ARM TechCon 2013: Segars Sees ARM as the Solution for Big Data, IoT

The room was packed for ARM CEO Simon Segars’s keynote speech on the second day of ARM TechCon 2013.  I heard that more than 6,500 people preregistered for the conference, which indicated high popularity of ARM solutions.

Simon Segars, ARM's CEO


He started with a discussion of innovation. Before jumping into the subject of mobile computing, he talked about how much is going on with cars.

Then he shared two statistics:

  • Mobile data will grow 12 times between now and 2018 (according to Forbes)
  • The worldwide mobile phone market has grown 7.3% in 2013, thanks to 1 billion smart phone shipments (via IDC)

Segars used three examples of mobile applications: a taxi reservation system, August (for remotely locking and unlocking the doors to your home), and Proteus Digital Health (a chip in a medicine tablet).

Where do all these data get processed? At various data centers. The amount of data processed at data centers will continue to skyrocket. Segars’s slide articulated this fact very well.

To summarize all these units:

  • Giga: 10 to the 9th power
  • Tera: 10 to the 12th power
  • Peta: 10 to the 15th power
  • Exa: 10 to the 18th power
  • Zeta: 10 to the 21th power
  • Yotta: 10 to the 24th power

It has only been a few years since I started to hear terms like tera and peta. Now we have exa and zeta. Will it soon be yotta, I wonder? Big Data implies that newly created data are not discarded but appended to the existing dataset (see my piece on the Lambda Architecture developed by Nathan Marz). This means the amount of data generated will increase rapidly, and the amount of data stored will grow astronomically.

Segars then shared ARM-sponsored research results on enterprise adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). The Economist conducted the research. The result, The Internet of Things Business Index, is available online.

One noteworthy fact from this report is about how companies are exploring or using IoT in business:

Internally (operations or processes)

Yes: 76%

No: 24%

Externally (products or services)

Yes: 74%

No: 26%

By 2016, 96% of companies will adopt IoT in some fashion.

Segars summarized the key takeaways in the following picture.

In short, he said that most enterprises have adopted or will adopt a solution for IoT. The ARM ecosystem plays a major role in that adoption.

He listed four areas of IoT applications: industrial, energy, transportation, and health care. I have been writing about the application of ICT technologies to the energy field, especially smart grid. Does implementing IoT in the energy field make the field greener? Putting sensors in every piece of equipment and device, each consuming power/energy, puts us at risk of a lot of e-waste later on. But the upside is that we can monitor each component and, if we aggregate and analyze the data effectively, improve operations efficiency and thus energy efficiency. This is expressed by the following formula:

  • (Plus side of implementing IoT in the energy field) – (extra energy and other problems of implementing IoT)

This is a hard formula to get a result for.

As the world population keeps increasing (close to 8 billion in 2020), we need to come up with solutions for transportation, energy consumption, health care, and education. Segars’s point was that ARM technologies and their ecosystem will provide the solutions.

In the case of energy, installing small sensors on each and every device and piece of equipment would enable visualization of device/equipment health and actual power demand and flow, along with more-accurate prediction analytics technologies, allowing the power grid to be operated much more efficiently and effectively. IoT will play a big role in renewable energy and power generation, and that will help distributed power generation. I think the above formula will yield a positive result.

Zen Kishimoto

About Zen Kishimoto

Seasoned research and technology executive with various functional expertise, including roles in analyst, writer, CTO, VP Engineering, general management, sales, and marketing in diverse high-tech and cleantech industry segments, including software, mobile embedded systems, Web technologies, and networking. Current focus and expertise are in the area of the IT application to energy, such as smart grid, green IT, building/data center energy efficiency, and cloud computing.

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