Adam Burns, Director of Product Marketing & Business Development, IoT Solutions Group, Intel Corporation provides a look at how Internet of Things (IoT) products based on the Intel Architecture (IA) are promoting greater efficiency and ease of use across a variety of industries.
From your perspective, what are the biggest challenges facing the silicon side of Internet of Things (IoT) rollouts?
Burns: I see a few significant challenges facing IoT rollouts – devices need to be smarter. There is a tremendous amount of legacy infrastructure that needs to be connected and secured.
Devices are becoming smarter and more connected, and therefore need more processing power and flexibility for workloads. Embedded devices have traditionally been purpose built, but in order to achieve flexibility in workloads they need to be general purpose so there is more flexibility in the applications that are used on the device, even years after rollout. There is also a need for these devices to have a consistent architecture so they can scale. For example, Xerox has wide range of printers with various features and capabilities, including remote monitoring, maintenance, and consistent performance. Xerox was able to make one software investment in one software stack by standardizing on Intel architecture. With that one software stack they can now scale from low-power to high-power, feature-rich devices.
The second obstacle is a world filled with legacy infrastructure and the need to continue using these systems while also unleashing value. The idea is to solve this by bolting connectivity to the systems with gateways. Again, you need a range of performance and scalability for a variety of devices in the market. For example, you could have a building with a single air conditioning unit that needs monitoring, or it could be a building with multiple systems that need to talk to each other and other systems in the building. The winning solution will be able to connect to a variety of systems in the field and perform multiple functions, including the high performance needed for video. Intel is working on connectivity protocols and reference designs to help address this issue, and we see the need to adapt as critical.
The final challenge is security. As the world transforms and vast amounts of data are created and delivered for analytics, security becomes paramount.
How is Intel approaching these challenges?
Burns: At Intel, we place a high value on scale. We recently added our Quark product family to address the IoT market. With the addition of Quark, our products now have a vast range of power and performance to tackle complex problems and offer a consistent base to build IoT solutions. Intel Architecture (IA) can be used in simple, single-function devices to high-compute, multi-function devices, or a customer can build a gateway to address legacy systems – all built on IA. You also have the power of software reuse.
To address security, we are combining assets from across Intel to meet the foundational capabilities of IoT with reference designs. Each design is tailored with specialized software to specific market segments including, transportation, manufacturing, and energy. This gives our ecosystem and customers a single, out-of-the-box solution to address security, scalability, performance, and legacy systems.
What is your position on standardization in the IoT?
Burns: Intel is a proponent of standards across all of the market segments we address, and IoT is no different. Intel also realizes that within the IoT market there will be existing requirements for different vertical markets. Intel is actively working with multiple standards bodies and consortia to make IoT a reality, such as oneM2M. In vertical markets like industrial and energy we support existing standards like IEEE 61850 to address existing infrastructure
What do companies looking to participate in the IoT need to consider to best prepare themselves for impending rollouts?
Burns: Two things are critical. We realize no one company can do it alone and a strong ecosystem with interoperable solutions is necessary. Intel has always driven solutions through the ecosystem and IoT is no different. As IoT starts to roll out, companies need to think about the different entities they’ll need to work with to complete a solution for themselves or for their customers.
More fundamentally, companies need to start with “what am I” or “what are my customers” doing with the data generated form all their devices? How can we use that information to save money and drive new services?