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ARM report: Businesses look to make money through Internet of Things revolution


A report out today has found that an increasing number of businesses are exploring the economic opportunities that will be created by the Internet of Things (IoT) concept.

The IoT revolution is set to come about as an increasing number of devices come online, from kitchen fridges to road signs. Objects such as these will include sensors that gather information which can then be transferred over the internet to a central computer system or another device.

The 32-page report — conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Cambridge-based IoT chip designer, ARM — found that 75 percent of business leaders are actively researching opportunities set to come about through the IoT.

The report, titled The Internet of Things Business Index: A quiet revolution gathers pace, also found that 30 percent of business leaders feel that the IoT will unlock new revenue opportunities, while 29 percent believe it will inspire new working practices, and 23 percent believe it will eventually change the model of how they operate.

The study found that European businesses are ahead of their global counterparts in the research and planning phases of implementing IoT. Meanwhile, manufacturing is the leading sector when it comes to research and implementation of IoT technologies, driven in part by the need for real-time information to optimise productivity. One in four manufacturing companies already has a live IoT system in place.

“The self-stocking intelligent fridge is a step closer to becoming an everyday reality,” said James Chambers, editor of the report. “Conversations about IoT are clearly moving on. Two in five executives are now telling us that they discuss IoT regularly. Whether we will all end up wearing clothes connected to the internet remains to be seen – but it’s hard to think of any business that can’t be part of the IoT revolution.”

More info here.


ARM acquires Sensinode

ARM has acquired Sensinode in Finland in its bid to provide technology and processors for the “Internet of things,” consisting of a variety of low-power and inexpensive devices including sensors communicating with the Internet and one another.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Privately-held Sensinode has led to the creation of the 6LoWPAN and CoAP standards for low-cost, low-power devices to connect to the Internet, ARM said Tuesday.

CoAP, for Constrained Application Protocol, enables web services for constrained devices and networks, while integrating with the Web architecture and HTTP. 6LoWPAN is a standard from the Internet Engineering Task Force first published in 2007, which optimizes IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) for use with low-power, low-bandwidth communication technologies. The technologies reduce the complexity and overhead of key Internet and Web protocols to make them easy to handle by small footprint devices.

ARM is adding Sensinode technologies to its mbed project, an industry collaboration to deliver open source hardware and software building blocks for rapid development of intelligent connected devices. IMS Research said in October that the Internet of Things will have 28 billion Internet-connected devices by the end of 2020.

ARM in Cambridge, U.K., has said it is committed to enabling a standards-based Internet of Things where devices of all types and capabilities are connected through interoperable Internet protocols and Web services.

The company, which licenses the designs for the chips that go into a majority of smartphones, is now targeting the embedded market, providing free software libraries, hardware designs and online tools for professional rapid prototyping of products built around ARM microcontrollers.

ARM will continue to offer Sensinode’s NanoStack and NanoService products, built around 6LoWPAN and CoAP, commercially to existing and new customers, it said.

More info here.

LogMeIn and ARM want to help you build the internet of things

Just a few weeks ago, my colleague Stacey Higginbotham covered an interesting Spanish outfit called Carriots that’s building a platform-as-a-service (Paas) geared specifically towards the internet of things (IoT). As with other startups such as Electric Imp, the aim here is to make it super-simple for developers of connected devices and the services around them to, well, connect those devices. It’s a lot easier to innovate on top of an established platform than to rebuild the fundamentals each and every time.

Well, those startups now have seriously heavyweight competition in the form of LogMeIn, the remote connectivity specialist, and ARM, the British firm whose low-power chip designs underpin the vast majority of mobile devices, and which is now competing with Intel to own the IoT space.

LogMeIn has just launched its own PaaS for the internet of things, calling it Xively(the beta version was known as Cosm). And developers wanting to start creating connected devices on this platform are being offered the Xively Jumpstart Kit, which combines Xively with ARM’s mbed platform, for building devices using ARM’s microcontrollers. With this kit, the companies promise, developers can “rapidly progress from prototyping to volume deployment”.

Xively is based on LogMeIn’s Gravity infrastructure – the same one used to support the company’s cloud storage offering, Cubby — and it comes with development tools for writing and prototyping services, a provisioning engine for deployment and a scalable management console. It supports real-time messaging and directory and data services, as well as analytics, and it uses a “pay-as-you-grow” pricing model that should make the platform attractive to startups.

The directory services extend to a “commons” named the Xively Connected Object Cloud, through which different companies’ devices can interconnect. According to LogMeIn, a “fundamental philosophy” baked into the Xively terms of service states that “customers own their data and can choose whether or not to share all, part, or none [of] it.”

showcase page for the platform shows early projects built on Xively that include the Visualight smart lightbulb and even some of the post-Fukushimacrowdsourced radiation-monitoring efforts (which used an earlier iteration of the platform, called Pachube at the time).

