A million IoT device designers by 2020, says ARM director

There could be more than a million new embedded IoT device developers in the next five years and they will be relying on new types of design tools which will be easier to use.

This was the startling message from the IoT Design Conference and exhibition, which was organised by Electronics Weekly in London this week.

ARM's Gary Atkinson

Gary Atkinson, director emerging technologies, ARM

With internet-connected devices creating a large number of new applications for embedded electronics, it is predicted that there will be a whole new generation of developers involved in IoT design.

ARM director for emerging technologies Gary Atkinson told the conference that he believed there could be one and half new million IoT developers by 2020.

“IoT is opening up the world of embedded to new developers currently working in the mobile or web application space. We need to harness that creativity,” said Atkinson. He said 50% of mobile app developers expressed an interest in moving to IoT.

Making internet-connected devices secure from hacking will be vital and designing-in security features from the chip level upwards must be made simpler, said Atkinson.

“Our focus now is how to put security on a $1 microcontroller design with no security expertise,” said Atkinson.

Nick O’Leary, emerging technology specialist with IBM demonstrated how easy it can be to connect a device to a cloud‑based server and then upload data and analyse it. “The technology is at a point where people can build things and they don’t have to be engineers,” said O’Leary.

In another demonstration of how IoT could be changing the way wireless devices are being designed Martin Woolley, technical programme manager at the Bluetooth SIG, designed a Bluetooth profile for an IoT application while on the stage.

In the past this might have taken days of work by an experienced designer to complete. He did it in just 15 minutes.

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