Rival semiconductor titans ARM and Intel have struck to work together to manage networks of connected devices from both companies, getting rid of a major stumbling block to market growth of the so-called Internet of Things.
Britain’s ARM, which is a unit of Softbank Corp, stated on Monday that it had struck a strategic tie-up with Intel to use common standards developed by Intel for managing IoT devices, connections, and data.
The IoT technology involves connecting simple chips that detect distance, motion, temperature, pressure, and images to be used in a n ever-widening range of electronics like lights, parking meters, refrigerators.
Some of the world’s dumbest electronic devices get smarter by becoming connected into cloud networks, but also harder to protect.
ARM’s agreement to adopt Intel standards for securely managing such networks marks a breakthrough that promises to drive the spread of IoT across many industries, the two companies said.
“We see a significant acceleration in terms of how the market will grow in terms of the number of managed devices and the volume of data that moves through these systems,” said Himagiri Mukkamala, who is an ARM senior vice president and general manager for its IoT Cloud Services division, during an interview.
The announcement came ahead of ARM’s annual technical conference set for this week in Silicon Valley. ARM and Intel have long been rivals more broadly over the processors for computers, networks, and smartphones.
Most of the world’s largest suppliers of IoT chips depend on low-power ARM designs, which include NXP, Renesas, and Microchip’s Atmel, while Intel, known for its powerful data-crunching processors, dominates the cloud data center market, in which IoT data are analyzed and processed, said Bill Ray, who is a Gartner analyst.
Chipmakers are expected to ship nearly 100 billion ARM-based IoT devices in the coming four to five years, matching the total number of ARM chips shipped in the last 25 years, said Mukkamala.
ARM has forecasted that as many as 1 trillion IoT devices will be put to work in the world over the next couple of decades.
Typically, IoT devices some pre-loaded at the factory with network access credentials, making them susceptible to many security vulnerabilities. Periodic fixes require manual upgrades by technicians in the field.
By permitting their devices to be managed via a single management platform, ARM and Intel are enabling such tasks to be automated to keep them secure.
ARM’s recently introduced Pelion IoT management platform will rely on Intel’s Secure Device Onboard specifications announced a year ago. This will enable customers using IoT chips based on either company’s products to manage them in the same system, executives at the two companies stated in two different blog posts.