More info here.

Freescale’s Insanely Tiny ARM Chip Will Put the Internet of Things Inside Your Body

KL0PA-keyboard-20-LR-3-660x440Chipmaker Freescale Semiconductor has created the world’s smallest ARM-powered chip, designed to push the world of connected devices into surprising places.

Announced today, the Kinetis KL02 measures just 1.9 by 2 millimeters. It’s a full microcontroller unit (MCU), meaning the chip sports a processor, RAM, ROM, clock and I/O control unit — everything a body needs to be a basic tiny computer.

The KL02 has 32k of flash memory, 4k of RAM, a 32 bit processor, and peripherals like a 12-bit analog to digital converter and a low-power UART built into the chip. By including these extra parts, device makers can shrink down their designs, resulting in tiny boards in tiny devices.

How tiny? One application that Freescale says the chips could be used for is swallowable computers. Yes, you read that right. “We are working with our customers and partners on providing technology for their products that can be swallowed but we can’t really comment on unannounced products,” says Steve Tateosian, global product marketing manager.

The KL02 is part of Freescale’s push to make chips tailored to the Internet of Things. Between the onboard peripherals and a power-management system tuned to the chemistry of current generation batteries, the KL02 is intended to be at the heart of a network of connected objects, moving from shoes that wirelessly report your steps (a natural evolution of Nike+) to pipes that warn you when they are leaking.

There are some clues we can glean about how this chip might end up inside our digestive tracts. Freescale already works with a variety of health and wellness customers. Both the Fitbit and OmniPod insulin pump use Freescale chips. It’s not hard to imagine a new generation of devices designed to monitor your internal health or release drugs and medicine from within your body. Such tiny implements, however, also creates the possibility that discarded micro-devices could soon collect in sewers and waste treatment plants.

Though Moore’s law has become largely uninteresting at the scale of desktop and laptop computers (when all you’re doing is watching videos, writing, and surfing the web, you don’t need that much power), there is still plenty of room at the bottom.

More info here.

ARM: Embedded 10X Bigger Than Mobile


ARM CEO Warren East says the embedded device sector will be be ten times larger than mobile in a few years.

“If you add up all the smartphones and the tablets and the digital televisions and the PCs… and cast your eye forward a few years we see a large opportunity of perhaps 3 billion to 4 billion units per annum, but we see an embedded market that’s maybe 30 billion to 40 billion units per annum, and so that’s where we get the factor ten.”

As part of its first quarter results for 2012, the microprocessor company said the number of chips based on its architecture increased by 15 percent during the period to hit 800 million. In comparison, chips for mobile phones and computers remained fairly static compared to the year before at 1.1 billion units.

More info here.

Arm targets ‘Internet of Things’ with new low-power chip

British chip maker Arm Holdings, has taken the wraps off a new energy-efficient microprocessor, which the company claims could pave the way for the “Internet of Things”.

The 32-bit Cortex-M0+ processor, code-named Flycatcher, uses just a third of the energy of legacy 8- and 16-bit architectures, while delivering significantly higher performance, according to ARM.

British chip maker Arm Holdings, has taken the wraps off a new energy-efficient microprocessor, which the company claims could pave the way for the “Internet of Things”.

The 32-bit Cortex-M0+ processor, code-named Flycatcher, uses just a third of the energy of legacy 8- and 16-bit architectures, while delivering significantly higher performance, according to ARM.

More info here.

ARM exec: standards are needed for the 'internet of things'

The increase in the number of internet-connected devices is creating a wealth of possibilities for the future of technology, particularly in the context of the internet of things — also known as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications.

However, standards need to be firmly established before new services can truly flourish, according to Simon Segars, vice president of the ARM physical IP division.

“The biggest limitation is around standardisation of how these technologies are going to work together. All the building blocks are there, and it’s about putting them together. So, you need low power, small, low cost micro-controllers,” Segars told ZDNet UK at CES 2012. “We can do that, and it will get better over time,”he added.

Segars said that the challenge now is one of how each piece of technology is used, rather than needing advances in the technology itself.

“There’s an implementation challenge, all the technologies are different and how you mix-and-match those are hard problems that we’re trying to solve,” Segars said. “We’re looking at evolving those technologies, but really it’s all there today and people have got to start putting them together and working out those higher level services that are going to run on top of them.”

Smart meters, for example, already combine a range of technologies that need to be able to communicate with each other, Segars said.

“It has a controller in it, it has a communication link — how are all these things going to communicate [with other technologies], there are standards needed behind that,” Segars added. “What’s the security behind that? How’s all that going to work?”

More info here.