Arm IoT technologies will unleash data gold rush

In the coming years, the Internet of Things presents an enormous opportunity to transform society by unlocking and unleashing a world of data that, until now, has either been uncollected or has sat largely unused.

The revolution will be digitized

At present, we’re busy connecting millions of devices in the field but need to properly capture and analyze the data they’re collecting. As the number of data sources expands exponentially, businesses are clamoring for ways to mine and harness the data for insights they can use, for example, to drive operational efficiencies or improve their customers’ experience–or both.

 Connected city

This demand suggests that enormous potential lies ahead, particularly in three key markets: utilities, logistics and smart buildings.

  • Utilities are gaining efficiency, usage insights and cost savings with IoT through more accurate smart meters, better load management and power quality, and automated maintenance updates that reduce service calls and energy theft, as well as improve network security.
  • Logistics professionals are mining the wealth of data to gain benefits that extend across the logistics value chain, from warehousing operations, freight transportation, asset-tracking and last-mile delivery.
  • Smart buildings are enabling owners and tenants to more efficiently utilize space and energy thanks to systems that sense and manage everything from HVAC to occupancy and layout.

What’s stopping us?

To date, however, their goal of unlocking their data has been slowed or stymied because the effort to weave devices together to create coherent solutions is still evolving.

There remain big gaps across industry verticals: For example, while many companies are happy to leverage cloud-based solutions, many more have no intention of migrating their data and legacy systems into the cloud. Instead they require on-premises solutions because they want to keep their data and digital assets behind their firewall.

In addition, many existing IoT systems deployed by a given company – for example, flow meters here, automated machinery and cooling systems there – don't talk to each other because they're managed by vertical solutions. Customers are demanding a horizontal approach to eliminate these technological fiefdoms.   

Lastly, IoT security awareness is growing, but customer experience, cost and time-to-market requirements continue to take precedence over security requirements. This makes it challenging to implement strong security controls or, worse, leaves specific security functionality out of production deployments.

A tipping point

But this landscape is about to change, as we move from millions of devices to billions.

Over the past quarter century, Arm has developed innovative IP solutions that customers worldwide have embraced for low-power, small-footprint innovation and the choice and flexibility the company's vast portfolio gives them. As part of this innovation journey, Arm unveiled Mbed Cloud and Mbed OS, which together offer a suite of solutions for IoT systems development and device management. These are industry solutions developed with the understanding that deployment of IoT devices at scale requires coverage across a vast range of IoT client devices and communications efficiency, irrespective of device constraints.  

Now, continuing our journey of innovation, we are knocking down the barriers to IoT development again. Arm is announcing new products to speed adoption and deployment of IoT solutions by meeting the customer needs of simplicity, security and control. Point solutions exist, but to date, no company has confronted this complexity holistically by:

  • Offering a fully integrated IoT device management solution for a range of device profiles, from constrained to feature-rich
  • Meeting the requirements for on-premises solutions
  • Offering production-ready device modules to speed implementation
  • Enabling additional flexibility for communications needs.

At Mobile World Congress, we will showcase the following innovations:

Mbed Cloud support for on-premises solutions

Due to regulations, legal liabilities, financial considerations or simply technical limitations, many companies favor an on-premise deployment over a cloud deployment. This option is preferred as it can provide improved visibility and control for access to data, sequester crucial, valuable data behind a company's firewall and better integrate with legacy systems in the enterprise. 

Mbed Cloud support for on-premises provides cloud-like product capabilities for IoT device management, running on customers’ premises without depending on any public cloud services. The on-premises solutions, for instance, can be deployed:

  • Physically running on customer premises
  • With an IaaS (infrastructure as a service) provider with whom the customer has a relationship.

Arm is enabling companies that need closed, managed networks to capture the data and keep their digital assets within their business. This allows them to drive operational efficiencies and adopt analytics and insights that can transform even the most traditional business.

Read more about Mbed on-premises.

Mbed Cloud support for constrained devices

Mbed Cloud provides device-management capabilities for IoT device profiles that range from the very small and cost-sensitive devices to the more expensive and feature-rich. This ranges from devices like smart meters, which can pre-process data and make context-based decisions, up to edge gateways that can handle data analytics and control other devices.

But until now, some of the more constrained devices have been mere data collectors. Their functionality has been limited and they couldn't be updated to align them with newer business processes as organizations evolve.

Mbed Cloud support for constrained devices disrupts this status quo. It provides device-management capabilities and enables these devices to communicate directly on an IP network while supporting the security functions required on a large network.

The expanded support enables these devices to use protocol stacks specifically designed for constrained nodes, such as CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol) over UDP (User Datagram Protocol). It enables secure collection of data with minimal cost and compute impact on the target device. This innovation helps make these formerly constrained IoT endpoints vastly richer, so they become fully contributing elements in connected IoT environments.

Read more about Mbed client lite for constrained devices.

Mbed OS support for modules

New customers embarking on the IoT adoption journey often have neither the time nor engineering resources to design ground-up, chip-on-board solutions using the full capabilities of the communications protocols.  

Module vendors fill this need, making it easier for customers to capture untapped data securely to transform their infrastructure. But there are so many vendors to choose from that finding the one with the experience and scale to support the company's requirements has become a significant impediment to project development.

To address these needs, Arm created a program that verifies the performance of modules running Mbed OS and connectivity protocols. This gives product developers a simple entry point to the module marketplace where they can find mass production-quality modules running Mbed OS with a diverse suite of connectivity drivers and protocols. This speeds development and time to production.

Available modules support a range of wireless stacks from Bluetooth and WiFi to LoRa, Cat-M1 and NB-IoT. All are supported natively by Mbed OS and able to connect to a solution with Mbed Cloud.

Read more about Mbed OS support for modules.

Mbed OS support for NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT)

As the IoT build-out pace quickens, there's an increase of cellular IoT (CIoT) connectivity solutions as they provide reliable, well-managed networks around the world. The key to cellular-IoT is enabling connectivity without complicated set-up via a gateway. The challenge has been that traditional cellular modems have been optimized for data throughput, which often isn’t needed for managing an IoT network. For an IoT network, power and cost are likely to be more significant considerations over data throughput. This is where NB-IoT comes in.

CIoT aims for simpler, low-cost modems tailored for slower, periodic transmissions and is expected to deliver better signal penetration to support devices located deep inside buildings.

Mbed OS version 5.8 supports cellular-based low‑power wide‑area technologies (CAT-NB1 and CAT-M1). Integration of these technologies into Mbed OS brings a unique application development experience for developers using new cellular APIs. Mbed OS cellular APIs are fully tested, which ensures that applications use modems/modules in consistent ways.

For more information, please visit Arm’s Connectivity page.

Secure, connect, provision, update with Mbed technologies

These new technologies are designed to accelerate IoT development, deployment and management, to enabling businesses to mine the data they know will give them actionable insights and transform their customers’ experience.

Pieces of this future already are in place. Drive down the streets of San Diego or Los Angeles at night and your path is likely to be illuminated by Mbed-powered street lights that deliver lighting-management efficiencies and cost savings to those cities.

In the future – thanks to the evolution of Arm Mbed Cloud and Mbed OS technologies–one can imagine these same systems extended to support public-safety requirements, such as traffic management, and give municipalities rich new data sets to mine and leverage in their operations.

With the introduction of these new IoT technologies from Arm–in conjunction with our hardware and security solutions, such as the Platform Security Architecture – there is now nothing stopping any company on the planet from starting or expanding their IoT journey and tapping and exploiting the data in their world to gain new insights and improve operational efficiencies.

More information on Arm IoT solutions