On July 1, Simon Segars is set to become the third CEO in the history of processor licensing vendor ARM Holdings plc.
Segars, a 22-year veteran of ARM who worked as an IC engineer on some of ARM's early processor core designs and has held many senior executive positions in engineering and sales, will take the reins of a firm that has been enjoying growing momentum.
But Segars' job is no walk in the park. Despite ARM's success in recent years, the company is fighting high-stakes battles on many fronts. The degree of the company's future health will depend largely on how well ARM can penetrate into computing at the performance end of the market—servers and supercomputers—and into the tiny, autonomous systems labeled the Internet of Things.
The following is a list of 10 items that Segars must execute on in order to keep ARM's trajectory up and to the right.
Penetrate the Internet of Things
One of the challenges for Segars' period of tenure at ARM will be how well ARM can penetrate into computing within the Internet of Things (IoT). Forecasters reckon IoT will be the next big volume market requiring tens of billions of chips--albeit with extreme requirements in terms of power and price.
With its low-power Cortex-M0 cores for microcontrollers, ARM is already in a good position and under Warren East the company had started to participate in some industry working groups on IoT.
However, in the past it has not been ARM's style to drive markets preferring to let its customers and its customers' customers do that. The larger and more significant ARM becomes the more others look to it to set an industry course and the highly fragmented IoT landscape would benefit from some structure and direction to help get some applications started.
Also sitting back and waiting for the market to develop is tantamount to complacency and could see ARM giving startups and rivals the time and space to outflank it. It is ARM's interest to keep pressing forward both in business and technology with developments such as near- and sub-threshold transistor operation supported by design and processing infrastructure to deliver the ultra-low power cores needed for wireless sensor networks.
The CityTouch system (below) from Philips automates the job of
controlling outdoor municipal lights. It is currently in use in Prague
and the London boroughs of Croydon and Lewisham.
Click on image to enlarge.