Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

ARM CEO Simon Segars Eyes IoT 

A new network infrastructure is the reality of the future thanks to the proliferation of mobile devices and the coming rise of the Internet of Things, said ARM CEO Simon Segars in a video interview from TechCon ’13. The CEO of the insurgent processor company called out the need for a lower power, higher bandwidth architecture, with more ways for people to connect to the network. A transcription follows the video:

What do you think will be the next big change in the industry?

Well I think it’s hard to put your finger on one big transformational change because I think there’s so much going on in a number of fronts. We’re seeing a big expansion of mobile devices as costs come down, more and more people are able to afford mobile devices, and I think that is going to be a really interesting development in its own right. It’s going to create a lot of volume, but it’s also going to create a lot of side effects. The data that gets produced from that is going to put enormous strain on today’s networks, which means that they’re going to have to evolve. And that’s a big opportunity for smart, low power semiconductors.

Coupled with that, you’ve got the internet of things, which I think s going to be a really interesting development of new technologies which is going to allow mobile devices to connect to communicate with everything else that you interact with in your world.

How big is the enterprise infrastructure networking opportunity?

Well the enterprise infrastructure needs to evolve, fundamentally. We need to deploy higher bandwidth, we need to lower latency, we need to provide additional ways that more people can get connected to the network. What that’s going to require is a new network architecture. We’re going to move from big base stations to a much broader infrastructure where there are big cells, there are small cells, there’s Wi-Fi offload, there’s many more ways to get people connected to a network. All of that is going to require low power devices, highly integrated devices, and low cost devices. And of course that’s what the ARM partnership does.

What will revolutionize the mobile space?

I think that despite the fact that people seem hung-up about a lack of innovation going on, I think as the mobile device becomes the thing that you use to connect to everything else, you’ll see more innovation in the platform. You’ll see the need for more and more performance. You’ll see the integration of more and more sensors, which allow you to interact with other devices. And you’ll see new applications built on top of the mobile device, allowing you to visualize data and interact with everything else in your world in new and innovative ways. So I think there’s a lot of evolution that going to go on still in mobile.

How big is the Internet of Things market?

Well it’s very hard to quantify. Potentially there’s an opportunity there for tens of billions of devices. Very small sensors embedded in potentially every light bulb. Larger processors, still with an extreme emphasis on low power, integrated into wearable devices. Larger processor integrated into gateways that are going to collect all this data and amalgamate them before they pass it up into the cloud. So there are many opportunities for different ARM technologies, connecting all the way from the center, up to the server.

Why is energy efficiency still important?

Well I think there are two things that are going to be really important. First the technology – the technology needs to be very low power; it needs to be low cost. But then also the business model; making all of these technologies a reality requires a lot of collaboration. No one company can do everything, and it needs an ecosystem to ensure that the deployment of the Internet of Things actually becomes a reality. So it really is the culmination of our technology, and our partnership based business model.

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