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IBM and ARM collaborate on data analytics and ARM sets up IoT accelerator in China

Steve Rogerson
September 9, 2015
 
IBM is expanding its IoT platform – called IBM IoT Foundation – through a collaboration with UK company ARM, providing out of the box connectivity with ARMMbed-enabled devices to analytics services. ARM has also established an IoT accelerator in China.
 
The IBM and ARMs fusion will allow huge quantities of data from devices such as industrial appliances, weather sensors and wearable monitoring devices to be gathered, analysed and acted upon.
 
IBM has also announced the first in a series of cloud-based, industry-specific IoT services with IoT for Electronics. The service will enable electronics manufacturers to gather data from individual sensors that can be combined with other data for real-time analysis.
 
The IBM IoT Foundation is a platform upon which a family of fully managed, cloud-hosted offerings on the SoftLayer infrastructure is built. It is said to make it simple to derive value from IoT devices, and includes:

  • Analytics tools capable of dealing with large quantities of fast-moving data;
  • Access to IBM Bluemix, a platform-as-a-service, that can handle the immense flow of data and provide anytime access for decision makers; and
  • Security systems capable of helping organisations protect IoT data as rigorously as they do their own confidential financial, IP and strategy information.
 
"Deploying IoT technology has to be easy, secure and scalable for it to feel like a natural extension of a company's business," said Krisztian Flautner, general manager for ARM’s IoT business. "By collaborating with IBM, we will deliver the first unified chip-to-cloud, enterprise-class IoT platform. This will empower companies of any size with a productivity tool that can readily transform how they operate and the services they can offer."
 
The integration between IBM and ARM will allow products powered by ARM Mbed-enabled chips to register automatically with the IBM IoT Foundation, and connect with IBM analytics services. This unifies the platforms at the point where information gathered from deployed sensors in any connected device is delivered to the cloud for analysis. The IoT connection also enables delivery of actionable events to control equipment or provide users with alerts or other information. For example, the triggering of an alarm message on a washing machine can ask the owner to confirm a breakdown engineer appointment if a fault is detected.
 
"Since 2008, IBM has helped thousands of customers embrace the internet of things, to help cities become smarter, hospitals to transform patient care and financial institutions to improve risk management," said Pat Toole, general manager at IBM. "The IoT is now at an inflection point and it needs the big data expertise of IBM and little data expertise of ARM to ensure it reaches its global potential."
 
This integration can help clients improve engagement, accelerate innovation and enhance operations through connected devices and analysis of the data. Custom hardware built around ARM's flexible chip technology and IBM's IoT services for predictive maintenance, better asset performance, operational risk management and managed continuous engineering can help provide organisations with enterprise-grade tools to help them build value from their IoT devices.
 
Original design manufacturers and OEMs – such as Ionics – are already seeing value in the IBM and ARM integration as it assimilates the IBM IoT Foundation at the chip architecture level.
 
"We're excited to work with IBM because we believe that an effective IoT solution should be built from the ground up – from chipset through services – and is by far the best choice to have a complete end-to-end solution," said Earl Qua, vice president of Ionics. "Working with IBM, we have tapped into our respective company's expertise to create a platform that is built and customised for the unique nature in which companies are utilising IoT."
 
Electronics manufacturers are already adopting IBM's cloud services to connect everything from dishwashers to smart TVs to pro audio equipment.
 
"By using IBM IoT services, we are able to real-time manage and control smart TV content in over 30 countries,” said Marc Harmsen, product manager for Philips Television at TP Vision. “This provides us the opportunity to continuously balance costs with increased customer experience. Lastly, we have eliminated the need to set up hardware within traditional IT infrastructure, allowing a drastic reduction in provisioning time."
 
Henry Chiarelli, executive vice president of Gibson, added: "At Gibson Innovations, design and quality lead the way. IBM's service capabilities – leveraging cloud, IoT and analytics – allow us to provide unique user experiences for connected devices. Additionally, the advanced analytics enables the development of new applications and services as well as device management and monitoring in a security-rich infrastructure. This is extremely valuable in maintaining and increasing loyalty among our customers."
 
Meanwhile, ARM has partnered with Beijing-based Thundersoft, a producer of smart device platforms, to establish the ARM Innovation Ecosystem Accelerator. The collaboration creates an IoT one-stop shop for start-ups and established OEMs, providing integrated hardware and software expertise as well as resources from the ARM ecosystem. The Beijing facility is the first of four planned and is aimed at further advancing China’s IoT industry.
 
The first office in Zhongguancun, Beijing, will offer an ARM Mbed IoT device platform innovation laboratory and a Cortex-based IoT system on chip design laboratory alongside joint facilities with ecosystem partners. The accelerator will provide workshops, training and design services for Mbed OS and Cortexprocessor-based development platforms. System integration services aligned to the needs of the local design environment will also be available to facilitate and speed up the path from prototype to production.
 
“China is the largest IoT market in the world and there is a compelling growth opportunity for local companies if we address today’s fragmented technology landscape,” said Allen Wu, president of ARM in greater China. “ARM is once again collaborating with a key partner to make the strongest commitment to China and the IoT industry. We are providing the ability for any company, big or small, to access integrated resources and expertise to simplify product development and accelerate time-to-market. The ARM Innovation Ecosystem Accelerator is a powerful and open platform containing the resources of the world’s biggest technology ecosystem that will enable local companies to innovate, grow and succeed in the smart and connected world.”
 
Hongfei Zhao, chairman of Thundersoft, added: “IoT is a new market full of opportunities in China, and most innovation will come from start-ups. The challenges that start-ups are facing include the lack of complete product experience, resources, and ecosystem support. Our joint efforts with ARM can provide not only software and hardware components, but also system-level product development services and the support of the entire ARM ecosystem. We can address the pain points of IoT applications and services developed by start-ups and OEMs to save cost and time, and increase their chances of success in the market.”