Intel partners with Arm on IoT chips, Rolls-Royce on autonomous ships

Intel partners with Arm on IoT chips, Rolls-Royce on autonomous ships

Rival semiconductor producers Intel and Arm have agreed to collaborate to manage networks of connected devices based on their chips.

Reuters reports that Britain’s IP giant Arm – acquired by Japanese tech investment conglomerate SoftBank in July 2016 for $24.3 billion – said last night that it had signed a strategic partnership with its rival to use standards developed by Intel for managing Internet of Things (IoT) devices, networks, and data.

Arm’s agreement to use Intel standards for securely managing networked devices that deploy both companies’ chips is a major breakthrough for IoT uptake, by enabling central management and interoperability.

“We see a significant acceleration in how the market will grow in terms of the number of managed devices and the volume of data that moves through these systems,” Himagiri Mukkamala, Arm senior VP and general manager for its IoT Cloud Services division, told Reuters.

The announcement came ahead of Arms’s annual three-day TechCon conference, which takes place in San Jose, California, from today, 16 October.

The event includes sessions on Arm’s prediction of one trillion connected devices coming on stream over the next 20 years – assuming that the interoperability and management challenges can be overcome. The new deal with Intel is part of that process.

Many of the world’s biggest suppliers of IoT chips rely on low-power Arm designs, while Intel chips, known for their fast, high-volume data-crunching ability, dominate the cloud data centre market.

This is significant, as a lot of IoT data will be analysed and processed in the cloud – along with the increasingly important edge environment, where speed and low power will remain critical. In either case, interoperability and management will be key.

Chipmakers are expected to ship around 100 billion Arm-based IoT devices in the next four to five years, matching the total number of Arm chips shipped in the last 25, according to Mukkamala.

As a result, the partnership with Intel is far from a concession to its major rival; it’s a long-term bet on Arm’s success.

Arm’s recently introduced Pelion IoT management platform will rely on Intel’s Secure Device Onboard specifications, which were announced a year ago.

Plus: Rolls-Royce jumps onboard with Intel for smart ships

In related chip and connected technology news, Rolls-Royce has announced that it will use Intel chips to develop a global system for autonomous and remote-controlled cargo ships.

The partnership follows the announcement last year that the company plans to have fully autonomous fleets deployed by 2025.

“Delivering these systems is all about processing, moving, and storing huge volumes of data, and that’s where Intel comes in,” said Lisa Spelman, VP and general manager of Intel Xeon processors and data centre marketing.

With cargo ships hauling almost 90 percent of the world’s goods, Rolls-Royce believes that making them autonomous could dramatically improve safety and lower costs, as well as making fleets more efficient – analogous to developments in smart road transport.

With Rolls-Royce estimating that 1TB of data a day could be generated by each smart ship alone, it plans to use Intel’s Xeon scalable processors on the vessels themselves and in specially designed data centres.

Kevin Daffey, Rolls-Royce director of engineering technology and ship intelligence, said, “This collaboration can help us to develop technology that supports ship owners in the automation of their navigation and operations, reducing the opportunity for human error and allowing crews to focus on more valuable tasks.”

Plus: Intel re-organises business

Intel is to reorganise its Technology and Manufacturing group by splitting it into three pieces, according to a report on investor platform, Seekingalpha.

The new segments will be: Technology Development, led by Intel Labs head Mike Mayberry; Manufacturing and Operations, led by Ann Kelleher; and Supply Chain, led by Randhir Thankur.

The management change comes while Intel “slowly makes the transition to 10nm”, says the report.

Internet of Business says

Partnership seems to be high on Intel’s agenda this year. In September, it announced the launch of the Joint Edge Computing Platform, an open architecture for IoT applications developed with China’s Alibaba Cloud.

The Joint Edge Computing Platform integrates Intel’s software, hardware, and AI technologies with Alibaba Cloud’s IoT products, platform, and OS.

Meanwhile, Arm has been busy too. Last month, it launched what it described as the “world’s first autonomous-class” processor for driverless vehicles.

The Arm Cortex-A76AE has been designed exclusively for automotive applications. The chip is the first in Arm’s new Automotive Enhanced (AE) line and includes specific features for in-vehicle processing.

Meanwhile in August, Arm debuted its first-generation machine learning processor. The Trillium architecture brings together functionality, map compression, programmability, and low-power operations in a single open source technology.

Chris Middleton
Chris Middleton is former editor of Internet of Business, and now a key contributor to the title. He specialises in robotics, AI, the IoT, blockchain, and technology strategy. He is also former editor of Computing, Computer Business Review, and Professional Outsourcing, among others, and is a contributing editor to Diginomica, Computing, and Hack & Craft News. Over the years, he has also written for Computer Weekly, The Guardian, The Times, PC World, I-CIO, V3, The Inquirer, and Blockchain News, among many others. He is an acknowledged robotics expert who has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITN, and Talk Radio, and is probably the only tech journalist in the UK to own a number of humanoid robots, which he hires out to events, exhibitions, universities, and schools. Chris has also chaired conferences on robotics, AI, IoT investment, digital marketing, blockchain, and space technologies, and has spoken at numerous other events.