ARM Reveals Free OS For Internet Of Things

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Life beyond smartphones as ARM seeks to capitalise on the growing Internet of Things sector

ARM continue to look to the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) sector with the news that it releasing a free operating system and software platform.

The Cambridge, UK-based chip designer said that the new software platform and free operating system aims to “simplify and speed up the creation and deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) products.”

IoT Building Blocks

ARM has teamed up with a number of partners for the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform, which it says has been built around open standards. The idea is that it will house Internet protocols, security and standards-based manageability in an integrated solution, designed for energy and cost-constrained devices.

The mbed IoT Device Platform includes a free operating system called mbed OS, which has been designed for devices using the ARM Cortex-M processor. The mbed OS is said to include security, communication and device management features, and will be available to mbed partners in the fourth quarter of this year, with production slated for 2015.

ARM also revealed a piece of back-end software, called the mbed Device Server. This will allow companies to collect data from IoT devices and make the data available for use by other services, such as analytics programs.

ARM believes that mbed OS will help companies seeking to explore the IoT market by helping them reduce their development costs and time to market. Developers meanwhile will enjoy the fact that it comes with an ecosystem of more than 100 OEMs and major chip vendors.

The mbed OS includes Bluetooth Smart support, as well as 2G, 3G, LTE and CDMA cellular technologies, Thread, Wi-Fi, and 802.15.4/6LoWPAN along with TLS/DTLS, CoAP, HTTP, MQTT and Lightweight M2M.

simon_segars ARM CEO“Deploying IoT-enabled products and services requires a diverse set of technologies and skills to be coordinated across an organisation,” said Simon Segars, CEO, ARM. “ARM mbed will make this easier by offering the necessary building blocks to enable our expanding set of ecosystem partners to focus on the problems they need to solve to differentiate their products, instead of common infrastructure technologies. This will accelerate the growth and adoption of the IoT in all sectors of the global economy.”

Launch Partners

ARM has already signed up a number of partners for the mbed IoT Device Platform, which includes Atmel, CSR, Ericsson, Farnell, Freescale, IBM, KDDI, Marvell, MegaChips, MultiTech, Nordic Semiconductor, NXP, Renesas, SeeControl, Semtech, Silicon Labs, Stream Technologies, ST, Telenor Connexion, Telefonica, Thundersoft, u-blox, wot.io and Zebra.

“Today’s IoT devices largely exist in isolation and it has been impossible to realize a truly interconnected world where devices are interoperable with many different cloud services,” said Krisztian Flautner, general manager, IoT business, ARM. “The ARM mbed IoT Device Platform will solve this by providing a common communication and management toolkit that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. We expect mbed to significantly speed up the large scale deployment of a new breed of both IoT devices and cloud services.”

In July, ARM revealed a nine percent rise in pre-tax profits thanks to continuing demand for licences for its mobile chip designs. Yet at the same time it acknowledged concern about the possible impact of a slowdown in the smartphone market.

ARM said it always has other growth areas such as “smart” home appliances, wearable tech, and networking equipment. The company also pointed to the demand for ARM technology in embedded computing chips for the Internet of Things.

IoT Interest

There is no shortage of interest in the IoT market, as evidenced by the growing number of standard bodies. Last month, Sony became the latest technology giant to join an IoT consortium, after it signed up to the AllSeen Alliance.

And in July some leading tech giants created the ‘Open Interconnect Consortium‘ (OIC) to push IoT standards. OIC members include Dell, Intel, Samsung, Broadcom, Atmel and Wind River.

Google meanwhile has its open Nest API, and in July its Nest division formed the Thread Group to create a single set of IoT standards. Its members already include Samsung, ARM, Freescale Semiconductor, Silicon Labs and several smaller companies.

And finally, lets not forget Apple with its HomeKit API.

All of these move comes despite concern that the deployment of IoT could be held back by too many competing standards.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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