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The Tipping Point in IoT: Challenges and Opportunities Revealed by Arm’s Survey

Eliminating complexity will accelerate innovation.
By Paul Williamson, SVP and GM of the IoT LoB, Arm

When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), there are two camps: Optimists and pessimists. The pessimists perennially view the IoT as next-year’s technology. But I’m firmly planted in the former camp: I’m genuinely excited about the potential of transformative innovation that can be unleashed by IoT solutions. At the same time, I’m not Pollyannaish about the topic either. In any emerging technology sector, there are always barriers to overcome. 

And at Arm, as we continue to deliver focused solutions, IP and other technologies to support innovators’ ambitions, we want to stay on top of the latest trends and challenges. That’s why we fielded a survey of IoT technologists in the global ecosystem to understand the challenges faced by developers, engineers, start-ups, and established OEMs from semiconductor partners to software providers, OEMs and more.

On the positive side, the respondents see consumer, cloud/data center and smart cities leading the embrace of IoT, with 5G technology, cloud-native development and machine learning being among the important solutions enablers. They’re truly excited about the possibility of gathering vast new data, analyzing it efficiently and using that to transform their businesses and customer experiences. 

But they see challenges as well. Obstructing their transformative visions are lengthy and complex development cycles and the portability of software to newer hardware. They see value in making development more efficient with tools such as Arm Virtual Hardware, which lets developers virtually prototype their ideas and test software before committing to hardware. And they also see value in the how Arm ecosystem can ease portability of software to enable efficient development scaling.

They also see complexity when it comes to software compatibility. Developers believe in the importance of using the same architecture across all IoT products to make software development more efficient and scalable. In addition software reuse, reduced costs, and reduced learning time for development teams were also identified as important considerations that can be addressed by using a consistent architecture.

The survey revealed that the most significant business challenge is ensuring product security throughout the development and end-of-life phases. They see a need to continue improving security from design through deployment and into the field, and they acknowledge that’s driven in part but demands for enhanced security from their own partners and customers.

Other challenges include slowed global supply chains, new laws and regulations, delayed access to the newest hardware and IoT technologies, and the lack of certification and standardization for enhanced security.

There’s no doubt that the IoT industry sits at a tipping point. Arm’s survey provides valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities in IoT development and reflects the enthusiasm and optimism with which innovators view the coming years of IoT opportunity. 

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