ROME – The CEO of Intel Brian Krzanich said that in targeting the ‘internet of things’ and the wearable computing opportunity, there is also a chance to spark a new way of thinking at Intel to embrace open standards in a bigger way. To not do so, he said, would mean missing the future of computing.
Today at the Maker Faire in Rome, Krzanich unveiled the company’s new Galileo dev board based on Arduino open-source standards. What was different about this particular launch is that the whole creation of the technology took place over a matter of months and was spearheaded by a design team of 70 people in Ireland focused on the Quark X1000 system on a chip (SoC).
Krzanich says he is something of a “maker” himself, enjoying dabbling with his own personal technology projects.
He said that like many of the DIY makers of today who are blending technology with art to create new inventions Intel is a maker too, but at an atomic level.
“Every two years we have to invent new things using new tools and processes.”
He gave the Irish team – based in Leixlip, Co Kildare, where Intel employs more than 4,000 people – a shout-out. “We started a skunkworks project in Ireland with the support of the IDA to fund a low cost piece of silicon that could work with the internet of things.”
Krzanich said the company had been engaging with people in the maker culture and it became apparent that rather than driving Intel-only software and hardware it would be better to embrace the open source environment that exists in Arduino. “One founder of a company warned us that if we were not going to be open and part of the maker culture we were going to miss out on the future of computing, that’s why we got engaged.”
He said that within a 60-day period the Irish team fought for the challenge to produce a fully working chipset and board and delivered in time for today’s Maker Faire.
One of the main beneficiaries of Intel’s focus on open and the creation of devices for the internet of things will be the global education system, into which Intel has invested US$1bn.
As part of this more than 50,000 Galileo devices will be gifted to 1,000 universities and colleges around the world, including Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork.
“We are really embracing the culture. We plan to keep true to the maker community. This will be open source and we will post all the schematics and software online so people can go in and modify. We are not going to hold this back.”
The dawning days of the internet of things
The maker community will no doubt embrace the power of the Irish-designed technology to all kinds of inventions, from Wi-Fi controlled lawnmowers, singing and dancing robots and sophisticated alarm systems and energy monitoring devices that will be built by DIY enthusiasts and start-ups.
The dawn of the internet of things has begun and Krzanich predicts a near future where billions of sensors and machine-to-machine devices powered by technologies like Galileo will in turn feed large volumes of data back into analytics for big data systems and services.
“When we revealed that we were going to be part of the maker community immediately 300 engineers at Intel came out of the woodwork declaring themselves makers. We can provide the silicon, we want to be part of that.”
He said that in the spirit of things Intel will also soon be holding its own internal maker faires.
“We see a future that will have billions of connected devices with huge commercial applications. Our aim is to bring the complex technology into the hands of people so that it is simplified and enables them to produce something within minutes that used to take us decades to produce.”
Smart kitchen appliances image, via Shutterstock