Intel, Arm Team Up To Simplify Secure IoT Device Onboarding


Intel wants to make it easier to securely onboard Internet of Things devices, so much so that it has teamed up with semiconductor rival Arm to provide more device flexibility.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company announced on Monday that it has expanded its Intel Secure Device Onboard solution to Arm-based devices, expanding the flexibility of IoT practitioners to automatically provision devices to the cloud platform of their choosing.

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“Intel and Arm are simplifying one of IoT’s most complex and challenging barriers with regard to streamlining the manufacturing and security deployment workflows for IoT," Michela Menting, director ABI Research, said in a statement. "This is an ROI win for the customer, who will be able to deploy both Intel- and Arm-based devices at a lower cost and with less friction between IT and OT while at the same time retaining flexibility over their data and cloud partner choice until the deployment phase."

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Intel Secure Device Onboarding launched last fall to help customers and partners install IoT devices more quickly and efficiently while also reducing the time it takes device manufacturers to pre-configure.

Lorie Wigle, vice president of Intel's Software and Services Group, wrote in a company blog post that Intel's IoT device method can speed up the typical process for more than 20 minutes to a matter of seconds. It also allows customers and partners "to choose their onboarding systems of record without being locked into a single cloud provider’s provisioning method or a single device architecture."

"Intel’s collaboration with Arm allows us to progress a joint vision of 'any device, any cloud' to span multiple device architectures," she said. "As we enter this accelerated growth phase for IoT, we will continue to collaborate with industry partners to provide customers the protections they need."

Scott Udell, vice president of IoT solutions and innovation at Boston-based Cloud Technology Partners, a value-added reseller owned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, told CRN that the issue of onboarding IoT devices at scale is clearly important enough for two major competitors to work together on the issue.

"For any broad-based IoT device project, provisioning is clearly a concern, especially when solutions get to scale," he said. In Intel's Monday announcement, the company cited an Arm report stating that the number of deployed IoT devices in the world will grow to 1 trillion by the year 2035.

If it takes 20 minutes to provision one device, Udell said, that could have major implications for how long a large-scale project takes to complete. He added that it's important to get provisioning right because it determines things like which customer and location the device is set to, as well as its purpose and which addresses it can accept firmware updates from, which comes with implications for security and data protection.

"If you're going to be move towards hundreds, thousands or even millions of devices, you need a pretty good way to provision them and allocate them to make sure they're clearly assigned to the right account," Udell said.