ARM's John Ronco on IP for embedded

March 04, 2018 // By Peter Clarke
ARM has recently gone through a re-organization that has seen John Ronco promoted to the position of vice president and general manager of the Embedded and Auto at the IP licensor. eeNews Europe caught up with Ronco at Embedded World and asked him and about some trends in the IP licensing sector.

Ronco on diversification of IP

ARM is best known for its now lengthy roadmap of CPU processors made available as licensable cores. But it has also moved out into graphics processors, on-chip busses, wireless IP with machine learning cores set to follow soon. Is that process on-going in wireless and 5G?

In the embedded sector ARM has the Cordio range of Bluetooth and 802.15.4 supporting wireless IP covering both hardware and software and that has been added to with the Cordio-N hardware and software for Narrow-band IoT (see ARM buys startups for NB-IoT expertise). "But 2G/3G modems? It's not interesting to do that. The cellular modem market is established with established player and competitive. But NB-IoT is new and fits in with ARM's emphasis on security," said Ronco.

"That said, we are keen to produce CPUs that can be part of a modem. The Cortex-R8 is widely used in 4G modems. But we are not inclined to provide a modem software stack. We work out where we provide the most value," he added.

It is also the case that 2G is being shut down in some countries and the frequencies re-used and this is where NB-IoT starts to play, added Thomas Ensergueix, senior director for embedded and automotive.

Ronco added that just prior to the Embedded World show and Mobile World Congress ARM had announced an approach to an integrated subscriber identity module (iSIM) and operating system to support it.

SIM cards are best known as the physically manifested and secure identity at the heart of everyone's mobile phone. ARM is proposing the use of integrated iSIMs as a means to secure the identities of billions of IoT nodes. This will allow the integration of a microcontroller core, cellular modem and SIM identity into a single IoT SoC to reduce device costs.

The ARM Kigen OS provides a GSMA compliant software stack to to enable full integration of SIM functionality into IoT SoC designs an integration with mobile network operator and IoT platforms.

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