I'm Mark Scantlebury, and as a recently assigned roving reporter for the Intel® Embedded & Communications Alliance, I'll be covering one of the most exciting trends in the embedded computing industry: the rapid growth of intelligent connected devices. As you've probably read in recent articles and blogs, the industry is expecting 15 billion connected devices by 2015. And not just any kind of connected devices. Many of these will be connected intelligent devices communicating with and controlling each other without human intervention. Having so many connected intelligent devices is going to redefine human-machine relationships, create new usage models, and enhance our lives, work, health and safety.
Intel is calling this new era the "Embedded Internet." For a good reason. A high proportion of these devices will be communicating to each other over IP. And this isn't far off in the future. It's happening right now. It's a wind energy company using an embedded computing solution from to remotely control and check functions and conditions of wind turbines and receiving alerts and other feedback through an IP-based network. It's new intelligent refrigerators being designed through smart metering to detect high energy demand periods and delay defrost cycles to off-peak hours. The fact is, all kinds of devices are being updated with embedded intelligence and an IP connection for remote monitoring and control, information exchange, automated operation, and environmental or contextual awareness.
This is sea-change, paradigm-shifting, inflection-point kind of stuff. Which is why the Embedded Internet offers such an enormous opportunity for embedded board manufacturers and the OEMs that use their products trim development costs and speed solutions to market. Doug Davis, Intel Vice President and General Manager of the Intel Embedded and Communications Group, calls it "the experience of a lifetime" and predicts we will all soon wonder how we ever got along with less than 15 billion connected devices.
A key group driving the Embedded Internet is the Intel® Embedded and Communications Alliance (Intel® ECA). Consequently, I'll be targeting their members in my reports from the field. Making up one of the industry’s most recognized ecosystems, Intel® ECA members offer hundreds of board-level Intel® architecture-based solutions ranging from 65mm X 58mm modules to full AdvancedTCA* (ATCA*) systems. These solutions (from high performance multi-processor, quad-core 200W ATCA systems down to sub 5W size-constrained modules and
small form factor SBCs) meet an enormous range of performance, thermal, size, and cost requirements.
The products I'll be talking to Intel ECA members about are the ones being developed specifically for Embedded Internet applications. I'll be cutting through the marketingese to get to the real story.
So who am I? I'm a longtime writer for the high tech industry, someone old enough to have ditched his IBM* Selectric* for one of the first PCs back in the early 1980s. For the last few years I've been writing for the embedded computing industry and am excited as anyone about having devices do more work without me or anyone else having to interact with them. Personally, I'm waiting intelligent surveillance camera that can recognize the lawn needs mowing and send out the hover mower while my in-home brewing station simultaneously notices I'm low on my favorite malt beverage and starts work on making some more.
What do you think about the Embedded Internet? Is it hype or something you're willing to bet a fortune on? Add a comment here and help me steer my travels.