Softbank expects ARM to
deliver 1 trillion IoT chips in next 20 years
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[February 27, 2017]
By Sophie Sassard
(Reuters) - Softbank's semiconductor subsidiary ARM will deliver
about a trillion chips designed for the so-called internet of things (IoT)
over the next 20 years, the chairman and CEO of the Japanese company
said on Monday.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress, the industry's largest annual
trade show, Softbank's Masayoshi Son said the number of "brain cells" in
chips would surpass the number of human brain neurons in 2018, opening
up a huge opportunity for smart and connected objects.
"This is why I spent $32 billion to acquire ARM," Son said, explaining
his 30-year-vision of a world where the artificial computer brain will
have 10,000 intelligence quotient (IQ) capabilities compared with 100
for the average human.
The internet of things is a term used to describe a network of devices
other than computers and smartphones that are connected to the internet
and can collect and exchange data, such as for controlling heating at
Jennifer Belissent, an analyst at Forrester Research <FORR.O> who
attended Son's keynote speech said the numbers he mentioned were very
"The greater connectivity and new artificial IQ capabilities offer so
much potential. It sets the scene for a Marvel movie. Now, the key
question is how to make that new technology available to everyone," she
"It's not the number of new devices that is relevant but what you make
out of it in terms of analytical capabilities."
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An ARM and SoftBank Group branded board is displayed at a news
conference in London, Britain July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall -
with a secular decline in average revenue per user (ARPU) and a smartphone
market only expected to grow by 5 percent in the coming years, Son stressed the
need for mobile operators to invest in new technology.
Son and Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund have created a technology
investment fund that could grow as large as $100 billion and become a kingpin in
the high-tech industry.
The Japanese businessman also predicted that by 2040 there would be an army of
10 billion smart robots making human lives easier. But these advances won't come
without risks and addressing cybersecurity issues will have to be part of the
equation, he said.
"There are about 500 ARM chips in a car today and none of them are secure," said
Son, predicting that 64 percent of cyber attacks will be through hacking
Last year, for example, hackers attacked websites such as Twitter, Paypal and
Spotify by targeting hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices from
millions of internet addresses in one the largest attacks ever seen.
(Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; editing by David Clarke)
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