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In the Race to Realize the IoT, There’s No Need to Run Alone

Mohamed Awad unpacks the latest Forrester Research report into IoT solutions development and finds an encouraging message: There may be challenges ahead but the ecosystem has your back
By Mohamed Awad, SVP and GM of the Infrastructure Business, Arm
Runners Embracing

The number of Internet of things (IoT) developers is growing rapidly, a testament not only to the market potential of IoT devices and systems but to the ecosystem that is evolving to deliver IoT projects that just work.

Yet many of these developers are running into challenges as they try to scale their IoT ambitions and embrace the new IoT data opportunity that can transform their businesses. Often, they’re faced with daunting technology choices and struggle with the complexity involved in developing and delivering an IoT solution.

But a new Forrester Research report into IoT solutions development charts a path forward with an encouraging message: There’s no need to go it alone. As part of the report “Scale Up Your IoT Offerings with Ecosystem Expertise” commissioned by Arm, Forrester conducted an online survey with 177 decision-makers at original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) that developed or adopted IoT-enabled devices or applications.

The results suggest little doubt or hesitation about pursuing IoT strategies or experimenting with various IoT use cases. In fact, the majority of respondents understand that developing IoT solutions can unlock data sources they can use to guide internal strategy, secure new revenue sources, future design efficiency and improve their customers’ experience.

But this excitement is tempered with pragmatism:

  • Virtually all (98 percent) surveyed stakeholders report challenges across all stages of development
  • Roughly half have concerns around maintaining security, either at the cloud, network or device level
  • Most companies grapple with a skills gap and realize they can’t scale as much as they want just by themselves

That said, the majority of respondents embrace an ecosystem approach to help tackle their challenges, from skills gaps to security to integration and connectivity.

Arm addresses the challenges of IoT development and deployment

The power of Arm technologies and our partners’ solutions are transforming industries, from home and healthcare to smart cities and industrial. Arm has never been more committed to the IoT and together with our partners and ecosystem, we will unleash the economic and societal benefits of the internet of things to build a better world. 

We realized early on that delivering connected IoT solutions means one size does not fit all: a broad array of IP, software and services is required to seed the ecosystem and spark new innovation.

Arm IP is at the heart of the chips powering a huge range of IoT applications. In the spirit of relentless innovation, we launched the Arm Flexible Access program to give designers of these chips an expanded ability to try out a wide variety of IP for a modest upfront fee. In the case of early-stage startups, there is no upfront fee.

Arm Flexible Access includes some of our most cutting-edge products, we recently added the endpoint AI capabilities of the Arm Cortex-M55 and Ethos-U55, launched last year. It’s clearly an alluring proposition: since the launch of Flexible Access in summer 2019, more than 100 innovative companies – more than half of them first-time Arm silicon partners – have signed up for Flexible Access.

If flexibility and the chance to cost-effectively experiment with designs is important to designers, so too is security. Nearly 90 percent of respondents indicated that providing endpoint device security is extremely important to their differentiation strategy. PSA Certified is a security framework and certification scheme for the IoT sector, which Arm introduced in 2017 as the Platform Security Architecture, or PSA.

Over time, PSA has evolved to become PSA Certified, a worldwide partnership between Arm and other industry leaders to help developers build in the right levels of security to connected IoT devices. The four-step process offers a wide range of resources (including technical specifications, threat models, open-source firmware and APIs) that help our partners to use the PSA Certified framework and obtain certification based on Arm technology.

Strength in numbers

As highlighted by Forrester, IoT developers face a wide range of challenges, as traditional embedded requirements intersect with connectivity, security and newer technologies like machine learning. Arm provides much more than just silicon-level technologies: we fuel innovation among end-application developers with tools, open-source software and operating system (OS) technology designed to strip a lot of the complexity out of project development, implementation and debugging.

Through standards-based initiatives such as Project Cassini, Arm joins with a huge partnership in enabling a vibrant, supportive software ecosystem from data center through edge to endpoint – all working towards a vision of seamless deployment of any workload to any device, reducing the time to realizing the global potential of a truly scaled-up IoT.

More than 190 billion Arm-based chips have shipped to date, including 25 billion in 2020 alone, which was up 13 percent over the previous year. This scale is due in part to our legacy of embracing standards and industry initiatives to fuel innovation and by streamlining the end-to-end experience for developers.

In short, the same spirit of relentless compute-efficient innovation and ecosystem nurturing that powered the smartphone revolution is now being applied to IoT.

Scale Up Your IoT Offerings with Ecosystem Expertise

Whether you’re just beginning or whether you’re trying to accelerate your IoT journey, the Forrester report offers keen insights and detailed data around a number of technology challenges that you can use to hone your IoT strategy.

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Brian Fuller and Jack Melling
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