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EETE DECEMBER 2012

NEWS & TECHNOLOGY ARM CEO Warren East on IoT, Nokia, platforms, Europe’s future By Peter Clarke, Brian Fuller ARM CEO WARREn EAst said Internet of things applications into new sectors that require different expertise than its tradi- could double the company’s market size, he wouldn’t “bet tional domain of mobile phones. ARM IP is in servers, myriad against” nokia and his company is envisioning future technol- consumer products, automotive and is now headed towards the ogy evolution by building internal platforms. In a wide-ranging Internet of things. interview at ARM techCon, EE times asked East about how the company is adapting to better serve its increasing domain “the real answer is it is hard. It’s about execution, but it’s breadth that now ranges from servers, through mobile clients what we do,” East said. some things help such as the work with and down to the Internet of things (Iot). the Linaro organization to create open-source software to sit on East explained that the first microprocessors in cell phones ARM cores for mobile phones, which is now being replicated were 32-bit devices that were required to spend most their time in the server space, he said. “We’re re-using the ecosystem running the cellular communications proto- for servers that we have used for mobile col. the processor clock cycles that became “The Internet of Things phones,” said East. available when the phone was not being used for a call were put to uses running early for us is about the sale of ARM also has an internal platform ap- games on tiny displays. now we are used microcontrollers. We think it is proach in which the company effectively to multiple processor cores on an sOC, and mocks up what it imagines to be a particular multiple processor chips in a mobile phone; likely to follow a similar path type of system of the future and can do so connectivity chip. so East expects a move to to mobile phones.” or specialist server. ARM does this in consul-for different markets, such as a superphone a modem chip, an application processor, a multiple cores in MCUs. “that alone would tation with its semiconductor customers to double the market size for ARM,” he said. help it make decisions as to how to make performance-power trade-offs for its forthcoming cores and decisions on memory Toward 20 percent layout and connections. the market is running at about 8 billion MCUs shipped per year across all applications, said East. In 2010 the ARM architecture Insight, understanding had penetrated about 10 percent of the MCU market and in “We have created an ARM platform made of test chips and so 2011 about 15 percent, he said. “2012 is looking like another on. It’s not suitable for sale but it helps us understand memory good year. I think I would be disappointed if it wasn’t up around architecture, low power. It’s only by building real things that you 20 percent.” can understand that stuff,” said East. But will ARM expand its intellectual property remit into mixed-signal, wireless, MEMs and other IP, which are needed in It is understood that a particular mobile platform build is be- wireless sensor networks? Or will ARM stick to the digital focus ing planned for 2013 around first silicon of the Cortex-A57 and that has been its hallmark across its first 22 years of existence? Cortex-A53. shifting back to ARM’s just-announced endorse- “A number of technology pieces are needed. And thinking ment of the Weightless standard, East was asked whether the holistically is vital to make things take off. Maybe we need to proposal was broad enough to cover all or most eventualities get involved at the technology level. But for machine-to-machine communications. more important is to make standards hap- “We get behind standards pen,” said East, clearly referring back to the “We get behind standards where they where they can reduce market announcement that ARM was becoming a can reduce market friction but we are not leading member of the Weightless special friction but we are not afraid afraid to be agnostic”. East was also asked Interest Group. whether Weightless, originally drafted by the Weightless group is looking to drive to be agnostic.” Cambridge startup neul Ltd., and now standardization in the intelligent re-use of backed by ARM, CsR plc, neul and Cable & spectrum allocated to broadcast services to open up dedicated Wireless is too much focused in the U.K. radio channels for machine-to-machine communications and the Internet of things. “I did want Microsoft and Qualcomm to be part of the an- When specifically asked about mixed-signal IP, East said: nouncement,” said East. He added that talks on forming special “We’re not a mixed-signal company,” said East. On the other interest groups can take time and in this case it was decided it hand it must be remembered that ARM wasn’t a graphics com- was better to get something going rather than wait. pany until it bought Falanx Microsystems in June 2006. East said that if it turns that another group is formed, on Platform development different technology or geographic lines, then at least the IoT East was asked how ARM continues to remain focused on the universe would have been reduced from an enormous number design needs of its partners now that it is expanding rapidly of proprietary solutions to a just two sets of standards, which 12 Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2012 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE DECEMBER 2012
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