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October 2, 2014

How ARM’s new operating system is connecting the Internet of Things

Mbed aims to solve the interoperability problem.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

ARM is looking to make devices more intelligent after releasing free software that will allow everyday objects to communicate with each other and interpret information over the Internet.

Known as the Internet of Things (IoT), the software is designed to make it easier for manufacturers to develop connected products, and for cloud providers to analyse the data that’s collected.

The British chip designer introduced the mbed operating system for chips based on ARM’s Cortex-M designs that is said to use as little battery and memory as possible.

The operating system will also support several connectivity standards including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, LTE and CDMA cellular technologies, and manufacturers will have access to it before the end of the year.

ARM, which started building the platform in 2006, claims the software is an attempt to solve the ‘interoperability’ problem.

"Today’s IoT devices largely exist in isolation and it has been impossible to realise a truly interconnected world where devices are interoperable with many different cloud services," Krisztian Flautner, head of ARM’s IoT business, said.

"The ARM mbed IoT Device Platform will solve this by providing a common communication and management toolkit that can be used for a wide variety of purposes. We expect mbed to significantly speed up the large scale deployment of a new breed of both IoT devices and cloud services."

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That said, the code will not work on devices that use Intel’s Quark and Atom chips or Imagination’s Mips processors.

ARM also plans to sell a piece of back-end software, called the mbed Device Service, that companies will use to collect data fromIoT devices and make the data available again for use by other services.

The release comes a week after ARM announced it was releasing a Cortex M7 processor that would run devices from smart fridges and smart watches.

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