Softbank-owned ARM launches IoT device management platform

Softbank-owned ARM launches IoT device management platform

Fresh from being gobbled up by Japanese technology giant Softbank, British chip designer ARM this week launched a suite of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies – including a device management platform.

Announcing the news late last week, ahead of the official unveiling at ARM TechCon on Monday (25 October), ARM revealed the launch of new processors, radio technology, subsystems, end-to-end security and a cloud-based services platform (the firm’s first SaaS solution – Ed), in a bid to “increase the rate at which IoT scales globally.”

ARM said that the new technologies would aim to bring “secure IoT from chip to cloud”.

ARM products

The firm unveiled everything from low-cost but powerful processors (the Cortex M-33 and M23) to gateways (CoreLink SSe-200 and SE-200), and a new device management platform (mBed cloud). More details on each can be found below:

  • Cortex M-33 and M23 processors, part of the Cortex-M family, with supported Trustzone technology for improved security. These are based on ARMv8-M architecture, but are backwards compatible with ARMv6-M and ARMv7-M “for direct and fast porting, accelerating product development”
  • CoreLink™ system IP – A secure, low power foundation for IoT nodes
  • TrustZone CryptoCell-312 a new security solution which “fortifies the SoC with a rich set of security features protecting the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of code and data”
  • Complete wireless solution with Cordio® radio IP for 802.15.4 and Bluetooth 5
  • Optimized implementation on Artisan® IoT POP IP for the TSMC 40ULP process
  • CoreLink SIE-200 is already licensed by ARM silicon partners and provides the interconnects and controllers that extend TrustZone to the system
  • CoreLink SSE-200 IoT subsystem reduces time to market by 6-12 months by integrating Cortex-M33, CryptoCell and Cordio radio along with software drivers, secure libraries, protocol stack and mbed OS
  • ARM’s mbed IoT Device Platform has been expanded to include mBed Cloud – A new standards and cloud-based SaaS solution for secure IoT device management

“As IoT technologies become more pervasive, it is time for a complete solution that secures data from the sensor to the service,” said Pete Hutton, executive vice president and president of product groups, ARM.

“ARM partners shipped a record 15 billion chips last year, many destined for smart embedded applications. The IoT already runs on ARM but the goal now is scale, which we are enabling today through a uniquely comprehensive set of technologies and services built to work together seamlessly.”

Related: Managing IoT devices at scale a serious barrier to growth

IoT device management marks a shift

Citing a DevicePilot study suggesting 86 percent of companies report device management to be a key issue with the Internet of Things, ARM explains its move into the device management landscape.

Michael Horne, VP of marketing and sales for ARM’s IoT business unit, said that “device management is a bit of limiting factor of the ability to massively deploy IoT”.

mBed Cloud will supposedly aim to fill this gap in the device management landscape by enabling OEMs to:

  • Simplify connection, provisioning, updating and securing of devices across complex networks
  • Enable faster scaling, productivity and time to market, allowing developers to use any device on any cloud
  • Enhance device-side capabilities with mbed OS 5, supported by a global community of 200,000 developers and more than 1 million device builds per month

IoT challenges go cross-industry

Horne went onto explain how IoT is emerging as “very fast growth, vertical market”, but said that the niches of smart lighting, smart factory and buildings means there are “very specific things to address” from a technology standpoint.

“Each market has very unique needs,” he said.

For example, he said that smart lighting installations revolve around retrofitting existing infrastructure, and picking the right device for OPEX reduction and increased efficiency. There can, however, be a ten-year timeframe for these kinds of deployments to go from concept to reality.

Smart buildings, in contrast, tend to be new installations with connections over IP, while smart factory installations can involve both new technology and retrofitting, and are primarily designed for control and improved maintenance.

Nonetheless, Horne and other ARM executives stressed that, for all the hype, the next stage of IoT will see a “transformative shift” in business. Furthermore, they said that while the IoT may have been overhyped in the last two years, it’s impact may be underestimated in the coming years, as Bill Gates once wisely predicted about technology.

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction,” the Microsoft founder once said.

The firm didn’t discuss the impact of the Softbank acquisition.

As of 2015, the firm says 15 billion ARM-based ships were in everything from servers to sensors were shipped by the company.

Related: Infor unveils IoT platform for managing devices