Intel Shuns Cloud As The Only Route To IoT, Instead Champions 5G And New Atom E3900

Intel has branded the insistence of cloud as the enabler of the Internet of Things (IoT) as a fallacy, highlighting there are other ways to process the masses of data harvested from networks of sensors and smart devices.

Speaking at IoT Solutions World Congress (IoTSWC) in Barcelona, Jonathan Ballon, vice president and general manager of IoT at Intel, said analytics and data crunching can happen within and at the edge of IoT networks either on smart devices or in small clusters of compute and data storage, known as fog networks, rather than pipe harvested data back to a central cloud or data centre.

“The fallacy that’s be pervasive over the past couple of years is that all of the [IoT] value is going into the cloud, and that everything’s about cloud computing and all the analytics are going to take there and that the edge is just a dumb data source. And that’s just not true,” he said.

Cloud fallacy

“Rich, intelligent machines are going to be doing real-time data processing at the edge, and the biggest profound example of this of course are cars. And cars are becoming mobile data centres with hundreds of millions of lines of code; more code than the Hadron Collider or the operating system on your commuter.

“Whether it’s a car or a digital camera that’s processing real-time computer vision algorithms, compute and software at the edge is what it’s all about, because we can’t move workloads all into the cloud and expect everything is going to take place there.

“Some things are going to happen on the device, some things are going to happen on the edge of the network in a fog computing context, and some things are going to happen in the cloud.

“And it entirely depends on the use case and the economics of moving workloads, and the date and the algorithms, etcetera. But we need to start thinking about things in terms of an end-to-end architecture and not in terms of one or the other And I think largely big companies have woken up and are realising this.”

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Intel Atom and 5G

The emergence of 5G as the means to connect IoT devices and networks without reliance on a traditional internet backbone or the cloud, was championed as means to usher in the promises of IoT for enterprises, smart cities and industrial applications.

“We now have the promise of 5G on the horizon which for the first time will be a common set of standards to bring everything from a low- powered, low-data transmitting thermostat all the way up to an automobile which is going to transmit huge amounts of data in real-time, and everything in between, all on a common standard across many distances and data rates,” said Ballon. “This is a ground-breaking technology and it’s just one measure.”

Another measure from Intel’s perspective is providing boosted compute power at the edge of IoT networks.

To punctuate this point Ballon announced Intel Atom E3900 series, a system-on-a-chip slice of silicon coming in two or four processor core configurations and Intel’s ninth-generation graphics engine.

This new Atom, which Intel claims offers a 1.7 times boost over its predecessor, has been designed to offer a hardware platform on which companies can design powerful IoT systems such as advanced driving assistance system in connected cars and intelligent IP cameras for use in smart cities.

The new chip also sports Intel’s Time Coordinated Computing Technology, which as its name suggests coordinates and synchronises peripherals and networks of connected devices. And the E3900 also comes with four vector image processing units designed to use computer vision to carry out tasks such as pedestrian footfall and traffic monitoring or even use advanced imaging to measure pollution levels in cities.

Intel is also releasing a suite of application programming interfaces for developers to better tap into the hardware and the capabilities it supports.

With the new chip and strong views on IoT, Intel is clearly pursuing its goal of using the tech industry’s pervasive trend to bring on a new age of IT.

What do you know about the Internet of Things? Take our quiz!

Roland Moore-Colyer

As News Editor of Silicon UK, Roland keeps a keen eye on the daily tech news coverage for the site, while also focusing on stories around cyber security, public sector IT, innovation, AI, and gadgets.

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