Intel CEO Krzanich Talks IoT, Wearables, Smart Devices at IDF

During the show's opening keynote, Intel's top executive focused on technologies that the company is putting into its silicon.

Intel Developer Forum

SAN FRANCISCO—Intel CEO Brian Krzanich dispensed with much of the chips speeds, feeds and roadmaps that typically populate keynote addresses at the Intel Developer Forum to instead focus on other technologies the company is offering. Hardware and software makers will be able to incorporate many of these into their designs for everything from wearable devices to data center systems.

During his opening keynote here Aug. 18, Krzanich talked about what Intel is doing to enhance technologies like its RealSense 3D cameras and Curie module for wearable and Internet of things (IoT) devices. He also introduced new offerings that touch on security, storage, memory and sound. Absent was almost any mention of Intel's new "Skylake" chip architecture.

The CEO, speaking on stage during the opening address at this year's Intel Developer Forum (IDF), talked about the computing trends of ubiquitous connectivity and increased personalization of computing, the growing desire among consumers and business users to interact more closely with their devices, the need for greater security in such a connected world, and the innovation being driven by gamers and enthusiasts that eventually will make their way into mainstream systems.

"Computing is everywhere in our lives today," Krzanich said. "What is changing is that computing and the computing experience is becoming personalized."

Over the past several years, Intel has been growing its portfolio of technologies that can be integrated onto the silicon and that can enhance the capabilities of systems and the user experience, such as the RealSense cameras and software for security. During his talk, Krzanich told developers that these were products that they can use to enhance their own products, and he touched on everything from the IoT and wearables to new data center memory technology and gaming systems.

"This was really him saying, 'This is our vision where the world is going, and these are tools we're building to help get you there," Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, told eWEEK.

The RealSense cameras and other technologies will play a key role in meeting user demand for systems that offer a greater sensory experience, Krzanich said. The RealSense technology is now being used by OEMs in systems to offer users a 3D experience in devices like notebooks and tablets. Intel now is expanding the number of software platforms the technology supports beyond Microsoft's Windows and Google's Android to include Linux, Apple's Mac OS X, the Robot Operating System (ROS), scratch, Unity, XSplit, Strucutre SDK, OSVR, OBS and Unreal Engine 4.

In addition, Intel is working with Google to bring RealSense and the search giant's Project Tango 3D effort together into an Android smartphone developer kit, and showed off a prototype Android smartphone with the technologies. The 3D scanning capabilities can enable such tasks as 3D scanning, modeling, virtual reality, indoor navigation and mapping, and can be used in a broad array of areas from gaming to health care to robotics. Krzanich also showed off a robot called Relay that has been developed by Savioke and uses RealSense to enable it to navigate through busy environments like hotels—where it can be used to deliver items to guests.

"For robots to become useful, they have to be able to adapt to their environments," he said, noting they must be able to determine, for example, if a person is two feet away or 10 feet.

The Android smartphone developer kit will be released to select Android developers by the end of the year, he said. In addition, Intel introduced Smart Sound Technology that will be incorporated into Core and Atom chips. The CEO showed off a feature called Wake on Voice that is being developed with Microsoft to work with its Cortana digital assistant technology in Windows 10. With Wake on Voice, a user can wake a system from sleep mode and have it play music or tell a joke simply with a voice command.

"It's just going to happen naturally," Krzanich said. "That's what we want. … Talking to a devices should feel like a two-way conversation."