Intel weaves together more hardware, software to bolster Internet of Things platform

The Internet of Things movement will help us live healthier, more secure and safer lives - even if the changes are small and incremental, opined Intel's CEO.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

SAN FRANCISCO---Nearly a year after its debut, Intel's Internet of Things (IoT) platform is being prepped for an upgrade as the chip maker weaves in more of its hardware and software products to accelerate development.

"IoT is just a phrase," said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich during a media presentation on Tuesday morning, explaining what he thinks it really means is that these devices that are going to become part of our lives and make them better.

As our world becomes smart and connected, the Internet of Things movement will help us live healthier, more secure and safer lives - even if the changes are small and incremental, Kzranich continued.

At the same time, as the Internet of Things gains momentum, solution providers must meet customer demands for experimentation, Kzranich argued.

But rather than focusing on a single function, Krzanich stressed the need for a comprehensive suite of services for bringing experiments to market faster, pointing back to Intel's own IoT platform unveiled last December.

These devices need to be connected in a standard way, added Doug Fisher, vice president of Intel's software and services unit, emphasizing Intel's commitment to open source technology.

Since then, Kzranich explained how Intel's IoT portfolio has been implemented from the home to factories to better understand and respond to user needs, highlighting an Intel-powered smart irrigation solution using sensors, controlled valves and analytics to manage irrigation for optimal crop yield.

Kzranich boasted that the system lowered costs for the customer because irrigation was implemented on a better schedule, transforming basic farming practices that have been around for years.

"People are starting to create this data world even without the integration of a big company," Kzranich remarked.

Nevertheless, Intel did boast about a few well-known corporate clients integrating Intel's IoT capabilities, including famed jeans manufacturer Levi Strauss, which has been implementing Intel's IoT products to manage inventory and maintain stock down to exact size and color as customers walk through the doors.

Looking forward, leading the charge for the upgraded IoT platform is a new reference architecture for connecting more devices, such as a security webcam or cash register, that might already be connected but don't have access to the cloud, APIs or data analytics. Intel asserted this new reference architecture can integrate and connect them to the network.

Intel is also extending its Quark chip family, designed for wearables and other low-power smart devices, with advanced pattern-matching capabilities for makers so devices can be taught about different motions, vibrations, which could be translated into automated analysis and decision-making.

Fisher stressed Intel is currently focusing on IoT for the cloud, spearheaded by Intel's Wind River subsidiary.

Thus, the tech giant is optimizing and deploying a Wind River Helix Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) suite for IoT architectures while rolling out two new cloud-connected operating systems, Wind River Rocket and Wind River Pulsar Linux, to encouragement development of IoT-based solutions.

Suggested for building wearables and related smart sensors, Rocket consists of a real-time operating system for applications running on 32-bit MCUs. Pulsar is said to be more ideal for building gateways to base stations and industrial controllers through its small-footprint binary Linux operating system.

Developers will be able to write and test cloud-based applications to simulate hardware environments and monitor them, post-deployment. Both operating systems are free, described as hardware-agnostic, support Intel and ARM alike, and are touted to be ready for producing apps within 10 minutes.

Doug Davis, vice president of Intel's Internet of Things group, noted software giant SAP would be the first company using these products to develop and pilot IoT products for the enterprise and retail. He added they are expected to start launching in 2016.

The Intel Quark microcontroller D1000 is available today, and the Quark microcontroller D2000 is scheduled to roll out by the end of the year. Intel's Quark SE SoC for IoT will follow during the first half of 2016.

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