ARM Improves Its M2M Potential With Sensinode Acquisition

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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The small Finnish company is responsible for shaping a number of M2M communication standards

British chip designer ARM has acquired Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communication software developer Sensinode, headquartered in Finland.

Sensinode has contributed to a number of M2M standards based on Wi-Fi and cellular networks. It will continue to offer its NanoStack and NanoService products under the ARM banner. The same products will be integrated into ARM’s open source ‘mbed’ project.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition will improve ARM’s expertise in all matters concerning the Internet of Things (IoT) – a collection of technologies that introduce connectivity into everyday devices and appliances, through protocols referred to as M2M communication.

Setting standards

Research quoted by ARM suggests that the IoT will connect 30 billion devices by 2020. Both Ericsson and Cisco estimate this number to be even higher – 50 billion devices in just seven years.

Spectral-DesignARM has already established itself as the leading developer of energy efficient processors, with its silicon designs found in the majority of smartphones and tablets made today. It is also making strategic moves to challenge the dominance of Intel in the data centre. The company’s next target is IoT – after all, low power consumption makes its products perfect for devices which have to send tiny amounts of data for extended periods of time.

Sensinode is something of a trailblazer in the M2M space. The company has led the development of the 6LoWPAN network standard and CoAP protocol for M2M communication. It has also contributed to IETF, ZigBee IP, ETSI and OMA standards.

At the moment, Sensinode sells two flagship products – NanoStack, the IP-based protocol designed to work over 6LoWPAN networks, and NanoService, the platform to manage M2M applications in the cloud.

ARM will use the acquired technology to improve the suitability of its Cortex processors for low-power M2M applications, such as Smart Grid, wearable electronics, environmental sensors and Connected Home appliances.

Both NanoStack and NanoService will be available through mbed – a collaborative project that offers “open source hardware and software building blocks for rapid development of intelligent connected devices”, somewhat similar to OpenStack and Open Compute projects for the data centre.

“ARM is dedicated to enabling a standards-based Internet of Things where billions of devices of all types and capabilities are connected through interoperable Internet Protocols and Web Services,” said John Cornish, executive vice president and general manager of System Design Division at ARM.

“Sensinode is a pioneer in software for low cost low power internet connected devices and has been a key contributor to open standards for IoT. By making Sensinode expertise and technology accessible to the ARM Partnership and through the ARM mbed project we will enable rapid deployment of thousands of new and innovative IoT applications.”

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