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Sprint and ARM Collaborate to Drive Innovation around Internet of Things

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November 16, 2012

Sprint and ARM Collaborate to Drive Innovation around Internet of Things

By Tony Rizzo, TMCnet Senior Editor

Sprint (News - Alert), which has over the last year made an effort to play a visible – and, it hopes, a more significant – role in the machine to machine (M2M) market, has put its “Internet of Things head” together with the one belonging to ARM (News - Alert), the UK-based semiconductor design vendor, to deliver a new rapid prototyping capability for the Internet of Things (IoT)/M2M market. ARM made this effort official today by announcing the availability of this rapid prototyping developer kit.

The new platform integrates Sprint’s Mobile Broadband USB 598U Modem (which is made by Sierra Wireless (News - Alert)) along with mbed’s microcontroller development platform, which is based on the ARM Cortex-M3 processor. Mbed provides a platform for microcontroller hardware, tools, libraries and resources designed to enable rapid prototyping with microcontrollers. The mbed project, if you don’t know, was started by two ARM employees, and later became an official research project within ARM. It is now run and maintained by ARM to help MCU Partners provide their customers with the best way to prototype designs using their microcontrollers.

The IoT market is set to grow exponentially, with Gartner’s (News - Alert) general estimate for the market – projected to be 50 billion connected devices by 2020 – now the most often quoted growth number. The majority of these devices will be driven by wirelessly connected sensors, and require the support of a large community of developers from a very diverse set of industries. The devices and sensors will be used across a wide range of key industry verticals, including automotive/telematics, transportation, healthcare, utilities, retail, and energy.

ARM notes that historically the creation of connected devices for such applications has involved complicated development on 8-bit microcontroller architectures. Complexity grows even greater when it involves integrating a modem.

The new rapid prototyping developer kit from Sprint and ARM seeks to overcome these challenges by providing a simple C++ development environment that is executed on a full 32-bit high-performance microcontroller. Open source drivers will be pre-integrated for the Sprint Mobile Broadband USB 598U Modem, which will allow developers to focus on their particular projects with the reassurance of a fully integrated, functional modem.

"Early adopters, entrepreneurs and innovation hubs, such as the Maker ecosystem, are increasingly experimenting with solutions focused on the Internet of Things. Over the next four to five years this type of prototyping will facilitate an increase in the commercialization of solutions for this exciting market,” notes Vincent Korstanje, vice president, segment marketing for ARM. "By enabling rapid prototyping for the Internet of Things, ARM and Sprint are able to support the genesis of this ecosystem with easy, affordable access to the latest low-power technology and high bandwidth connectivity.”

Sprint, meanwhile, has optimized the Sprint Mobile Broadband USB 598U Modem to take advantage of the Sprint 3G CDMA EVDO Rev. A network – which is important for IoT/M2M to truly function as intended. The energy-efficient Cortex-M3 processor provides a scalable high-performance 32-bit microcontroller required to enable easy development with standard programming using C++.

"Sprint is proud to apply our extensive open network experience to the deployment of this powerful development platform from ARM. The combination of ARM and Sprint technologies introduces a flexible, sophisticated and easy-to-use capability that we expect to be a potent catalyst for developer activity across many areas of opportunity,” adds Wayne Ward, vice president-Emerging Solutions at Sprint.

We’ve previously also noted the need for rapid application development within the M2M/IoT market. ThingWorx, for example, is an M2M vendor doing excellent work on this front. The new ARM and Sprint effort adds to this, and will allow solutions to quickly emerge on a wide variety of fronts, which in turn will be fed through applications developed through platforms such as ThingWorx.

We can anticipate many more such IoT/M2M collaborations over the next year.

Want to learn more about M2M technologies? Don’t miss the M2M Evolution Conference, collocated with ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at M2M Evolution Conference. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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