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ARM mulls RF IP for IoT

Posted: 11 Jan 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IoT? RF IP? licensing?

In an interview with EE Times during this week's CES, Chief Executive Warren East analysed whether ARM should consider offering RF IP modules to expedite the roll out of the "Internet of Things" (IoT). East also discusses his observations about the radical changes underway in the smart TV landscape. An excerpt of East's conversation with Junko Yoshida follows:

EE Times: What's the purpose of visiting CES for a CEO like you, besides meeting with customers? What are you looking for?

East: I'm not here to find market trends, because at ARM we already know them. I'm here at CES to see the evidence of what we already know, validate it and make additional connections that create opportunities for ARM.

EE Times: What evidence have you seen so far?

East: In the smart digital world, smart TVs are now turning into 56-inch [screen] smartphones. Greater functions for home automation and home security systems are now performed in software, not in hardware. Usability is becoming increasingly important. Automation is now becoming 'connected automation,' transitioning from 8bit to 32bit.

So I look for a range of real products at CES C which even someone like mother, for example, would understand as tangible products C and to see if there are encouraging signs. I am here also to see how really usable these products are.

EE Times: How usable are today's smart TVs, which you called 56-inch smartphones?

East: User experience is not satisfactory. While technology is in place, the usability is clunky. More evolution must happen to make it easier to use. With the explosion of ARM, what happened in the phone space is now applied to TVs. But today's TVs are still closed. When consumers want to go to the Internet sites, TVs are still trying to take you to their Internet site. That's not satisfactory. When things are too much hassle, consumers don't use them.

EE Times: What has to happen next?

East: We see it as an opportunity. CE companies are going to solve these problems. If they can't make their products easier to use, consumers will stop using their products.

EE Times: Will the Internet of Things (IoT) be the greatest thing to happen to companies like ARM?

East: I wouldn't necessarily call it that, because it is mobile phones that have just happenedwith the biggest scale in the largest volume. If trillions of IoT devices emerge, yes, that's great. But if IoT is something that starts to happen, it will unfold over a long span of 10 to 20 years. (See IoT for ARM is about MCUs sales, says CEO.)

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