IoT News Roundup

SoftBank to pay $32 billion for ARM; Open Trust Protocol, MQTT advance on standardization path; ForgeRock announces identity-management upgrades; Zebra's new access points are IoT-ready; Murata's transmitter gets ISA standard nod; Bluvision, Siemens collaborating to offer smart manufacturing systems.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jul 22, 2016

SoftBank Makes Major IoT Play
SoftBank, a Japanese provider of telecom and internet services, made waves in the Internet of Things industry on Monday by revealing its plans to acquire U.K.-based chip designer ARM Holdings for $32 billion. ARM's processor designs, licensed by many brands including Samsung and Qualcomm, are used in more than 95 percent of the world's smartphones, but ARM has been making a strong play for the IoT market—particularly smart-home products, connected cars and agriculture.

The SoftBank deal would hit two milestones: It would be SoftBank's biggest investment to date and the largest ever acquisition of a British company by an Asian buyer. Simon Segars, ARM's chief executive, told the Wall Street Journal that his company had not been looking for a buyer before being approached by the Japanese firm, but that SoftBank assured him the acquisition would not come with significant changes to ARM's culture. SoftBank said that by 2021, it would like to grow ARM's U.K. team of 1,600 employees (its global workforce is 4,000) by 100 percent.

Last year, SoftBank began selling a robot called Pepper to consumers and to businesses (who use the device to perform customer service at retail stores and banks). Pepper uses IBM's Watson machine-learning platform to help the robot understand the needs, interests and emotions of the humans with whom it interacts. This week, on the heels of the ARM news, SoftBank announced a partnership with Honda, through which it plans to integrate the software that powers Pepper into automotive control systems, with the aim of enabling autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles to monitor the speech patterns and possibly even the emotions of drivers, in order to provide driving assistance or emotional support.

And Yahoo Japan, a joint venture between SoftBank and tech company Yahoo, has contracted with a Finnish firm called IndoorAtlas, which sells an indoor location-tracking technology service, to provide indoor location-based mapping and marketing services to smartphone users in Japan.

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