By Paul Williamson, Vice President and General Manager, IoT Device IP Line of Business, Arm

News highlights
  • A new SoC solution for rich IoT nodes and gateways, built on PSA principles
  • Arm’s first heterogeneous SoC solution, combining the efficiency and real-time response of Cortex-M with performance of Cortex-A to enable complex processing and machine learning at the edge
  • Provides the secure SoC foundation for Microsoft Azure Sphere solution

Arm is the architecture of choice for the IoT, providing the computing power behind 125 billion chips to date. We have an ambitious vision of a trillion securely connected devices by 2035, but achieving this scale requires the industry to embrace the idea that security can no longer be an afterthought, across all parts of the connected device value chain. To ensure these increasingly diverse connected devices that communicate with each other are designed with a common secure foundation, Arm provided the industry with the Platform Security Architecture (PSA).

PSA builds on four key principles (device identity, trusted boot sequence, secure OTA updates and certificate-based authentication) and has already seen great momentum with dozens of industry leaders. Despite this, SoC design remains a complex process, which can take years to get right. It’s a problem that hinders the growth of IoT, where designers need to get products to market quickly and securely.

Today we are announcing a new IoT solution to accelerate the development of secure SoCs, which has been built on PSA principles. The Arm SDK-700 System Design Kit is a comprehensive SoC system framework for designing secure SoCs for rich IoT nodes, gateways, and embedded applications. This solution enables partners to build secure devices within a common software development environment, while enabling the diversity and differentiation for their business to thrive in new IoT applications.

Collaborating for success: Microsoft Azure Sphere

The SDK-700 supplies a secure SoC framework foundation for Microsoft Azure Sphere, announced at RSA this week. The flexibility of the solution enabled us to collaborate closely with Microsoft to ensure it meets the security requirements designated by Azure Sphere. This allows SoC designers to use SDK-700 to bring Azure Sphere SoCs to market quickly, leaving them to focus on differentiation because they can be confident that their design meets Microsoft guidelines.

Delivering best-fit processing and faster time-to-security

Having more powerful processors in IoT end nodes is becoming a requirement in many applications. We are seeing continued growth in voice activated assistants, connected cameras, computer vision and more, but these and other emerging use cases require the ability to easily integrate media processing abilities and manage demanding workloads. The SDK-700 delivers a flexible compute architecture combining the performance of Cortex-A with the high efficiency and real-time capability of Cortex-M processors. The Cortex-A processor enables a rich development environment such as Azure Sphere OS or Linux OS.

The SDK-700 incorporates a new flexible subsystem, based on PSA principles, designed to save time-to-security and reduce risk for SoC developers.

In addition to the cost and time-to-market benefits of a common development environment with little to no fragmentation risks, along with access to a huge ecosystem of software, OS and tools, including Trusted Firmware, the SDK-700 provides:

  • A flexible secure hardware foundation integrating subsystem, processors and key secure building blocks for an SoC meeting the requirements of Azure Sphere
  • A standardized programming interface for inter-processor communication
  • Pre-built security IP including firewalls, secure enclave and Arm TrustZone technology
  • The subsystem can be configured in many ways, allowing a trusted connection to any cloud
Devices must be born secure  

Connecting a trillion connected devices will require all parts of the value chain to embrace the guiding principle that security can no longer be optional or an afterthought when designing IoT SoCs and systems. But to do this, the industry needs to move faster and foster more trust. SDK-700 is one more way for the industry to move faster with a proven and validated approach for embedded systems design. Fostering more trust comes from efforts like PSA, Azure Sphere and ultimately and more industry leaders upholding the digital social contract to protect products over their design lifetime.