Arm’s new ‘Virtual Hardware’ tool enables IoT device developers to work in the cloud

In the context: The modern world is rapidly becoming more interconnected than ever, thanks in large part to the growing popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices; from smart home appliances to connected CCTV cameras and medical equipment. Now, chip giant Arm wants to accelerate this growth even further by offering new tools to companies looking to streamline their product development process.

Hand tools come in the form of “End-to-end solutions for the Internet of Things“What the company calls a” full stack “solution aimed at dramatically accelerating development time. With Total Solutions, Arm hopes that IoT device manufacturers will see improved ROI and efficiency across the board.

So what are these tools and how will they help developers? One of Arm’s core business with its new IoT advancement is what it calls “virtual hardware.” Virtual hardware enables IoT software developers to write code for a product chip without waiting for the chip to be manufactured and installed on a physical hardware farm. As Arm notes, the average product development lifecycle is typically around five years, with a significant portion of that time devoted to chip making.

Thanks to Virtual Hardware, Arm hopes to cut that figure by almost half, cutting development time to three years. Virtual Hardware can mimic “memory, peripherals, and more,” so software development teams will not be overlooked. It can handle both general computational workloads and machine learning workloads running on the Arm Cortex-M55 processor and Arm Ethos-U55 microNPU. You can see some of the virtual hardware configurations above.

In other words, the availability of silicon can no longer be the bottleneck in the evolution of the Internet of Things – at least in theory. We just have to wait and see how revolutionary (or not) virtual hardware is in practice, but the idea is smart.

Arm virtual hardware is now available for developer testing as public beta on the AWS Marketplace, but pricing will vary based on AWS tier and company needs. If you are making decisions for an IoT device company, AWS is currently offering 100 hours EC2 CPU credits for the first 1000 “qualified users”.

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