Intel is bringing the full weight of its product portfolio in its efforts to become the primary technology provider for the rapidly growing Internet of things.
The giant chip maker is packaging an expanding range of capabilities—not only its silicon technologies, but also its software offerings and other hardware products—to create the Intel IoT Platform, which officials call a complete reference architecture that hardware and software developers can use to more easily develop highly secure and connected products for the Internet of things.
At the same time, Intel is leveraging the growing number of partnerships with tech vendors like Cloudera, Dell and IBM as well as new relationships with system integrators such as NTT Data, SAP, Accenture and Booz Allen Hamilton to help develop solutions on the IoT platform.
The result is a broad, holistic and repeatable reference platform that includes the key elements of the IoT, from hardware and software to connectivity and security, according to Doug Davis, vice president and general manager for Intel’s year-old Internet of Things Group.
“We knew we have a lot of the components for IoT, and we knew we needed to bring those things together,” Davis said during an event Dec. 9 at the company’s Santa Clara, Calif., campus.
Intel was one of a number of established tech vendors that missed the rapid transition in the industry to mobile computing with the rise of smartphones and tablets, and it is working to gain ground against rival ARM, whose low-power system-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture can be found in the bulk of mobile devices. CEO Brian Krzanich has said Intel will not repeat that mistake with new growth areas, with the Internet of things being a prime example.
Intel has been aggressive in building out its IoT capabilities over the past year, from launching the IoT Group to earlier this year releasing gateways that enable intelligent devices to connect to the Internet and each other. In addition, Intel has released two development platforms, dubbed “Edison” and “Galileo.” The company also is building out its wearable device capabilities, which will be a key part of the larger IoT efforts. Now company officials want Intel to be the foundational technology vendor for the Internet of things.
During the event, they said that Intel not only has the silicon in its Quark, Atom and Xeon chip families to power the devices at the edge of the IoT, but also the hardware and software to connect those devices to the back-end data centers that are powered by Intel and the software to enable users to analyze the data from those devices and secure the entire scope.
The importance of the IoT to the company’s future plans was on display at the Dec. 9 event, where not only Davis took the stage, but a number of other top Intel executives, including Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group; Mike Bell, vice president and general manager of the New Devices Group; and Doug Fisher, vice president and general manager of the chip maker’s Software and Services Group.
Also on hand was Wen-Hann Wang, vice president and managing director of Intel Labs.
Davis said Intel’s efforts in the IoT are beginning to pay off. The Internet of Things Group will see $2 billion in revenue for 2014, and growth of 18 percent from 2013.
The IoT—which comprises the growing number of connected devices that will generate massive amounts of data that organizations can leverage to improve their processes and grow their businesses—is expected to become a significant market over the next few years. Cisco Systems officials have said that there are 25 billion connected devices worldwide today, and that will grow to 50 billion by 2020. Intel’s Bell said that 400 million of those devices will be wearables.
Intel Launches Broad IoT Reference Platform
Intel’s IoT Platform brings together the vendor’s gateway, connectivity and security components into a single, integrated package aimed at developers, partners and systems integrators as a way to accelerate the development of connected, secure products for the Internet of things. Davis said the reference architecture will help users take their products out of the pilot phase and into production and mainstream deployments.
Included in the platform are a number of new and upcoming Intel products, including the Wind River Edge Management System, an integrated API management middleware stack the enables developers to more easily build IoT products for specific industries. The offering reaches from the device to the cloud, which officials said speeds up the time to market, and will be embedded in the latest Intel IoT Gateway. The new gateway also includes performance improvements, more communications options and support for lower cost memory. The company said seven original design manufacturers (ODMs) currently are offering Intel IoT Gateways, with 13 more preparing to release products early next year.
The company also is expanding its cloud analytics capabilities to the gateway series, and integrating Enhanced Security for Intel IoT Gateways into the gateway devices. Intel’s Wang also announced that Intel Security’s Enhanced Privacy Identity (EPID) technology, which improves security for devices connecting to the Intel platform, will be licensed to other chip makers.
Security is a key focus for Intel Labs, he said.
“With 50 billion devices out there, you don’t want people to know how you brush your hair,” Wang said. “You don’t want people to know how you brush your teeth or what you had for breakfast.”
Intel’s Bell also said that next year, Intel’s partners in wearable devices—such as Opening Ceremony and Luxottica—will be able to use cloud-based portals for device management purposes.
Answering a question from the audience, Fisher and Bryant spoke about the importance and reach of Intel’s software business. Fisher noted that in general, Intel is known as a hardware company, but said that the company works with 3 million to 4 million software developers, while also participating in a broad array of software consortiums and various software-based events, such as hackathons.
“Our visibility is pretty deep in the [areas] that we participate in,” Fisher said.
Fielding another question, Bell shrugged off the threat ARM poses to Intel in the Internet of things, saying that his company has silicon that is competitive with ARM in terms of energy efficiency and has a much broader solution.
“Fundamentally, I think our technology is better,” Bell said. “We have better technology; we have the better overall solution.”