With consultancy people Deloitte predicting that one billion IoT devices will be shipped this year, the race is well and truly on the be the vehicle of choice for connecting all the things. Chip people ARM and IBM stepped up their mutual game on this front today by joining forces to create a cloud-connected development kit bundle: the ARM mbed IoT Starter Kit—ethernet Edition.
Designed to provide an easy “out of the box” experience for developers with little to no embedded or web experience, the kit allows users to push data from the onboard sensors within minutes of tearing off wrapper. The two companies also hope to make it easier to test smart-innovations and other IoT prototypes.
Once the multi-functional mbed Application Shield is plugged into the Cortex-M4-powered board contained within the kit, the Ethernet port is linked to an internet-connected router and the USB port of a computer, you should be able to connect straight to IBM’s BlueMix cloud.
This kit can be modded and extended to “explore the device design space,” and finalised projects can be taken to production using the mbed SDK and HDK.
Along with the mbed Application Shield and Cortex-M4-powered board, the kit contains a 128×32 graphics LCD, five way joystick, two potentiometers, PWM connected speaker, a 3 axis +/1 1.5g accelerometer, and temperature sensor.
Whilst there are plenty of IoT starter kits kicking around (including the aesthetically pleasing WunderBar by relayr), IBM has a couple of vested reasons for promoting this solution with Arm. Number one, Chris Williams speculates, is to help promote the IBM BlueMix and NODE-Red systems, which aim to optimise developing apps for IoT sensor boards. Second, with ARM apparently planning to launch one OS “to-rule-them-all” later on this year, it makes sense to put down foundations for the company’s upcoming mbed OS.
For now, connectivity is limited to Ethernet, but ARM have commented that it may consider adding in cellular or W-Fi down the line. Although there isn’t an official release date (nor fixed price – other than “less than $200”), you can expect the starter kit to hit the market in the very near future.