Intel to Leverage Atom, Quark SoCs for Internet of Things

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2013-10-08

Intel to Leverage Atom, Quark SoCs for Internet of Things

Intel executives are building out the company’s efforts around the burgeoning Internet of things with new and enhanced chips and plans for integrated gateways that will connect the massive numbers of legacy devices already on the market.

The giant chip maker’s strategy includes new capabilities in its Atom E3800 systems-on-a-chip (SoCs), and leveraging its new low-power Quark X1000 SoC to bring Intel’s architecture into a range of new systems. In addition, Intel is working with its software subsidiaries Wind River and McAfee to develop a new line of intelligent gateways that will help connect legacy systems—which officials says make up 85 percent of today’s devices—into the growing Internet of things (IoT).

The moves are designed to greatly expand Intel’s reach into an IoT market that IDC analysts have said could reach $8.9 trillion by 2020, and to accelerate the growth of the space, according to Ton Steenman, vice president and general manager of Intel's Intelligent Systems Group.

“Intel has the vision to democratize the benefits of the Internet of things,” Steenman said during a Webcast press briefing Oct. 8.

The Internet of things envisions a time when massive numbers of intelligent appliances, systems and devices are connected to the Internet and each other, and data generated from these machines can be easily collected, stored and analyzed. A wide range of vendors—from IBM and Cisco Systems to low-power chip designer ARM—are growing strategies around IoT.

"The momentum of the Internet of things is driven by a number of factors,” Vernon Turner, senior vice president of IDC’s  Enterprise Infrastructure, Consumer, Network, Telecom and Sustainability Research, said in a statement Oct. 3. “There is no doubt that business and consumer demand exists and will continue to expand for IoT solutions. I expect the current IoT use cases are just the tip of the iceberg."

Cisco officials—who talk about the Internet of everything—have said the trend could result in $14.4 trillion in profits to businesses by 2020, and has meant more than $613 billion already this year.

Steenman said Intel has the reach—from the devices themselves into the data center and cloud—to be a significant player in the development of the Internet of things, which, he said, is driven by a combination of the huge numbers of devices connecting to the Internet, the growing compute capabilities and the maturity of big data analytics.

The number of connected devices has grown by 300 percent over the past five years, and by 2020, there will be 200 billion connected devices, he said.

”Intel is really in the middle of all this,” Steenman said. “More devices are good for Intel.”

Intel to Leverage Atom, Quark SoCs for Internet of Things

A foundation of Intel’s strategy will be the Atom E3800 (formerly dubbed "Bay Trail-I") and Quark X1000 SoCs for embedded systems. The Atom E3800 family will offer increased media and graphics performance, error-correcting code (ECC) memory, integrated security and integrated image signal processing, all of which help speed time to market and reduce power consumption, according to Intel. The chips are aimed at such systems as ATMs, point-of-sale and interactive kiosks.

The Quark X1000 is the first SoC in the new family of processors CEO Brian Krzanich announced during the Intel Developer Forum Sept. 10. The Quark chips are aimed at the IoT and wearable devices, and are one-fifth the size of Atom SoCs and consume one-tenth the power. The 32-bit X1000, based on the Pentium instruction set, also will have ECC and integrated security. It can be used in everything from temperature control units for buildings to power grids.

“It will allow us to reach into a whole new set of applications and billions of devices,” Steenman said. “It will allow us to step … even further down into … devices and other parts of the Internet of things.”

The first of Intel’s intelligent gateways will be based on the Atom E3800 and Quark X1000 SoCs. The gateways—the first of which will be available in the first quarter of 2014—will be integrated hardware and software platforms with McAfee Embedded Control and Wind River Intelligence Device Platform software will connect the legacy systems and provide communications between devices and the cloud. Through these gateways, data created by these devices will be shared between the cloud and intelligent devices, with the data being collected, stored and analyzed.

Daikin Applied, a global heating, air conditioning and ventilation company, is using Intel’s gateway solutions to connect its existing Rebel rooftop HVAC systems to the cloud, where data from the systems are collected and analyzed. Through the technology, Daikin officials said the company will help building owners better manage their buildings.

A range of technology vendors, including Portwell, DFI, AdvanTech and Insyde, already are adopting the Atom E3800 SoCs to create solutions for IoT. Steenman said Intel is using IoT technology to track the real-time status of parts around test facilities, reducing by 67 percent the set-up time in the plants.


Rocket Fuel