Arm and Nordic Semiconductor advancing AI and ML at the edge

05 Feb, 2024
Tony Quested
Nordic Semiconductor is adopting Arm Total Access to help advance AI and Machine Learning at the edge – marking a new chapter in the 23-year partnership between the companies.
Paul Williamson, SVP, General Manager, IoT Line of Business at Arm. Image courtesy – Arm

The agreement will enable Nordic to access greater ML capabilities and computing resources for advanced IoT applications from a comprehensive suite of Arm technology, providing the main compute platform for its chips.

Superchip architect Arm is headquartered in Cambridge and quoted on the US technology exchange, NASDAQ, while Nordic has its HQ in Trondheim but operations in Hertfordshire in the East of England, the US, India, Europe and wider Scandinavia.

Paul Williamson, SVP, General Manager, IoT Line of Business at Arm, says: “This partnership is just the beginning. As the need for AI and machine learning at the edge continues to grow, Arm and Nordic will continue to work together to provide cutting-edge solutions for the future, building on a shared vision of delivering high-performance, low-power, secure solutions that enable rapid development through a vast ecosystem of tools, software, and support.

“Innovators, by definition, don’t dwell in the past, but it’s interesting to consider the contributions over the past two decades that Nordic Semiconductor has made to embedded development.

“Nordic has been a pioneer in the transition of the embedded market to incorporate greater connectivity capabilities that make embedded devices more useful.

“The company’s low power wireless connectivity solutions have helped to spark the growth of IoT and created a whole new set of capabilities for end nodes in applications as diverse as the smart home, connected health, and industrial automation.”

Nordic has been providing connected single-chip, general-purpose and advanced solutions for many years. Its products include low-power, multiprotocol wireless technologies such as Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE), Matter, Thread, Zigbee, and Wi-Fi, and kilometre-plus range cellular IoT solutions such as LTE-M/NB-IoT.

The company supplies application-specific solutions for audio, asset tracking, smart lighting, and more.

Williamson cites the obiWAN smart luminaire controller, which employs the nRF9160 SiP from Nordic that uses the Arm Cortex-M33 processor, and provides the LTE-M/NB-IoT connectivity to remotely control, monitor and meter the luminaire.

He adds: “As intelligence shifts from the cloud to the edge and endpoints, the need for more compute, security, and machine learning capability is only increasing. And Nordic innovators recognise that.

“That’s why Nordic has announced it’s adopting Arm Total Access. Our 23-year partnership has seen milestones such as more than 1 billion Arm Cortex-M based ultra-low power wireless SoCs ship in an eight-year span.”

Arm Total Access is an annual subscription that provides organisations with advanced access to multiple Arm products, including the latest Cortex CPUs, Ethos NPUs, and CoreLink System IP.

The subscription includes manufacture rights, as well as full support, training, and development tools. The benefits of Arm Total Access include improved developer access and the ability to experiment and design with the entire portfolio of Arm IP. These benefits allow organisations to move fast, experiment with ease, and design with confidence, Williamson says.

Williamson adds: “The Arm ecosystem has unparalleled resources and Nordic is dedicated to utilising its capabilities for the long-term development and deployment of future Nordic devices. Together, Arm and Nordic are enabling applications across markets, including IoT, consumer, and industrial.

“By using Arm’s technology, Nordic is able to offer customers a seamless and consistent development experience, as well as access to a rich ecosystem of tools, software, and support.

“This ecosystem includes Arm’s CMSIS DSP libraries – a suite of common signal processing functions for use on Cortex-M processor-based devices – Arm Keil MDK, a comprehensive development tool for embedded applications, and Arm’s Development Studio – a professional tool suite for debugging, optimising, and testing.”