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What is mbed?

ARM® mbed™ IoT Device Platform, simply, is for writing software that controls hardware that can connect to the cloud - it is an easy way of creating embedded connected solutions.

What is mbed?

ARM mbed is the idea that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a collaboration between the people who make things, the people who use things and the people who make the services all these things use. ARM created a solution to help lead sustainable growth within the IoT and named it mbed.

mbed has a large community of developers, an ecosystem of open source IoT code, a network of hardware partners, and products and services that serve the IoT market. When we talk about the elements of mbed together, we talk about the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform: the mbed Developer Community, mbed OS, , mbed Device Connector Service, mbed TLS, and mbed Client.

Design, build, deploy

mbed is here to help you build your own embedded connected devices, from planning through prototyping and on to production. It does this by letting you write your software on top of an operating system (mbed OS) that works with mbed-enabled hardware, and can connect to the cloud using the mbed Device Connector Service.

Connecting you to the cloud

If you already have an operating system and you want to keep using it, mbed Client provides the higher-level cloud connectivity functions of mbed OS. mbed Client allows you to use our device services without having to use mbed OS or mbed-enabled hardware. You can then benefit from a standard way of connecting to all your devices.

Embedded devices and mbed

An embedded device is a single-purpose computing system that is part of a larger system. We call it embedded because it is within the system, along with many other similar or larger devices. Because it has only one job (or, at most, a handful of jobs) it is small in every respect: size, power consumption, computing power and cost.

Embedded devices are everywhere. The programmable timer in your washing machine and your pulse watch are each one embedded device with one job, but some systems, such as cars and even MRIs, have dozens of embedded devices coordinating their work.

The basic hardware of an mbed device is the development board, which includes an ARM microcontroller. The board is capable of small amounts of processing and data storage, as well as communication. There are additional components that can provide even more capabilities. These include sensors, touch-screens, motors, storage extensions and even wheeled robots. The software you write with mbed controls all of these.

The mbed boards run mbed OS - our in-house operating system that offers an easy, consistent way of controlling the hardware and interacting with the cloud. It also offers built-in integration with our other tools, such as our automated testing tool. On top of mbed OS sits your code, and the only limits on it are the hardware’s processing and storage abilities.

Learn more about our boards and components.

What do you develop with mbed?

So what can you do with that? First, you can prototype a project - very quickly. mbed OS handles the grunt work of communicating with the hardware, and it is not board-specific. This means that code you write on top of mbed OS can work on any board, so you can experiment with different boards without rewriting your code. To further help you prototype and test, mbed provides not only the OS, but also a way of interacting with your device via the cloud with the Connector service, mbed Enabled™ services, a debugging interface and test tools.

Second, you can turn your prototype into a product without switching away from mbed tools: device and server side security, cloud connectivity including load balancing, multiple communication protocols, and other developer services (coming soon).

And finally you can connect devices that are not based on mbed OS to the cloud using mbed Client.

Learn more about our other toolscloud services and technologies, or about moving from prototyping to production.

Who is the mbed community?

Our community includes over 130,000 software developers, all interested in building applications for things in the IoT. There are also mbed partners who build systems-on-chips (SoC), modules, boards, components and cloud services. If you venture further, you can read blogs, comments and forum discussions from these developers and browse the hardware they offer commercially.

Where next?

Read our glossary or our getting started guides, or explore the site to learn more about what you can do with mbed.


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