4 key takeaways from the Intel Developer Forum 2016

Each year Intel hosts the Intel Developer Forum (IDF). In 2016, a record breaking 6000 developers flocked to San Francisco to get a glimpse of what Intel has up its sleeve. The developers were not disappointed.

At this year’s IDF several announcements were made which will have a direct impact on shaping the future we will encounter. Check out some of the highlights that Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich announced:

and then check out these 4 key take away from the Intel Developer Forum 2016:

1. Merged Reality is the new reality

4 key take away from the Intel Developer Forum 2016

Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich, pointed at the various Virtual Reality headset which he said were great but they were tethered to a computer which detracts from the complete freedom of being virtual. Therefore, Intel has unveiled Project Alloy which is a self-contained VR headset that is not tied to a computer. It’s an “all-in-one virtual reality solution made from the ground up”. By cutting the chord, the user now has a free range of motion with 6 degrees-of-freedom across a large space. In order to prevent people from walking into walls and falling off stages, the headset has built in collision detection and avoidance.

One of the limitations of current VR headset is the lack of ability to interact with the virtual world. So while your eye and ears have tricked your brain into believing you are in this virtual world, your hands are not a part of the world unless you hold additional controllers. Intel’s RealSense technology takes care of this by allowing real-world objects (such as your hands) to enter the virtual world. Not only are they part of that world, but the hands can interact with objects such as pushing a button or pulling a lever.

This is why Intel is using the term Merged Reality.

Intel had the crowd cheering when they announced that the programmers will be able to get their hands on the APIs for the VR ecosystem which means they can create their own branded products from the Alloy design, in 2017.

2. How to build your own Drone?

Drones are all the rage. From those using them for fun aerial photography to commercial usage such as inspecting power lines and wind turbines. Intel is predicting that the future will be filled with even more Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) performing company specific duties. Therefore these drones will not be stock-standard devices bought from a retailer. Therefore, developers will need to be able to program applications into the drone and in order to do that, Intel has created two Drone Platforms:

The Aero Ready To Fly is an assembled quad with Intel’s RealSense tech and various plug-and-play options and applications ready to be deployed on the drone. It will haven have Intel RealSense for vision and AirMap SDK for airspace services and flight controller with Dronecode PX4 software. (Available for sale by end of 2016).

4 key take away from the Intel Developer Forum 2016

For those developers who want a much more customizable option that integrates into their own Drone, then the Intel Aero Platform for unmanned aerial vehicles is the way to go. It’s a “controller board” which is a developer kit powered by an Intel® Atom™ quad-core processor. It combines compute, storage, communications and flexible I/O all in a form factor the size of a standard playing card.  (Available for $399 from click.intel.com)

3. Not BIG but HUGE Data and Connectivity

It is estimated that by 2020 the average user will produce 1. 5GB of data per day, 3000 GB of data per day will come from smart hospitals, 4000 GB per day will come from autonomous cars, 40 000 GB per day will come from airplane data, 1 million GB per day will come from smart cities. That’s not big data. That’s HUGE data!

With that much data flying around, smarter networks need to be built so that the bulk of that traffic does not have to come all the way back to the data center for calculations to take place and an action to be sent back. The latency is too long for that to happen. Cars driving past each other have only split seconds to be able to exchange information about a road hazard ahead – they can not wait until that data is sent from the first car to the main data center and then it is relayed back to the other car. It needs to happen at the peripheral of the network.

This is where Artificial Intelligence needs to take over and make those decisions and so Intel Xeon Phi processor family will be focused on high-performance machine learning and artificial intelligence.

When you do need to move the data at light-speed, then this is where  Intel® Silicon Photonics 100G optical transceivers come in. These allow enterprises and cloud service providers to use the power of light to move large amounts of information at 100 gigabit-per-second over distances of up to several kilometers over fiber-optic links.

4. Developers get involved now !

When I look back at the various days at the conference there was one central theme: Developers get involved.

There was a plea from Twitch’s Vice President  Jonathan Shipman and Sonja Reid, of OMGitsfirefoxx, asking to be able to stream live games to over 20 000 concurrent users who might be at their desk or be mobile so they need more compute power. There was John Leonard, a captain with the East Valley Fire Department in Arizona, who discussed the needs of firefighters to be able to walk into a smart building and know where the people are before reaching the actual building.

There was also an interesting conversation with John Gordon Chief Digital Officer, GE who showed how their sensors which are situated on top of cities street lamps are able to collect anonymous data such as pedestrian traffic, type of vehicles (car, bus, truck, etc) and environmental data such as temperature, air quality, humidity.  When GE collected this data, John jokingly said “we had a trillion ideas of what to do with this data but then when we sat down to write these ideas, we came up with eight.” Therefore GE has created a platform called Predix that is built using Intel’s IoT systems which allow developers to have access to this anonymous data and build application and solutions. “It’s all about the Metadata” John said. Using this data is an ideal way to have developers build solutions for their own communities that have a direct impact locally.

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IoT produces data. Lots of data. Now, what do we do with that data? how do make that data meaningful? What solutions can be developed when this data is unlocked? These are questions facing us today. If you are a developer or have kids looking for a direction – being able to manipulate the raw data into meaningful usage is the key to unlocking the future.

Note: I was hosted at IDF courtesy of Intel. All opinions in this post are my own and this is not a paid for post.

Pic credit : Intel

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