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February 21, 2017updated 22 Feb 2017 4:43pm

ARM reveals IoT strategy with two acquisitions

NB-IoT market expected to grow from 1 million connections in 2017 to over 141 million connections by 2021.

By James Nunns

ARM has taken time out of its busy schedule to add some meat to the bones of its Internet of Things strategy.

The chip maker’s wireless business GM Paul Williamson took to the company’s blog to talk about its efforts regarding new applications and to reveal its NB-IoT ARM-based chips.

The chips are NarrowBand-IoT, which is a mobile standard for providing a low-power, wide-area connectivity standard for machine to machine (M2M) applications. The promise of which is to help unlock long range IoT connectivity at scale.

That should be possible because the tech means that mobile network operators only need to upgrade their existing LTE systems in order to make it work.

Williamson said: “The standard will be cost-efficient to adopt, it will allow data to be sent over hundreds of miles at ultra-low-power, and it opens up the chance to tie in market-leading chip security technologies from ARM.

To further this strategy, ARM has acquired Mistbase and NextG-Com, for “specialist engineering expertise in software and hardware IP that meets the new NB-IoT standard.”

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NextG-Com is a London based company that offers a complete layer two and three software stack for NB-IoT. Mistbase is based in Lund, Sweden, and provides a complete NB-IoT physical layer implementation solution.

Read more: SoftBank, ARM promise ‘happiness and joy’ after closing £24bn acquisition

According to analysts cited by ARM, IHS Markit, the potential for this market is a big one: “The deployment of NB-IoT technology in 2017 represents an inflection point in the LPWAN market as it addresses pent up demand for an open standards based solution that service providers can deploy widely at scale. As a result, IHS Markit forecasts that NB-IoT will grow from 1 million connections in 2017 to over 141 million connections by 2021, an astounding 240 percent compounded annual growth rate, making it the fastest growing LPWAN technology we track.

NarrowBand-IoT was only approved as a standard in the summer of 2016, but the hope is that it will play a significant role in helping to connect the billions of devices making up the Internet of Things.

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