ARM has unveiled a comprehensive set of tools to drive the Internet of Things (IoT), comprising a free operating system for its Cortex-M series processors, server-side software to connect and manage devices, and a website to serve as a focus for a developer community.
The ARM mbed IoT Device Platform offers a self-contained framework for developing applications for the IoT. Because it includes components for both the device and the back-end infrastructure, it will make development easier by allowing developers to focus on the application itself, according to ARM.
"ARM mbed will make this easier by offering the necessary building blocks to enable our expanding set of ecosystem partners to focus on the problems they need to solve to differentiate their products, instead of common infrastructure technologies. This will accelerate the growth and adoption of the IoT in all sectors of the global economy," said ARM chief executive Simon Segars.
The mbed OS targets ARM's 32-bit Cortex-M processor family, and provides vital security, communication and device management features, including support for key communications capabilities such as Bluetooth Smart, mobile networks, Wi-Fi, and 802.15.4.
ARM is making mbed OS free for developers and for deployment, a move designed to encourage uptake, and said it will be supported by an ecosystem of more than 100 major chip vendors.
However, the software is still at an early stage of development. Alpha 1 code is available now to mbed partners, but the first release version is not expected to ship until October 2015.
At the back-end, ARM is offering mbed Device Server software, which provides the capability to connect and manage devices in a secure way and integrate into cloud-based big data frameworks.
Available now, this can scale to handle connections from millions of devices, ARM claims. Unlike the device-side OS, the server software requires a licence, however.
ARM also said it is putting together a platform toolkit to enable the building of complex applications. The mbed.org developer website also hosts these development tools in a convenient cloud-based integrated development environment, with workspace version control, code formatting and auto-generation of documentation for published libraries.
The website, which has existed for some time, provides a comprehensive database of hardware development kits, a repository for reusable software components, reference applications and documentation.
Launch partners for the mbed IoT Device Platform include silicon vendors such as Atmel, CSR and Freescale, plus other industry giants such as IBM.
Last month, ARM expanded its Cortex-M portfolio with the Cortex-M7, offering double the compute and digital signal processing performance of existing core designs.
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