Arduino relying on Arm software for IoT Pro support

At CES 2020, Arduino announced a new Portenta H7 module based on both Arm Cortex-M7 and Cortex-M4. In addition, Arm IoT support software is being used with Arduino products. (Arduino)

Low-cost Arduino modules are used by millions of designers of all types, often for creating games but also for trying out industrial innovations at thousands of companies.

At CES 2020, Arduino announced that Arduino’s hardware and low-code application development platform will be combined with Arm’s Pelion software to create a new pro edition that is designed to give business users simplicity in integration and a scalable, secure and professional support service.

Pelion is an IoT services platform from Arm that offers device management (such as lifecycle updates), connectivity management and data management. Pelion is part of the IoT Services Group at Arm, staffed by several hundred workers that serve a global client base largely in the utility, transportation and logistics arenas.

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Dipesh Patel, an Arm veteran of more than 20 years, serves as president of the Iot Services. While not the largest revenue generator at Arm, the group has won Arm’s full support in its five years of existence, Patel said in an interview with FierceElectronics at CES.

“Arm has been investing heavily in this space from the time we started until now,” he said, including the purchase of Treasure Data and Stream in 2018.

“IoT is such a vast area of market opportunity and there are so many use cases,” he said.

Patel described the relationship that Arm has with Arduino as one in which “we are working very closely.” He praised Arduino for its success.  “Once you have the right software, you can buy an Arduino board, register it, and you’re up and running.”

In the utilities sector, Arm supports devices such as smart meters, with the ability to provide software updates.

In logistics and transportation, Arm can work with delivery fleets to provide maintenance monitoring, and the future for transportation includes support for traffic lights and related infrastructure.

Five years ago when Arm kicked off its IoT Services Group, the challenge was one of massively differing sensors and systems. “We started with the idea that IoT would be highly fragmented and thought of how to reduce that fragmentation,” he said. “There was no one common software framework across devices so it was a question of can we create a common system for scheduling, encryption and security whether it is a temperature sensor or a gas meter.”

Arm’s biggest competitor in IoT Support is teams inside of companies that do the support work themselves. Next, it is cloud companies like Amazon and Azure. 

The support tech is “complex and ranges from deeply embedded software and all the way through to the cloud with web-based Java script. It can get quite complicated. It’s a growing business,” Patel said.

Also at CES 2020, Arduino launched the Portenta H7 module, a dual-core Arm Cortex-M7 and Cortex-M4. It is designed for industrial applications, AI edge processing and robotics and is capable of running Arduino code, Python and JavaScript. It is available for pre-order for $100 with delivery in late February.

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