT OS, ThreadX, VxWorks and Zephyr, according to the research firm. Many open source operating systems popular with the IoT are increasingly adding real-time capabilities to compete in the market. Currently, the embedded RTOS market is highly fragmented, with hundreds of different platforms available.

Michela Menting, research director at ABI Research, said the development of IoT apps in many other sections other than the proprietary players revived the embedded RTOS market.

"While industrial demand for RTOS has a decade-long history, the development of new IoT applications in other segments, such as consumer, digital home, connected car, and smart cities, jolted demand for embedded RTOS," Menting said.