Arm flexes IoT economics with solutions-led virtual hardware

Project Centauri ecosystem initiative will drive the standards and frameworks needed to grow serviceable markets and scale internet-of-things software innovation and product development

UK-based processor designer and software platform provider Arm has unveiled what it claims will be a unique approach to internet of things (IoT) design that will lay the foundation for a new IoT economy, enabling software and hardware co-design and accelerating product design by up to two years.

Leading the new offer is Arm Total Solutions for IoT, which is designed to simplify and modernise software development. Through what the company describes as a radical change in how systems are designed, it says it can accelerate time to market for developers, OEMs and service providers at all stages of the IoT value chain and a reduction in product design cycles by up to two years.

Arm Total Solutions for IoT is also designed around creating specific use-cases so that developers can focus on design and differentiation across diverse applications and devices. It is said to contain everything needed to simplify the design process and streamline product development, including hardware IP, software, machine learning (ML) models, advanced tools such as the new Virtual Hardware Targets, application-specific reference code and support from the world’s largest IoT ecosystem.

The first configuration of an Arm Total Solution for IoT is available now and addresses general-purpose compute and ML workload use-cases, including an ML-based keyword recognition example.

Built on the foundations of Arm Corstone – a validated and integrated subsystem that has reduced time to market for more than 150 designs from Arm silicon partners – Arm Total Solutions for IoT introduces Arm Virtual Hardware Targets for software developers, OEMs and service providers. The cloud-based offering delivers a virtual model of the Corstone subsystem to enable software development without the need for physical silicon.

It is said to bring modern, agile software development methodologies such as continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD), DevOps and MLOps to IoT and embedded platforms, without having to invest in complex hardware farms.

With accurate models of Arm-based SoCs providing mechanisms for simulating memory, peripherals and other core items, Arm says development and testing of software is now possible before silicon availability. This, it adds, ultimately reduces a typical product design cycle from an average of five years to as little as three years, allowing silicon partners to gain customer feedback for chips before tape out, while enabling the entire IoT value chain to easily develop and test code on the latest IP well ahead of silicon availability.

Arm Virtual Hardware is available on AWS Marketplace and Arm partners are already using it.

To enable industry players to leverage the software and services they invest in across the widest possible range of platforms, Arm is also introducing Project Centauri, which aims to achieve for the Arm Cortex-M software ecosystem what Project Cassini does for the Cortex-A ecosystem, by delivering a set of device and platform standards, as well as reference implementations for device boot, security and cloud integration.

Project Centauri application programming interfaces (APIs) include support for PSA Certified and Open-CMSIS-CDI, a standard cloud-to-device specification that sets out to minimise the effort required to enable different cloud solutions and real-time operating systems. Arm says this will reduce engineering costs, accelerate time to market, enable IoT deployments at scale and improve security across the Cortex-M ecosystem.

“Arm is uniquely positioned to fuel a new IoT economy that rivals the shape, speed and size of the smartphone industry’s app economy,” said Mohamed Awad, vice-president of IoT and embedded at Arm. “Arm Total Solutions for IoT changes the way we’re delivering key technology to the entire ecosystem and demonstrates our significant and ongoing investment in the software that will empower developers to innovate for global impact.”

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