ARM’s mobile processor designs have become the industry standard when it comes to smartphones and tablets. But going forward the company aims to be at the heart of all connected devices, and today they’ve taken a step in that direction with the acquisition of Sensinode, a Finnish startup that develops “Internet of things” software. The latter has led the creation of the 6LoWPAN and CoAP standards for low cost low power devices, and has been a key contributor to the IETF, ZigBee IP, ETSI and OMA standardization efforts.

The British semiconductor designer believes the so-called Internet of things is the next step in the evolution of technology, where everyday devices and appliances are embedded with sensors to collect data and connectivity to trigger actions. IMS Research forecasts that there will be 30 billion connected devices by 2020.

ARM says it will continue to sell Sensinode’s NanoStack and NanoService products to existing and new customers. The acquisition will help ARM push more open standards through its mbed project, an industry-wide effort to simplify development for connected devices by offering open source hardware and software, and likely bring its ARM Cortex chips to everything from wearable tech devices to household appliances.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The move highlights another front in ARM’s competition against Intel. Aside from mobile devices, where the Santa Clara company is still struggling to gain some traction, the two are increasingly competing against each other in the embedded and server markets. With Microsoft supporting the architecture with a stripped down version of Windows 8, ARM might eventually become a relevant player in low power, low cost PCs as well.