But I ran into one developer who thinks ARM — which licenses microprocessor architectures that compete with Intel chips — is doing more to advance the IoT cause.
“ARM in the last two years has done more to drive the [IoT] industry than Intel,” Frank Ploumen, director of machine-to-machine platforms at Alcatel-Lucent, told me. “I don’t want to say bad things about Intel [being a software guy, Ploumen works with Intel a lot] but I’ve got to give some credit to ARM. What they’ve done for developers and what they’ve done in open source is impressive.”
Finding Ploumen wasn’t hard. ARM has made a tradition out of hosting a reception for media and analysts on the eve of IDF. On Monday night, I made an after-hours trek to the Hungry Bear, a San Francisco tapas-and-microbrews spot just blocks away from IDF, to meet some ARM partners and customers.
The ARM architecture, found in chips by the likes of Broadcom, Cavium, and Freescale, found its calling in small devices such as smartphones, so it’s no surprise that ARM thinks it has a leg up in IoT. Displays at the reception included smart watches (the photo above is Laurent Le Pen from smart-jewelry startup Omate) and Oculus headgear.
In terms of ARM’s contributions, Ploumen was talking about things like mbed, ARM’s open source platform and operating system, launched last year. ARM also worked with Google to create Thread, a mesh-based wireless networking protocol targeting IoT.
To Ploumen, the key is that ARM is opening up these efforts, trying to sow some commonality into the fragmented IoT world. “That’s the attraction of working with ARM,” he said.
Alcatel-Lucent’s interest here was through Motive, a startup it acquired in 2008 for $68 million. Motive was in the business of device management, offering software to remotely troubleshoot and upgrade devices such as set top boxes and residential gateways.
With IoT security becoming a hot topic, Motive has found another calling: assuring a trusted connection. If Motive’s software is in play, an operator knows that when the user and end device interact, neither side is being spoofed.
Ploumen’s opinion about ARM is just one among many, but it’s a reminder that Intel doesn’t dominate IoT just yet.