Qualcomm is pouncing on the growing demand for edge computing by introducing an edge software that is designed to help Internet of Things (IoT) customers provision, connect, and manage all of their IoT devices through their cloud platforms.
But why is a chipset maker talking about software? Qualcomm said its wireless edge software will initially be available on several Qualcomm chipsets and exposed through new APIs. It will also be available on select Snapdragon platforms in the future.
The first chipsets with Qualcomm’s wireless edge services will be available in the second half of this year.
Speaking at a recent Qualcomm media event in San Diego, Serge Willenegger, SVP and GM of 4G/5G and the Industrial IoT, said that Qualcomm believes it can help increase growth in the IoT area by providing an edge solution that is incorporated into the chipset hardware. But the company also said it will support a chipset-as-a-service business model in which certain chipset capabilities are provided through services.
The three areas that Qualcomm is specifically looking to improve include IoT device security, lifecycle management of IoT devices, and closer collaboration between cloud providers and edge devices. “Trust is essential to IoT,” Willenegger said. “And we can inject the root of trust down into the silicon,” he added.
The company said it designed its wireless edge services to help enterprises and industrial users deploy edge devices at scale and also more efficiently manage those devices through plug-and-play onboarding, and over-the-air feature activation.
Partners, Not Competitors
Qualcomm said it doesn’t consider other IoT device management companies to be competitors. Instead, it envisions being interoperable with different device management players. “This is engineered to support all those capabilities,” Willenegger said.
And it will also work across different types of IoT networks including narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and LTE CAT-M. And it will work with different cloud platforms and different operators. “A device might show up in an Microsoft Azure environment or Alibaba or on different operators. We can prepare for all those scenarios and install profiles so that the partners can track it through the device management,” he said.