ARM, the chip architecture licensing firm, has acquired a Finish software company called Sensinode that has been building software for the internet of things. The price of the deal wasn’t disclosed, but the deal nets ARM 20 people who worked at the seven-year-old firm.
Sensinode is the company that helped build 6LoWPAN, a compression format for IPv6 that is designed for low-power, low-bandwidth wireless links. In short, it’s a variation of the internet protocol (IP) designed for the internet of things. The company has also built a few Constrained Application Protocols (CoAP) that will enable and support connected nodes talking to cloud-based servers.
Sensinode makes money licensing its software to chipmakers and device manufacturers and having them build it into the stack of protocols their chips support. So much like ARM, it’s licensing intellectual property (different IP) to chip vendors. Adam Gould, the CEO of Sensinode explains that while the wireless protocols that sensors might use to communicate could be one of any flavor of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee or something else, at higher levels the goal is to hide that fragmentation from the user and the developer.
This is where ARM’s mbed platform comes in. The mbed platform is pre-certified ARM-based hardware that now comes with Sensicore’s protocols and cloud support enabled. ARM has a similar relationship with other internet of things platforms such as Xively. I wonder if ownership of Sensicore will change the relationship ARM has with Xively or other platform partners?
Regardless, this level of support via Sensicore should make it easier to develop on ARM-based hardware and run those products and implementations of multiple ARM-based products in the cloud. That’s a good thing as developers and hardware manufacturers are the key to success in this market.
ARM and Sensinode have been working together for several months before this deal came to fruition. It represents another step ARM has taken in pulling together a strategy for the internet of things. ARM’s new CEO Simon Segars is clearly steering the firm toward connected devices, much like his predecessor opened up ARM to the data center and rode the smartphone revolution. I expect Segars to discuss his strategy more fully in a chat with me at our Mobilize conference October 16 and 17 in San Francisco.