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商业 - 科技

英特尔的愿景:万物联网

Clay Dillow 2014年07月11日

英特尔当初错过了抢占移动市场的先手,被AMD和高通钻了空子。但眼下,英特尔决心豪赌计算领域的下一次大变革:物联网,让英特尔的芯片进入一切有形的物体。

    在英特尔看来,这个问题的答案显然非常广泛。在六月份的一份公告中,约翰逊和英特尔的其他代表们详细阐述了随着承载重要计算能力的芯片尺寸缩小到几乎可以忽略不计,移动计算能力可以从平板电脑和智能手机发展到其它物品上的可能性。英特尔公司认为,到2020年,全球每年将能够售出5亿部可穿戴设备。其中任何一台可穿戴设备都具有一定的处理能力,消费、产生数据。【据英特尔公司引用高德纳研究公司(Gartner)的数据,这些可穿戴设备产生的数据所具有的价值将高达2万亿美元。)

    英特尔对物联网领域的赌注主要集中在两款新产品上,一款产品叫做“伽利略”,另一款叫做“爱迪生”。“伽利略”是一块售价60美元的开发板,可以与深受DIY爱好者们喜爱的Arduino开源电子原型设计平台兼容。“爱迪生”是一个小巧的系统芯片,虽然只有一张SD卡大小,但却可以集成到消费产品中,提供数据处理、存储、Wi-Fi、蓝牙功能,还可以与一系列即插式传感器兼容。

    “伽利略”之所以非常有名,是因为人们可以用它把一台不能联网的设备改装成一台联网设备,然后用智能手机对它进行控制。这个功能并不新鲜,市面上的其它控制板也能做到,只不过基础架构全然不同。“爱迪生”则把这个理念推进得更深了一步,使开发者可以把它用在衣服、智能手表、智能眼镜、私人机器人和其它能够联网的器具和设备上。

    如果“爱迪生”成了产品开发者们采用的主流产品——当然只是“如果”——那么英特尔就将在物联网的早期发展阶段占尽先机,这也正是移动时代以来英特尔一直梦寐以求的局面。此外,物联网技术的发展还能促进英特尔其它非PC业务的增长。联网的设备越多,意味着这些设备产生的数据就越多,同时也意味着使用这些设备的人越多。更多的数据意味着需要更强大的数据处理能力。另外,随着大数据越来越成为各种类型的企业的支柱技术,要带动大数据所需的高性能计算机硬件,自然也就需要更多的处理器。

    “爱迪生”在今夏的发布,让英特尔有机会老老实实地检验一下,看看那些已经在研发可穿戴设备和嵌入式技术的产品设计师们的愿景是否与英特尔自己的愿景一致。如果设计师们真的与英特尔一拍即合,那么英特尔的芯片不久就会安装在各种新型联网设备里,而这些新型设备必将超出计算市场的范畴。约翰逊指出,这正是英特尔想要达到的目标——进入物联网。

    约翰逊说:“我们并不是一家PC公司,也不是一家平板电脑公司或智能手机公司,我们是一家智能公司。我们可以把智能带到任何东西上。在我看来,‘爱迪生’和‘伽利略’就是这种愿景的第一次表达。”(财富中文网)

    译者:朴成奎

    Intel clearly expects the answers to that question to be vast and diverse. During the June announcement, Johnson and other company representatives drove home the idea that the possibilities for computing applications grow exponentially as the size of meaningful computing power approaches zero, creating opportunities for mobile computing that go far beyond the tablet or smartphone. Intel thinks 500 million pieces of wearable tech will be sold globally each year by 2020. Each will pack some degree of processing power to consume and create data. (According to Gartner research cited by Intel, all of that data will generate some $2 trillion in value.)

    Key to Intel’s bid in the area are two new products, Galileo and Edison. The first is a $60 development board that is compatible with Arduino, the open source electronics prototyping platform popular with “makers” and other do-it-yourself tinkerers. The second is a tiny system-on-a-chip, roughly the size of an SD card, that can be integrated into consumer products to provide processing, memory, storage, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility with a range of pluggable sensors.

    Galileo is notable because it allows someone to retrofit a disconnected electronic device to become connected and be controlled from a smartphone. It’s a capability that other controller boards already allow, albeit with different architectures. Edison takes the general concept a step further, Johnson says, by allowing product developers to use it in items such as clothing, smart watches, smart glasses, personal robots, and other Internet-enabled appliances and devices.

    If product developers take to Edison in a major way—”if” being the key word—it could put Intel out in front of its competition in the early days of the Internet of Things, a position the company has deeply coveted in the age of mobility. Better still, growth in Internet of Things technologies will also drive growth in Intel’s other major non-PC segments, a fact not lost on the company. More connected devices mean more data generated by those devices and the consumers that use them. More data means more data crunching, which means more processors needed to drive high-performance computing hardware as big data increasingly becomes a cornerstone technology for all kinds of enterprises.

    This summer’s launch of Edison should provide Intel with an honest measure of whether the product designers already developing the wearable and embedded technologies that will populate the future will align their vision with Intel’s own. If they do, Intel could soon find itself powering any number of newly-connected devices that fall outside of the traditional computing markets. Which, Johnson notes, is exactly where Intel would like to be: inside.

    “We’re not a PC company, we’re not a tablet company, we’re not a smartphone company. We’re an intelligence company,” Johnson says. “We can bring intelligence to anything. To me, Edison and Galileo are the first expression of that vision.”

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