Chip designer ARM buys internet of things software firm

ARM has bought the Finnish software firm Sensinode in an attempt to bolster its ability to capitalise on the growing Internet of Things services market.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

UK chip designer ARM is attempting to make its hardware a more attractive platform for developers building internet of things services by purchasing European firm Sensinode.

Sensinode is a Finnish firm that provides software to allow embedded computers and sensors to communicate over low-power wireless networks using internet technologies, such as the IPv6 communications protocol. The firm has been instrumental in developing 6LoWPAN and CoAP standards that make it easier for low-power devices to communicate over the internet.

Internet of things (IoT) services are built on data collected by networked sensors embedded in everyday objects. Data collected by these sensors is aggregated and processed by computers distributed across private networks and the internet, and the resulting information used as the basis for these new services.

By purchasing Sensinode, ARM said it is hoping to make it easier for developers and designers to build IoT products and services, and complement existing initiatives such as its development platform mbed.

"Sensinode is a pioneer in software for low cost low power internet-connected devices and has been a key contributor to open standards for IoT. By making Sensinode expertise and technology accessible to the ARM Partnership and through the ARM mbed project we will enable rapid deployment of thousands of new and innovative IoT applications," John Cornish, executive vice president and general manager of the system design division at ARM, said in a statement.

ARM wants to sell its Cortex-M range of embedded processors into the IoT market, which is expected to grow rapidly, with analysts IMS Research forecasting there will be 30 billion connected devices by 2020.

Two of Sensinode's main products are NanoStack, a software stack for allowing chips to communicate over low-power IPv6 networks, and NanoRouter, a network edge router that enables routing between low-power wireless networks and backbone IPv4/IPv6 networks.

The products, working alongside ARM's Cortex-M range, will offer the basis for new applications including wireless sensors, smart connected appliances, home health applications, and wearable electronics, according to ARM.

In July ARM revealed it was transforming part of its headquarters in Cambridge into a hub for IoT technologies. The project, backed by £800,000 of government money, will see the firm deploy network technology and more than 600 connected sensors throughout the site.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

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