ARM throws weight behind Weightless

PSD Staff Written



ARM CTO Mike Muller

At the beginning of November, ARM made two moves that confirm it not only as a power architect, with a strong community bent, but also as a strategic power team player. With Cable & Wireless Worldwide, CSR, and Neul, it signed up as the promotor of a SIG (special interest group) to accelerate adoption of the Weightless standard, and it announced it is a major participator in the MIPS portfolio, contributing $167.5 million as its share. The Weightless group of 50 high-technology companies is focused on the development of a standard designed specifically for short to mid-range M2M (machine-to-machine) communication that will deliver as a royalty-free open standard and on is track for completion in early 2013. The formation of a SIG means impetus and better focus on the common set of standards delivering the key requirements, not just for M2M communications, but also to enable the IoT (Internet of Things) technology. The goals include a chipset cost of under $2, a range of up to 10 km, and a battery life of 10 years. ARM CTO Mike Muller said, "The Internet of Things requires new thinking about technology as data levels soar across the world, new ways need to be found to ensure wireless communications can be seamless. This includes the net wave of connectivity across smart grids, enhanced healthcare, smart cities, asset tracking sensor, and future applications as yet unimagined. With common standards, we can all benefit for intelligence embedded and connected everywhere, so the ARM team is excited about the huge potential this standard will unlock." As a lead member of Bridge Crossing LLC, a consortium of major technology companies affiliated with Allied Security Trust, ARM is in the agreement with MIPS to obtain the rights to its patent portfolio. The MIPS portfolio includes 580 patents and patent applications covering microprocessor and SoC design and other related technology fields. The consortium is to pay $350 million in cash to acquire rights to the portfolio, of which ARM will contribute its $167.5 million from cash reserves.?? Upon the transaction's completion, the portfolio will support continued innovation in SoC design and, equally important, will also remove any potential litigation risk presented by the MIPS patent portfolio with respect to the consortium members. The consortium will also make licenses to the patent portfolio available to other companies not within the consortium. "ARM is a leading participant in this consortium which presents an opportunity for companies to neutralise any potential infringement risk from these patents in the further development of advanced embedded technology," said ARM CEO Warren East. "Litigation is expensive and time-consuming and, in this case, a collective approach with other major industry players was the best way to remove that risk." ARM