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System-on-chip (SoC) architectures are called to be the platform for an ever increasing number of interactive applications. One of the most time- consuming tasks is to define communication interfaces between the different components through a number of scattered heterogeneous processing nodes. That is not only a complex task, but also very specific to a certain implementation, which may limit the flexibility of the system, and makes the solutions difficult to reuse. In this paper, we describe how the distributed systems paradigm can be extended to provide a unified abstraction for both hardware and software components. Moreover, based on that abstraction, we define a low-overhead system-wide communication architecture that offers communication transparency between all kinds of components. Since the architecture is highly compatible with standard distributed object software systems, it also allows seamless interaction with any other kind of external network.