Internet of Things devices and design will be a huge topic of discussion and announcements at ARM TechCon 2016. In this guest blog, ARM Vice President of Worldwide Marketing and Strategic Alliances Ian Ferguson tees up the challenges facing engineers. 

The Internet of Things is at an important and exciting tipping point in its evolution. Components with embedded connectivity are shrinking in size, power and cost. Circuitry is printable onto plastic. This will open up new opportunities for technology that no one will imagine. Any big market has a traditional arc to its development: Technology appears on the scene to spark the market. There’s a period of early excitement followed by a lull. Gartner calls this the Trough of Disillusionment. It’s when we tend to think, “Is that all there is?”ARM TechCon

But it’s only a pause, and I think of any “anti-hype” around IoT as just signaling that point in the cycle. But with IoT, we’ve passed it. We’ve hit a tipping point, where use cases are now defining the technology, rather than technology defining the use cases. This is huge. This is where scale is happening for IoT.

To deliver on IoT’s promise, we need to deliver “systems of systems” that interact and share information. Think about a hospital, where a system of a system monitors operating theaters and beds along with patient and doctor l24462153870_aff03d503b_kocations to improve the speed with which patients are treated and released.

Think about systems of systems that are deployed on small to medium-size farms to monitor crops and weather and manage irrigation to improve yields, save water and do so at that a price that works for those types of farms.

To make this happen, technology must be standards-based, scalable, agile and extensible.

    • Standards-based systems have to communicate and share data with other systems
    • Scalability combines data from multiple sources to make more informed decisions
    • Agility is the ability to design platforms that can pivot to address new verticals in fast-moving, competitive environments
    • Extensibility means deploying systems for years and decades. To maximize their viability, platforms need to be capable of supporting what the future might throw at them. Updating software, whether to correct bugs, update security policies and permissions and/or add new functionality must be done in an efficient and controlled way.

Overarching all this is the requirement for the right end-to-end security protocols. ARM has established successful security architectures, provides security building blocks and has an active ecosystem to support partners. It is not just the endpoints that need to adjust. The immediacy of decision making based on some data that is gathered needs to be implemented away from the cloud. ARM has discussed it as bringing the cloud to the data. Cisco has shared it vision in this area as “Fog Computing” and ARM has extended this concept into its view of the Intelligent Flexible Cloud.

Ok, so you expect me to say that. I write and speak a lot about these technologies and their amazing applications because I’m passionate about it. But don’t take it just from me. Later this month, we’ve got hundreds of domain experts and companies gathering in the Santa Clara Convention Center for our annual ARM TechCon event.

The three-day event features more than 70 technical presentations on IoT, mobile, networking, infrastructure, embedded software development and more. We have tripled the amount of ARM training content we’re providing to three full days on hardware, software and mobile topics. The IoT track features papers on topics such as fog computing, ultra-low power and device management security. We have the hottest keynote line-up ever, featuring ARM technologists, SoftBank CEO and Chairman Masayoshi Son, hacker expert Charlie Miller, Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton and others.

Lastly and most importantly, we’ve got surprises in store for you around IoT technology. So I hope to see you there and hear how you’re deploying ARM technologies in new and exciting ways!

(Ian Ferguson is vice president of worldwide marketing and strategic alliances at ARM. He is based in San Jose, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @Fergie_ARM).

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