ARM De-risks Design Cycle for IoT Chips

June 01, 2015

IoT subsystem for ARM® Cortex®-M processors on TSMC 55ULP process accelerates development time for innovators

Cambridge, UK, June 1, 2015 - ARM has unveiled a new hardware subsystem to enable the fast and efficient development of highly customized chips for smart connected devices. The ARM IoT subsystem for ARM Cortex-M processors is optimized for use with ARM's most efficient processor and radio technologies, physical IP and ARM mbed™ OS.

This individually licensable subsystem IP block, together with Cortex-M processor and ARM Cordio® radio IP, forms the basis for an IoT endpoint chip design, allowing partners to integrate sensors and other peripherals to create complete SoCs. Using ARM Artisan® physical IP, the design is optimized for TSMC's 55nm Ultra-Low Power (55ULP) process technology with embedded flash memory, and will enable chips with reduced size, cost and power consumption, operating at sub one-volt.

"With industry expectations of hundreds of billions of new smart connected sensors by 2030, we see a growing demand for highly customized chips," said James McNiven, general manager, systems and software, ARM. "Creating a highly tailored SoC is complex. The ARM IoT subsystem for Cortex-M enables companies to simplify the process and improve time to market. It enables our partners to focus finite design resources on the system functionality that differentiates them in their market."

The ARM subsystem will support IoT market growth by reducing development risk and enabling companies to quickly create products that address opportunities in the smart homes and smart cities markets. Companies expected to license the subsystem include analog sensor makers and companies looking to add IoT connectivity to existing IP.

"A SoC is complex combination of logic, memory, and interconnect technologies, but equally as important is the glue that ties all these system components together," said Jim McGregor, founder, TIRIAS Research. "By offering the IoT Subsystem, ARM is enabling both new and established semiconductor vendors to design and deliver solutions in a very timely and cost effective manner, which is critical in the rapidly innovating IoT segment. With the most complete offering of hardware and software solutions for IoT applications, it's no surprise that more IoT devices run on ARM than any other architecture."

The ARM IoT subsystem for Cortex-M processors features a range of peripherals and interfaces; including links to TSMC's embedded flash memory. It is specifically designed for use with Cortex-M processors and optimized for mbed OS and Cordio Bluetooth® Smart radio. It is possible to integrate other radios and wireless networking standards such as Wi-Fi and 802.15.4.

This subsystem has been developed in close collaboration with TSMC, one of the world's leading semiconductor foundries, for production on its 55ULP process technology. The combination of Artisan physical IP and TSMC's 55ULP process means the subsystem can run at sub-one volt operation, extending battery life and making it easier to run a device using energy harvesting.

"We have worked alongside ARM to ensure its IoT subsystem for Cortex-M cores is optimized for TSMC's 55ULP process," said Suk Lee, senior director, design infrastructure marketing Division, TSMC. "This process is very well-suited for smart IoT devices as it provides a fine balance of cost and energy-efficiency."

TSMC launched the foundry segment's first and most comprehensive ULP technology platform in September 2014 to serve a range of applications supporting demand for IoT and wearable devices.

The ARM IoT subsystem for Cortex-M processors builds on the company's suite of IoT enablement technologies and embedded ecosystem and is available for immediate licensing. To date, over eleven billion ARM Cortex-M processor based chips have been shipped, while the mbed developer community has now grown to over 100,000 users.



Andy Winstanley
+44 1223 405244/ +44 7788 249712
Director of Corporate PR, ARM

Notes to Editors

ARM and IoT: In February 2015, ARM expanded its mbed Platform with the ARM mbed TLS providing leading support for TLS and DTLS optimized for embedded devices and complements the Cryptobox technology of mbed OS that enables secure execution and storage.

In April 2015, ARM launched ARM Cordio, a Bluetooth® radio IP series which includes highly integrated and ultra-low power CMOS radio IP cores along with link layer firmware, stack and profiles supporting the Bluetooth Smart standard to target end markets requiring low-power wireless communications.

With almost 11bn devices shipped to date, Cortex-M has become the standard processor choice for IoT and now with the IoT Subsystem for Cortex-M, ARM enables and accelerates the pace of innovation for a wider circle of partners.

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