Arm reckons its 'any device, any data, any cloud' IoT tech has legs

SaaSy Pelion will try to make sense of terabytes of data from anywhere to anywhere


Arm – the designer of processors used in billions of gadgets, smartphones, and other devices – has launched a new Internet-of-Things platform that it claims will be able to handle any data from any device on any cloud.

There's no shortage of organizations offering IoT solutions, but Arm claims its Pelion IoT platform stands out as it does not tie customers into a specific cloud provider – you are free to choose whatever service you want, and, according to the company, it will work with any device and any type data.

Pelion is possible thanks to a number of acquisitions: today's announcement being that Arm has bought Treasure Data, a biz that specializes in data management and will act as the "final piece of our IoT enablement puzzle," according to Arm.

It refused to say how much it had paid for the company but did say it was the "largest cash deal that we've done." Industry observers say the price was $600m.

Combined with another acquisitions – Stream, which deals with connectivity – and Arm's earlier Mbed Cloud attempt, the Brit chip designers claim that Pelion represents "something entirely new."

"Truly this is the first platform that provides everything from connectivity to devices to data," explained Arm's head of its IoT group, Dipesh Patel.

Miele

IoT pushes Arm over the Edge: Mbed Cloud offers to grab gadget gateways

READ MORE

In real terms, the platform is designed to make the grand promise of IoT – where you not only attach sensors to every piece of equipment you own but actually derive some meaningful, useful information from the huge quantities of data that they throw off – a reality. Pelion will offer a "single portal" that covers every single device.

On a conference call detailing the new platform, Arm's chief marketing officer Joyce Kim went for the usual vast future predictions: one trillion devices by 2035; terabytes of data; and so on.

"Whether it's an energy provider drawing data from its infrastructure to sense failures; a sensor-equipped building anticipating and then proactively dealing with occupants’ needs; or a retailer using data streams from its stores and warehouses to streamline operations – IoT systems can be transformational," the company said in its announcement. The key word of course being "can."

Security

One of the most important aspects to administrating vast quantities of sensors on a disparate array of devices of course is security. While IoT theoretically provides an opportunity for huge efficiencies – recognizing problems before they occur and providing instant insights that could take a human overseer months to figure out – it also represents a huge potential security headache as vulnerabilities and security holes are indentified in IoT software and hardware.

In theory, something like Arm's Pelion should allow sysadmins to push out updates to all relevant sensors automatically. Whether that works or not is another question. As is the fine-in-theory concept that IoT platforms will take vast quantities of data and boil them down into something that a manager can actually learn something from.

To his credit, Arm's Patel did not make light of the issue: such a system is "incredibly complicated", he noted since it needs to cover everything from "ultra constrained" devices like temperature sensors to "constrained" devices like truck, to mainstream systems used by consumers, all the way to rich node and gateway devices. Every device will provide its own data stream in its own format over a different protocol, making it extremely difficult to make sense from the tidal wave of data.

Cat stares at vacuum cleaner robot. Photo by shutterstock

Doctor, doctor, I feel like my IoT-enabled vacuum cleaner is spying on me

READ MORE

As to why you should go with Arm's platform rather than a solution from the literally hundreds of other IoT companies: the company is relying on two main things. First, its brand and ecosystem – it claims to be one of the few companies that can span so many different vertical industries – and second, its promise not to tie you in with its own cloud service. "You can use any cloud service you wish," promised Patel.

As for the key question of pricing, Arm only gave a vague idea of what the cost would be: it will be a software-as-a-service subscription (SaaS) model, paid on a monthly basis. Neither Patel nor Kim would give information beyond that, or say whether there was a revenue-sharing aspect to it.

Pelion, incidentally, was named after the mountain in Greece that was the home of Chiron the Centaur, who tutored ancient Greek heroes including Jason, Achilles, Theseus and Heracles. But Kin noted that it was "just a name we liked and has no meaning per se."

Vast IoT infrastructures are the future, we have been assured for several years. And tech companies are investing huge amounts of money and energy into it. But whether it is a game-changer or just the latest revenue-driving tech fad, we'll have to wait and see. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading
  • Cloud security unicorn cuts 20% of staff after raising $1.3b
    Time to play blame bingo: Markets? Profits? Too much growth? Russia? Space aliens?

    Cloud security company Lacework has laid off 20 percent of its employees, just months after two record-breaking funding rounds pushed its valuation to $8.3 billion.

    A spokesperson wouldn't confirm the total number of employees affected, though told The Register that the "widely speculated number on Twitter is a significant overestimate."

    The company, as of March, counted more than 1,000 employees, which would push the jobs lost above 200. And the widely reported number on Twitter is about 300 employees. The biz, based in Silicon Valley, was founded in 2015.

    Continue reading
  • Talos names eight deadly sins in widely used industrial software
    Entire swaths of gear relies on vulnerability-laden Open Automation Software (OAS)

    A researcher at Cisco's Talos threat intelligence team found eight vulnerabilities in the Open Automation Software (OAS) platform that, if exploited, could enable a bad actor to access a device and run code on a targeted system.

    The OAS platform is widely used by a range of industrial enterprises, essentially facilitating the transfer of data within an IT environment between hardware and software and playing a central role in organizations' industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) efforts. It touches a range of devices, including PLCs and OPCs and IoT devices, as well as custom applications and APIs, databases and edge systems.

    Companies like Volvo, General Dynamics, JBT Aerotech and wind-turbine maker AES are among the users of the OAS platform.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022