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Intel CEO Talks Cloud and Internet of Things Strategy
Posted April 27, 2016
Intel CEO Talks Cloud and Internet of Things Strategy
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By Jef Cozza. Updated April 27, 2016 11:11AM

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Chipmaker Intel has its head in the clouds these days. Or, to be more accurate, in the cloud. CEO Brian Krzanich outlined a set of core beliefs yesterday guiding the company's strategy for the future -- chief among them that the cloud is the single most important trend influencing the future of computing.

“Our strategy itself is about transforming Intel from a PC company to a company that powers the cloud and billions of smart, connected computing devices,” Krzanich wrote in a blog post yesterday. Krzanich's comments come just a week after the company announced a major restructuring initiative that would see it shift its focus to its data center and Internet of Things businesses.

5G and Moore’s Law

Five core assumptions will drive Intel’s strategy going forward, Krzanich said. In addition to the cloud’s importance for computing in general, the value of the company’s PC and IoT products and services would also be dependent on cloud connectivity, he said.

Krzanich also said that memory and programmable solutions such as field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) would give rise to new classes of products for the company’s data center and IoT businesses. Meanwhile 5G technology will prove the key driver behind cloud connectivity, and Moore’s Law will continue to generate economic growth, he said.

“Our strategy is based on these premises, and the unique assets that only Intel brings to them,” Krzanich said. “There is a clear virtuous cycle here -- the cloud and data center, the Internet of Things, memory and FPGAs are all bound together by connectivity and enhanced by the economics of Moore’s Law.”

Although the CEO's message was upbeat, the decision to shift the company’s focus from the stagnating PC sector to the still nascent cloud and IoT sectors will be far from painless. Last week, the company announced it would be laying off 12,000 employees, approximately 11 percent of its workforce, as it undergoes its most significant restructuring in a decade.

Connectivity Is Fundamental

Krzanich said the first priority is to apply advances in cloud computing to Intel’s data center business, particularly in the fields of software and virtualization. The company will also increase its focus on analytics to extract more value from computing, machine learning, and big data capabilities.

Meanwhile, IoT will be the company’s second priority, Krzanich said. Intel plans to focus primarily on connecting autonomous vehicles, industry, and retail to the cloud. Memory and programmable solutions, such as Rack Scale Architecture, 3D memory, FPGAs, and silicon photonics, all of which Intel has been developing internally for years, will constitute the company’s third priority.

Intel sees cloud connectivity as one of the common threads tying these points together. Krzanich pointed to autonomous vehicles as an example of how Intel’s priorities can combine in a single product.

“It must have connectivity to the cloud, and the cloud must have machine learning capabilities to constantly be guided by the most up-to-date algorithms and data sets that allow the vehicle to operate safely,” he said. “In this way, connectivity is fundamental to every one of the cloud-to-thing segments we will drive.”

Image Credit: Infographic by Intel; background via iStock.

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