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ARM product suite delivers options for IoT

Steve Rogerson
October 27, 2016
 
At this week’s ARM TechCon in California, the UK chip design company released what it claims is its most comprehensive product suite ever to deliver security, efficiency, low-power connectivity and device life cycle management for the IoT.
 
With added processors, radio technology, subsystems, end-to-end security and a cloud-based services platform, ARM is aiming to increase the rate at which IoT scales globally.
 
“As IoT technologies become more pervasive, it is time for a complete solution that secures data from the sensor to the service,” said Pete Hutton, executive vice president at ARM. “ARM partners shipped a record 15 billion chips last year, many destined for smart embedded applications. The IoT already runs on ARM but the goal now is scale, which we are enabling today through a uniquely comprehensive set of technologies and services built to work together seamlessly.”
 
The ARM ecosystem has more than 1000 members.
 
ARM Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 are the first embedded processors based on company’s v8-M architecture, bringing the secure foundation of TrustZone to constrained IoT nodes. Most of the top ten global MCU suppliers have already licensed one or both processors. These include Analog Devices, Microchip, Nuvoton, NXP, Renesas, Silicon Labs and ST Microelectronics.
 
The Cortex-M33 features configuration options including a coprocessor interface, DSP and floating point computation, with increased performance and efficiency relative to Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4. The Cortex-M23 takes security to the most constrained devices, building on the standard set by Cortex-M0+ as an ultra-low power microprocessor in a tiny footprint
 
These processors are backwards compatible with ARM v6-M and v7-M architectures for direct and fast porting, accelerating product development.
 
TrustZone CryptoCell-312 fortifies the SoC with a set of security features protecting the authenticity, integrity and confidentiality of code and data.
 
Silicon design teams can reduce their time to market and target multiple IoT applications with a range of system IP optimised for the latest Cortex-M processors. CoreLink SIE-200 is already licensed by ARM silicon partners and provides the interconnects and controllers that extend TrustZone to the system. CoreLink SSE-200 IoT subsystem are said to reduce time to market by six to twelve months by integrating Cortex-M33, CryptoCell and Cordio radio along with software drivers, secure libraries, protocol stack and MBed OS.
 
Connectivity is enhanced by next-generation Cordio radio IP with Bluetooth 5 and 802.15.4-based standards Zigbee and Thread. The specifications are the most popular, ultra-low power radio standards used in IoT applications. Developers can choose from a standard radio implementation across a range of process nodes from multiple foundries. The Cordio architecture supports ARM and third-party RF.
 
Next-generation Bluetooth 5 enables faster data rates and extends ranges within existing ultra-low-power envelopes. The 802.15.4 helps to ensure compatibility within the expanding Zigbee and Thread device market. Bluetooth and 802.15.4-based standards can be implemented individually or together. Complete and qualified single-source from RF to stack is designed with ARM processor and system IP.
 
The MBed IoT device platform has been expanded to include MBed Cloud, a standards and cloud-based SaaS for secure IoT device management. Through MBed Cloud, OEMs can simplify connection, provisioning, updating and securing of devices across complex networks. It enables faster scaling, productivity and time to market, allowing developers to use any device on any cloud. And it can enhance device-side capabilities with MBed OS 5, supported by a global community of 200,000 developers and more than a million device builds per month.
 
The development and implementation of SoCs based on these Cortex-M processors can be accelerated with Artisan IoT PoP IP available for TSMC 40ULP process technology. Artisan IoT PoP IP is vital in enabling low-power designs and optimising for IoT applications through logic and memory architecture features to increase performance while reducing area and dynamic power. The silicon-proven physical IP works seamlessly with the Cortex-M33. And seamless integration with CoreLink SSE-200 IoT subsystem eases the challenge of implementing low-power designs.
 
Synopsys has announced broad tool support for designers creating IoT products using the Cortex-M23 and Cortex-M33 processors.  These span digital and custom mixed-signal SoC design, hardware and software integration and validation, prototyping, software bring-up, functional safety verification and software integrity.
 
Japanese semiconductor company Renesas Electronics, California-based RTOS firm Express Logic and German development tool firm IAR Systems are collaborating on the development of the next-generation Renesas Synergy IoT platform based on the ARM v8-M architecture. The platform aims to enable a wider number of developers to create secure, connected IoT devices by reducing the complexity of designing and deploying advanced security technologies in embedded systems.