• United States
Jon Gold
Senior Writer

Arm flexes flexibility with Pelion IoT announcement

News Analysis
Aug 03, 20183 mins
Internet of Things

Arm's new Pelion IoT Platform software handles management of devices, data and connectivity for corporate internet of things deployments.

mother board computer chip harddrive circuitry nodes
Credit: Getty Images

The pervasiveness of Arm-based silicon – it’s everywhere from cars to signage to smartphones to supercomputers – makes the company a natural fit for an internet of things platform like the one it just announced.

The Pelion IoT Platform’s main selling point is its universality – the company boasts that it’s able to handle “any device, any data, any cloud” – in a marketplace overflowing with vertical-specific solutions. (GE and Siemens make industrial IoT products, other companies make platforms designed specifically to work well in healthcare, fleet management, or agricultural environments, and so on.)

Pelion can sit on an edge device, in a data center, or even in an endpoint, integrating devices into a working ecosystem, although the focus is on the edge.

Part of what makes Pelion possible is Arm’s acquisition of Treasure Data, makers of an enterprise data management product designed to centralize data from any number of different silos under one roof. Arm said that Treasure Data’s ability to synthesize a wide range of different types of data input into a coherent whole is a big part of the technology underlying Pelion. Another recent acquisition, that of connectivity-management firm Stream Technologies, enablees Pelion to automatically onboard and provision IoT endpoints in a seamless way over major wireless protocols

Pelion is the result of integrating the two acquired technologies into Arm’s existing Mbed IoT Device Management Platform.

IDC vice president of network infrastructure research Rohit Mehra said that it’s critical for IoT deployments to address the basics, like connectivity management, on-boarding and provisioning, and that well-organized platforms can make those elements into more than the sum of their parts.

“Adding requisite analytics and visibility attributes, not just from a network management standpoint, but from a broader end-to-end data services and management perspective can lead to a holistic IoT architecture,” he said.

Arm says Pelion could, for example, process data streams being sent over a 4G connection from a distant site while also working with Wi-Fi-transmitted data from multiple devices in a central facility. This ability to bridge the connectivity gap between licensed and unlicensed is also a potentially strong value-add, according to Mehra, and one that broadens the platform’s appeal considerably.

“[Pelion] … will likely offer opportunities across a spectrum of use cases and vertical deployments leveraging cellular and non-cellular connectivity, management and orchestration,” he said.

The IoT market is beyond crowded, as every major technology vendor rushes an IoT platform of some description out the door and a numberless host of companies not traditionally thought of for their tech spy the opportunity that IoT offers. Arm hasn’t exactly turned the IoT world on its head, but it’s among the stronger plays in the enterprise IoT marketplace currently. It’s not an exaggeration to think that Arm could become an important player in the future, but it’s also important to realize that the shape of the IoT market is still fluid, and that it could take several years before that shape becomes better defined.