Enabling mass IoT connectivity as ARM partners ship 100 billion chips

February 27, 2017

The ARM business model has inspired innovators, entrepreneurs, academics and now –  the cumulative deployment of 100 billion chips, half of which shipped in the last four years. It is an amazing achievement but success does not belong to ARM alone, rather it is testament to the power of partnership.

And if partnership can create and deploy 100 billion chips, why not a trillion or more? That is our target, seeing a trillion connected devices deployed over the next two decades. And for that to happen, we must think carefully about the ecosystem and infrastructure required to support such a vast quantity of data-driven products.


 Connecting a trillion devices requires a range of enabling technologies. In the home that may be Wi-Fi or Bluetooth low energy. For devices operating remotely, in power-constrained environments and sending infrequent amounts of little data, there are new cellular-based technology standards delivered by the 3GPP Release 13 in 2016. That included NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE Cat M1. We expect NB-IoT, an ultra-low-power wide-area connectivity (LPWAN) standard, to be a key enabler of a broad range of IoT applications and that is why we announced ARM Cordio-N NB-IoT radio technology last week. With broadly available IP from ARM, any chip designer will be able to integrate NB-IoT functionality into a product and reduce overall system costs.

Tadashi Iida, vice president and head of the Mobile Technology Division at SoftBank Corp agrees: “The industry is planning a complex network transformation to cope with the weight of devices that will connect over the next two decades.”

He adds: “We will see advanced and efficient compute, security, storage, and connectivity from the edge of the system to the Cloud. NB-IoT will play an important role in this transformation as it lays a path towards the massive machine communications needs of 5G. ARM’s licensable IP, ARM Cordio-N NB-IoT modem will help hasten this path as it will enable developers to bring products to market faster, and at scale.” 

Built for purpose

 For me, the beauty of NB-IoT is that it will enable the smallest embedded edge devices to send tiny amounts of data using licensed spectrum while being so efficient that devices may last for ten years or more on a battery. Along with offering reliable quality of service, the standard is highly attractive to mobile network operators as it is relatively inexpensive to deploy on their existing cellular networks.

Ryan Sullivan, vice president of Product Engineering & Development at Sprint, also believes cellular standards will unlock the IoT at scale: “Delivering secure connectivity will be mission critical for a wireless Operator requiring a robust and holistic communication and data ecosystem. ARM’s IP technology and ecosystem offers a path to accelerate cellular IoT adoption by delivering a secure solution certified at the chip.  By utilizing the ARM ecosystem, we expect improved costs and time-to-market that will drive innovation for IoT and Enterprise solutions.”

Design to delivery - fast

Our aim now is to achieve network pre-certification of ARM Cordio-N NB-IoT IP. This would allow our chip and OEM partners to build secure connected products from the ground up to be secure and resilient enough to run on cellular networks. If we succeed, along with our operator partners, we will have made it far easier and cheaper for developers to get to market. For anyone, trying to get a new device up and running as fast as possible out of the box, this will be a huge plus.

This is all part of ARM’s ultimate vision; to transform technology experiences through a total computing approach that creates a vast network of securely-connected smart devices that enhance every aspect of peoples’ lives. Today, alongside our 1,100 partners, we celebrate 100 billion ARM-based chips shipped, but that is only the start.

Download our free white paper ‘NB-IoT: Connecting the IoT with ARM’ for more on how NB-IoT will unlock long range IoT connectivity at scale.

Simon Segars

About Arm

Arm technology is defining the future of computing. Our energy-efficient processor designs and software platforms have enabled advanced computing in more than 250 billion chips and our technologies securely power products from the sensor to the smartphone and the supercomputer. Together with 1,000+ technology partners, we are enabling artificial intelligence to work everywhere, and in cybersecurity, we are delivering the foundation for trust in the digital world – from chip to cloud. The future is being built on Arm.

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