At CES 2016 in Las Vegas yesterday, Intel put its technology money where it’s CEO’s mouth is. The company is setting out to offer consumers new connected experiences in a number of realms, including sports, health and wellness, technology, music and robotics. Intel also announced various collaborations, products and innovative technologies that "make the amazing possible."
The company’s collaborations highlight three trends that are molding the future, according to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich (pictured above). First, the smart and connected world, which is not a new idea but one that is gaining rapid momentum in the Internet of Things (IoT) age. Next, technologies are coming online with senses that mirror human senses. Finally, computing is becoming not just personal, but ultra-personal, he said.
"There is a rapidly growing role for technology that is at once transformative, unprecedented and accessible," said Krzanich, in a statement. "With people choosing experiences over products more than ever before, Intel technology is a catalyst to making amazing new experiences possible, and ultimately improving the world in which we live."
Intel Vying for IoT Dominance
Intel is teaming up with the likes of ESPN, Red Bull Media House, New Balance and Oakley on the sports front. The idea is to tap technology and data analytics to help people pursue healthier lives with more active lifestyles.
Intel is also joining forces with The Recording Academy in a multi-year partnership to bring innovation to the “Next Generation of Grammy Nominations” program. The idea is to encourage people to engage in music and it all starts with a collaborative music experience featuring Lady Gaga.
We caught up with Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, to get his take on the announcements. If you look at the technology landscape, Intel owns the PC business and ARM owns the phone business, he told us. What's up for grabs is the nascent IoT business.
“Intel has low-power chips and now radios. ARM and its partners, like Qualcomm, NXP, Samsung, and others, also have low-power chips and radios. So, it's a pitched battle for the next 10 billion, really 100 billion, chips,” Kay said. “Standards are not yet set, which has all these vendors going after various submarkets with their own solutions. Intel has tended to dominate its partners whereas ARM is more of an enabler. But it's still a mess without universal standards. The big new markets are all IoT. So, Intel pretty much has to give it its best shot.”
Beyond music and sports, Krzanich is looking at the bigger societal picture, specifically challenges he sees holding back the technology industry. One of the company's initiatives is an anti-online harassment project in conjunction with Vox Media, Re/code and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. It’s all about promoting inclusion and diversity. He also pledged to work toward a “conflict-free” product base in 2016.
"When Intel started its work to address conflict minerals and gaps in diversity and inclusion, we were told by many people that our goals were unrealistic and would be impossible to achieve," said Krzanich. "Our collective efforts show that we can influence entirely new and different ways of doing business that also improve the human experience."
Drilling down into the announcement, Intel’s partnership with ESPN will tap technology to offer more data-driven insights to the X Games Aspen 2016 events. For example, the Intel Curie module will be woven into the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle and Snowboard Big Air competitions to turn out real-time athlete performance. Intel’s deals with Red Bull Media House and Replay Technologies will offer similar performance stats.
On the health and wellness front, Intel is partnering with New Balance to create wearable technologies that help athletes better measure their own performances using Intel RealSense technology. Krzanich spoke at CES of a smart sport watch that should hit the market later this year. Intel is working with Oakley on smart eyewear complete with a voice-activated, real-time coaching system.
Intel is also working with MGM Television Group and Digital president Mark Burnett on a new competitive TV series called America’s Greatest Makers that will air on TBS in the spring. Intel and MGM also rolled out a digital hub that features inventors, new innovations and technology tutorials.
Finally, Intel showcased ideas around unmanned aerial vehicles, a Segway personal transporter that can transform into a robot. The open platform leverages Intel’s RealSense ZR300 Camera to navigate complex environments and interact intelligently with users and sensors in the home.
Image credit: Photo of CEO Brian Krzanich courtesy of Intel; Artist's Concept.