Softbank forecasts one trillion ARM IoT chips in next 20 years
Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son at MWC 2017 Credit: GSMA

Softbank forecasts one trillion ARM IoT chips in next 20 years

Japanese telecommunications giant Softbank expects its UK-based ARM subsidiary to deliver over one trillion IoT chips by 2037.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Softbank’s Masayoshi Son said the increasing number of smart devices means that these processors are needed.

“This is why I spent $32 billion to acquire ARM,” Son said, according to reports from Reuters. Softbank bought ARM last July after the pound fell following the Brexit vote to leave the EU.

He added that the number of “brain cells” in chips would surpass the number of human brain neurons in 2018 and this would mean massive opportunities for smart and connected devices.

Son made a theatrical prediction that leaps in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics would result in 10 billion smart robots by 2040 and artificial intelligence with an IQ of 10,000 (compared with the human average of 100). He also said that shoes with chips in them would be more clever than the people wearing them.

Related: Intel launches new Atom E3900 processor family to power IoT

IoT security

However, the increase in IoT devices is not without risk, Son added, saying that there are 500 ARM chips in a car today and “none of them are secure”. He predicted that around two-thirds of cyber-attacks will be through hacking connected objects.

“The car in the past was not connected to the internet, now that is changing with the roll-out of autonomous and connected cars,” he said.

Son added that ARM will have to design secure, encrypted chips to secure cars and other goods from hacking.

Daniel Bailey, director at IT security company Altinet, said that the industry needs to re-address cyber security as part of a response to IoT.

“Like in the real world, there are many people who are 10 steps ahead in terms of malicious attacks and the only way that everyone can collectively keep on top of the threats is to be educated, and to take action on cybersecurity,” he said.

Last week, Internet of Business reported that ARM had announced the acquisition of two companies specializing in NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) technology, NextG-Com and Mistbase.

ARM is looking to combine its chip security technologies with specialist NB-IoT engineering expertise from its two recent acquisitions. Terms and conditions of the two deals were not revealed.

Related: NXP: How chips work in the IoT