Will ARM’s M0+ core catalyse the ‘internet of things’?

1 min read

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the 'internet of things'; a handy phrase which many commentators are reaching for in their attempts to explain the burgeoning world of connectivity.

But it's not a new concept; the phrase 'internet of things' was coined in the late 1990s. Then, the approach was based around rfid tags; today, it's being used as another way to describe M2M technology. Where a decade ago, we marvelled at the idea of an internet enabled vending machine which 'phoned home' when it needed restocking, we're now seeing the beginnings of intelligence being embedded everywhere. If Ericsson's predictions are realised, there will be 50billion connected devices by the end of this decade. Networking specialist Cisco is more bullish, claiming 1trillion connected devices by 2025. So what will these connected devices be and what will power their connectivity? The answer to the first question is pretty much anything. Some years ago, comedians used the internet enabled fridge as an easy target for their jokes, but white goods are but one potential application. Beyond that lies sensors which monitor buildings of all sorts, battery operated body sensors connected wirelessly to health monitoring equipment and so on. The answer to the second question is more interesting. The technology capable of being embedded in 'anything' needs to be small, low power and, above all, low cost. But it also needs suitable processing performance. ARM thinks it's hit all the buttons with the Cortex-M0+ core. Even at a time when energy efficiency is at the top of developer's agendas, ARM has cut power consumption to all time lows – and it's certainly possible that devices based on the M0+ core could run from harvested energy. Having spent most of its life addressing the mobile phone, ARM is now poised to be a major supplier of processing power to the world.