IoT platform reaches for end-to-end connectivity and services

LONDON — Arm Holdings confirmed the acquisition of Treasure Data, saying it would become part of a new connectivity and data management software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that it will offer within the next six to nine months.

While Arm would not confirm published reports that the deal was worth $600 million, Joyce Kim, Arm’s chief marketing officer, said, “I can confirm it’s the largest cash deal we have ever done.”

The IoT has become many things to many people, but one thing is clear: It’s a fragmented market for devices, platforms, connectivity, and data analytics. While many readers might be focused on device development (Arm’s heritage), at a business level, there’s really no point of having a connected device unless you can do something with the data and act upon it. The value in all of the talk that we hear about smart cities, smart energy, and smart manufacturing (and Industrie 4.0) is not just about integrating chips and sensors at end points but more about doing something useful with the measurements and data that result.

Challenges come in many forms, including a wide variety of device classes (everything from an ultra-constrained sensor to a large edge gateway), multiple connectivity protocols (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 4G, etc.), multiple deployment options (on-premise or over cloud), and a vast volume of raw data that needs to be processed to deliver real value.

In addition, the challenge for the device-level players is in creating a viable business when the cost of silicon is continually driven down and, therefore, margins become tiny. So the ability to offer more than just the silicon intellectual property puts companies like Arm in a position to deliver better profitability.

Earlier this year, in June, the CEO of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, Rajeev Misra, said in London, “IoT requires an entire stack, not just the chip.” And this is certainly the path that Arm has taken with its acquisition of Stream Technologies and now Treasure Data, buying in the connectivity and the data management. In a briefing, the company didn’t rule out the possible addition of a data analytics company, too.

Putting this all together, Arm has launched its “Pelion” IoT platform, claiming to be the industry’s first end-to-end IoT connectivity, device, and data management platform and helping companies deploy and manage IoT at scale. It combines the technologies from Treasure Data, Stream Technologies, and Arm Mbed cloud, providing businesses with a single-pane view of all of their IoT devices and data.

The Pelion IoT platform provides device management, enabling secure IoT device provisioning, identity, and access management and updates for any system setup; connectivity management, with support for a range of wireless connectivity standards for any device, region, or use case, including enablement of eSIM secure identification; and data management, enabling analysis of data from individual devices to enterprise-wide big data deployments, including third-party data. The platform integrates with Arm’s IoT device IP, Kigen, Mbed device OS, and platform security architecture (PSA).

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