ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH) today announced its new mbed IoT device platform which consists of three parts, primarily focused around software and software enablement. The goal of this platform is to take away from the complexities of building an IoT solution using an ARM Cortex-M processor.
ARM wants to help the IoT growth by allowing people building IoT devices to focus on unique features and differentiation rather than spend most of their time on how their silicon will work with an OS and how it will interact with other silicon.
The first, and biggest part of this new mbed IoT device platform is the inclusion of a free mbed OS for ARM Cortex-M processors. The OS already has built-in security, communication and device management features in order to enable quality and efficient IoT devices. The mbed OS already has built-in support for countless communications standards including 2G, 3G, CDMA and LTE as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart, Thread, 802.15.4/6LoWPAN as well as HTTP, TLS/DTLS, CoAP, MQTT and Lightweight M2M. It will be available to key mbed partners this quarter and in devices in 2015.
This operating system should theoretically be more lightweight than some other IoT embedded operating systems and mbed should help unify the countless ARM Cortex-M products under a single OS. Currently, ARM has six different Cortex-M class processors in their product line, which means that with the mbed OS they can effectively and easily scale in almost any type of embedded IoT device imaginable. This announcement follows the company’s recent announcement of their most powerful Cortex-M processor, the Cortex-M7.
Another reason why this mbed IoT platform is so important is because ARM’s licensees are churning out Cortex-M processors faster than anyone could have imagined. Since 2005 alone over 8 billion Cortex-M-based chips have shipped. Out of that 8.6 billion, 4.6 billion of those took place in the past 18 months alone. This means that something like this was absolutely necessary from ARM’s perspective to make their platform to continue to be the platform of choice of IoT as they have Intel and Imagination breathing down their backs.
The second part of the mbed IoT platform is the mbed device server which is a licensable software product that ARM is offering to customers to help connect and manage devices. ARM claims that this will help provide a bridge between different protocols and APIs used for IoT used by developers. It effectively serves as a receiving end software platform for IoT devices for cloud services and the like. It also is designed to reduce the complexity of device and application management by eliminating the need for duplicate infrastructure for clients and servers.
Last but not least is the mbed.org website which will serve as a community to unify the more than 70,000 developers around the mbed platform. The website will serve as a repository for software components, a comprehensive database of hardware dev kits, reference apps and documentation. The community is already quite large and will enable ARM’s community to latch on and grow with it, creating an even bigger and more powerful community as a whole.