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Arm TechCon 2017 - Embedded, IoT, Networking and no Server focus

Last month was Arm TechCon, the annual developer conference showcasing offerings from Arm and its partners. Arm laid out its vision and strategy to achieving even greater integration in its processors and circumventing the slowing Moore’s law. As always, there was a bevy of new product announcements but overall, the show seemed to lack the energy of the last few years and especially the excitement of last year after Arm was acquired by Softbank. For example, there was no big vision keynote like the one last year from Masayoshi Son (Chairman & CEO of Softbank) who had talked of IoT enabling a Cambrian Explosion (which enabled thousands of new species on Earth), leading to 1 trillion IoT devices in 20 years.

Considering the wide range of server use cases by Arm architecture, the sessions were organized into following tracks:

  • Embedded software development
  • Automotive, industrial and functional safety
  • Computer vision, machine learning, and graphics
  • High-efficiency systems
  • Internet of things
  • Networking & servers
  • Silicon design
  • Trust & security
  • Mbed connect

Thinking Beyond Devices

Remi Pottier (Arm) had an interesting presentation on IoT being beyond devices and enabling new business models enabled by IoT. The talk was about the role of various players in the value chain including those not very often talked about like consulting/integration services, DevOps, data center management, and monitoring tools.

In another interesting session, Kinjal Dave (Arm) talked about heterogeneous multiprocessing for IoT. The heterogeneous system combines different compute elements e.g. Arm BIG.LITTLE combining Cortex-A, Cortex-R or Cortex-M cores to deliver right-sized processing.

In his session on accelerating intelligence at the edge, Govind Wathan (Arm) discussed edge computing requirements like real-time/latency, reliability, bandwidth/cost, security, and privacy. He cited statistics on IoT Gateway use in IoT projects increasing from 60% today to 90% by 2020.

Continuing the theme of edge computing, in my session, I talked about using enterprise tooling to build an intelligent IoT Gateway. For those interested in building the intelligent IoT Gateway, I walked through the steps needed to provision the Gateway using Red Hat Ansible. It was based on the Gateway demo I’d created earlier this year on using enterprise tooling to build Arm powered gateway. The details of this demo are here.

Arm Server Vendors - Missing in Action?

Unlike the past few Arm TechCons, there wasn’t much talk of Arm-powered servers. Neither were there booths from the major Arm-powered server silicon vendors at the expo: Cavium, Qualcomm, etc. These vendors, however, presented several sessions during the conference. At the Red Hat booth, we showed the demo of the intelligent IoT gateway based on X-Gene2 -powered 64-bit SoC running Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Red Hat JBoss Middleware to handle message transport and data integration.

Perhaps, Arm TechCon has become a tad bit boring, but boring is good because it means that technology is becoming more widely adopted as it matures. A key takeaway was how Arm continues to deliver to the roadmap in Embedded, IoT, Networking, and other segments to meet expectations of partners, customers, and the ecosystem.

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Last updated: November 15, 2017