ARM VP: We Will Not Hear People Talking Much about IoT over the Next Few Years, But We Will Live in the IoT Era

8 Oct

The rise of the IoT is making smart cities and smart homes possible. Tech News is glad to have the opportunity to talk with Zack Shelby, ARM VP. Shelby discusses how ARM is assisting developers to use the mBed platform and develop related IoT products.

Shelby has been involved in research of the IoT from a very early stage. He is also involved with IETF, OMA and Zig Bee. He made great contributions to 6LoWPAN, routers, Internet service and information security standards. He is also viewed as the pioneer of 6LoWPAN and CoAP communications agreement on low energy consumption IP and technology. Shelby founded Sensinode before joining ARM.

IoT will flourish in the near future

Everyone knows the advantages of ARM’s mobile device chip, that is low energy consumption. What has ARM done to prepare itself for the IoT era? Shelby says that the company shipped 40 million devices in 2014 including the Cortex A, R and M chips. Among those, Cortex M series chips are designed specifically for IoT usage. In addition to chips, ARM also launched the mBed paltform to provide free tools and communications platforms for developers.

Just as the rise of the Internet created many job opportuniites, Shelby believes the IoT will do the same. What will be different will be the types of jobs: They will require different skill sets than what workers have today. Preparation for this new era will be essential, he says.

Children’s education is an investment in their future career. For instance, Britain has created a Micro Bit computer to be used for children’s education. The device should help tackle the fact children are leaving school knowing how to use computers but not how to program them.

The information security protection for IoT will be increasingly comprehensive and standardized

Technologies currently used for IoT communication include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth variations, mobile networks, white space radio, and different proprietary wireless standards. Any of these technologies could eventually become dominant. For now, the many competing technologies limits the ability of connected devices to interact with each other. And how can those devices be kept secure? It will be essentital to develop IoT standards, Shelby says. A security breach in a smartphone results in a personal loss of identity and assets but compromised IoT systems could lead to disabled hospitals, flooded fields and other disasters. Shelby says that by 2016, the IoT will be secure and it will be safe to use all applications.

IoT should also be able to do updates without having to call back devices. For example, Tesla can update their cars over the air but Jeep has to call back each car to update the firmware. In the future, IoT should be able to do updates over the air and ensure security.

ARM is like a new venture and very engineer oriented.

Shelby and some others founded Sensinode together and focused on IoT technology. After a while, it was acquired by ARM. ARM is ranked by Forbes as a top 5 creative company. Shelby said ARM is still a company with great vision and it started IoT development 10 years ago. Beck then, they already knew it would be a long term investment and couldn’t earn a return in the short run. From his experience with Sensinode, Shelby learned that small companies should work together. And although ARM is a big global firm, it cannot do everything alone and so still must act in some ways like a small company and find partners with which to cooperate.

Sensinode began as a small company with about 20 employees and grew to a big firm with hundreds of staff members. Even at that early stage of his career, Shelby knew he wanted to work to define the IoT, even if he wasn’t sure how to do it or what technology to use. And now, after joining ARM, he can see the future of the IoT much more clearly. One thing Shelby likes about ARM is that working there, it’s easier to get people to listen to you, especially compared to being at a small company.

Talking about the difference between ARM and Sensinode, he thinks ARM is still a very engineer oriented company like Sensinode. Shelby really likes that aspect of ARM: It feels to him almost like working in a startup.

Once the IoT is mature, in the next two to four years, Shelby says ARM will offer complete information security protection and cloud solutions, given its strengths in mobile chips. When he began a new venture, Shelby’s dream was that the IoT would connect everything and it shouldn’t be long before that dream comes true.