Annual Report and Accounts 2010

forward momentum

ARM is well positioned as global trends drive the use of technology into the lives of billions of people. Warren East, CEO, explains how these trends will benefit ARM and could lead to 100 billion ARM-technology based chips being shipped over the next ten years.

forward momentum table

From its earliest days, ARM has benefited from a number of global trends such as the out-sourcing of technology development by the semiconductor industry, and the adoption of mobile phones. Many of these trends will continue to benefit ARM over the next ten years, and will be joined by additional trends such as the consumerisation of the internet, the increase in embedded computing and the proliferation of microcontrollers.

Consumerisation of the internet

For years the internet just connected PCs and businesses together, but it has recently expanded its scope and capability by connecting all types of digital electronic devices together, not just phones and mobile computers, but also toys, cars, digital TVs, games consoles, navigation devices, and with the advent of smart-metering even white goods. This expansion benefits ARM because chips based on our technology can be found in many of the communications electronics that connect a device to the internet. In addition, internet connectivity can enable new products and services that can become viable only with adoption of even more technology such as video- on-demand which may need a secure method for payments.

Reliable efficient embedded computing

Consumers wanting to download content from the internet or play on-line games need high speed data connections. Fourth generation mobile phone networks are currently being installed, offering constant connectivity and data rates up to 100MB/s. To take advantage of this data stream, a mobile device will need a highly efficient processor in the baseband modem.

The infrastructure of the internet will also need capable, high-performance processors to support increased traffic, transmitted at faster data rates. Rich content, such as video or games, may also require larger storage capabilities in the consumer device and in the cloud. All of these modems, and networking and storage devices, are opportunities for ARM technology.

Smart low-cost microcontrollers

Some of the electronic devices that we use everyday are already beginning to utilise smarter technology to enable remote monitoring and control, make better decisions and to make huge reductions in the energy consumed by such devices. For example, some washing machines today have enough intelligence to decide how much detergent to use based on how dirty the clothes are, and spin the drum using more energy efficient control algorithms. Future washing machines may also connect to the electricity grid to enquire when energy pricing will be at its cheapest level to smooth out peaks in demand. We work hard to design appropriate products and engage with suitable partners to put our technology at the heart of all these devices.

Together these trends will drive the need for smarter chips and increase the adoption and deployment of ARM technology across multiple markets. ARM’s partners have already shipped about 25 billion ARM processor-based chips cumulatively, and we are now looking forward to a future where another 100 billion ARM processor-based chips will be shipped over the next ten years.