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The Future is Coming Faster Than You Think: Arm and Advantech Co-Creation


Author │ Yung-Chin Ming 

Interviewee │ Jerry Wang, Presales Technical Consultant of Arm Taiwan’s ISG    

Arm has long licensed its intellectual properties such as its CPU and GPU architectures. In developing its future growth strategy, the company has introduced the IoT Services Group (ISG) to establish their Mbed IoT Development Platform as the leading solution to securely connect and manage IoT devices. Topics of particular pertinence to this group include how they are creating an IoT ecosystem with its partners and how Mbed will affect the rapidly developing IoT world. To discover more, Advantech’s IoT.SENSE team interviewed Jerry Wang, Presales Technical Consultant of Arm Taiwan’s ISG, to gain insights into these topics:

Regarding the company’s positioning in IoT and its view on macro trends in this field, Mr. Wang stated that Arm anticipates that by 2035, there will be one trillion units deployed across a range of applications. Although the company does not produce terminal devices, it still plays an important role in providing the most critical and basic elements. On one hand, it supplies low-power CPU cores, and on the other hand, ISG cooperates with its partners in building a complete IoT ecosystem in order to accelerate the development of various IoT devices and thereby help its customers achieve time-to-market goals.

Mr. Wang noted three key factors pertaining to success in IoT applications. First, many developers require a consistent platform and structured references. Regardless of the application design under implementation, developers share common resources related to development, debugging, and maintenance. Second, IoT cannot be decoupled from security. In the product development process, a good security foundation needs to be integrated rather than a fragmented security architecture. Finally, although increasingly more cloud-based solutions and rich development tools and functions appear to make product development more convenient, having too many options may in fact introduce additional burdens

According to Mr. Wang, it is necessary to consolidate all next-generation connectivity technologies into a complete IoT ecosystem that is based on a unified platform that supports various regular and real-time operating systems. In this way, customers are ensured that they need only adopt a consistent platform architecture and development standards for terminals, gateways, and cloud platforms, regardless of which vendor or partner they choose to work with.

Regarding Arm’s efforts toward software/hardware standardization, the company launched the Mbed platform to help customers expedite their application development. Accordingly, the Mbed platform emphasizes the use of open standard protocols to provide the most flexible cloud device management services; moreover, the introduction of such open source technologies can release more development resources for partners.

Specifically in response to security issues, Arm recently released the Platform Security Architecture (PSA), which is a unified high-level design framework developed by Arm. This enables individual partners to integrate encryption algorithms, secure key storage devices, and more individualized safety programs to jointly promote the health of the IoT ecosystem.

Given the growing importance of the role of IoT gateways, Arm introduced Mbed Edge in 2017, utilizing gateways to enable more robust device control and management. Mbed Edge contains three key sets of functions: protocol translation, which enables legacy no-IP sensor nodes to connect to the IP network; gateway management, which enhances IoT gateway backup and recovery capabilities while minimizing downtime; and edge compute, which allows local gateway devices to execute instructions as well as collect and process data—even if the connection to the cloud is lost. Once the connection has been reestablished, all data are then uploaded to the cloud, thus enabling seamless synchronization and facilitating application deployment.

In recent years, Advantech has invested a considerable amount of resources into IoT, with current offerings including a series of gateways on the hardware side and the WISE-PaaS platform on the software side, the latter of which provides rich tool kits and high value-added cloud application services for customers. This design concept is consistent with Mbed Edge. Through the cooperation between Arm and Advantech, complete solutions should be able to be formed through a high level of integration between hardware as well as software development tools and platforms. This enables customers to meet various application and development goals by giving them the tools they need to quickly establish the key IoT foundation rather than piece together complicated development tools and components.

Over the past decades, thousands of partners have adopted Arm’s CPU intellectual property to develop a vast range of applications. Looking forward, Arm expects to interact with its partners without limiting itself to processors, while also expanding the level of collaboration it engages in with regard to Mbed’s core technology. Therefore, Arm’s partners can leverage industry leaders’ accomplishments and obtain the most crucial development foundation rather than invest unnecessary effort in searching through different platform technologies, and in doing so make up for a lack of time and resources. By following the same design standards, Arm’s partners are able to accelerate the development of low-energy, high-security, and cost-effective IoT products suitable for various application fields.

Concurrently, Arm is looking forward to gaining more partners like Advantech during cooperation, receiving feedback from end customers, and continuously improving and designing better products. This ensures that Arm can help partners understand the substantial opportunities in IoT and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.