There was a time, not so long ago, when the word “computing” invoked a relatively limited number of images: a server, a desktop computer, maybe a laptop. Today, that word is expanding in its applicability to some expected places (smart phones, tablets, netbooks, etc.) but it is also rapidly expanding into to some unexpected places where it will silently and perhaps un-obviously improve your life.
I have been at Intel 30 years, and I’ve spend a healthy chunk of that time being associated with the more “conventional” definition of “computing” – if you will, the old-school version of the term. But my heart has always believed that it was “outside of the PC” where we could truly impact the way people lives. Not too long ago, I was able to transition within Intel so that I could be part of the greatness that is Intel but is not inside a PC. This was definitely one of the more interesting and fulfilling times in my career.
I have to say that my family was both surprised and glad that I was working in areas that were beyond the PC. And, in fact, it is sometimes through my family that I can better appreciate what it is we need to do as a company. For example, when my daughter goes shopping, she finds it very frustrating if her phone drops its connection. For her, shopping is a shared experience, and if her friends are not there, then sharing with her friends a picture of an outfit she is considering becomes a crucial aspect of what she needs to make the shopping experience a pleasant one. So much so, she will actually pick where she shops at least partially based on if she can get cell phone reception in that store. How many store managers do you think are walking around their stores with a meter to ensure they are there is good cell phone coverage in their establishment? Probably not many, but they should!
On top of that I have seen her walk up to digital signs and expect to be able to touch and control them the way she does her mobile devices. Pretty clear that her generation has a certain level of expectations with regards to how they stay connected and interact with their environments. And, in this down economy, the establishments that meet or exceed those “intangible” expectations will do better than those that don’t – even if they are selling nearly identical items, like a pair of Levis jeans or a certain brand of shoe. There is a stiff competition out there to be better engaged with one’s customers & I’m proud that I’m working in a group that is trying to provide business with the intelligent systems they need to make the shopping experience better.
But we are working on a lot more than just shopping. Healthcare is another big field of interest for us. While the recent passing of Steve Jobs is a somber event, we should also use it as a reminder for how many good people are lost every year to cancer. Specifically, most agree that early detection is a critical component to long term survivability and I think it is wonderful when I look at some of the medically-related innovations with which we’ve been connected that helps to lower the cost and improve the effectiveness of healthcare by bringing the power of Moore’s law and leveraging it to improve a wide variety of medical systems. It is work like that makes my family proud that I work for a company that actually cares about people and wants to improve every aspect of their lives, from better heath care and hospital stays to great shopping experiences and many other areas. It’s one thing to say that PCs are indispensible to work and entertainment, it is a very cool thing to say that my health and well being were improved because of what we do at Intel.
Above is a short video we made that highlights some of the work we are doing. The focus on intelligent, connected systems is especially important now because we’re on the cusp of a vast expansion in the marketplace. By 2015, the market for intelligent systems will amount to nearly 4 Billion units and more than $2 Trillion in revenue, according to IDC. That’s more than one-third of all electronic systems shipments, and it will be our reality in a mere three years.
How can we add more intelligence into our daily interactions at work, at home and even while we’re out shopping? These are the questions that occupy the minds of many of us at Intel and at other companies we work closely with. We’re reimagining the everyday experiences we take for granted, such as walking into a supermarket, shopping for shoes or switching on the lights at home:
- How Intel and Adidas have teamed to deliver customers the ultimate selection via a virtual footwear wall http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRyo_nIbrbw
- How Intel and JAOtech technologies are delivering intelligent bedside terminals that combine medical care access and patient entertainment http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JH6Kziz8YI
- How Intel and Kraft Foods are transforming the retail experience through technology http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vYOgmTnn3Q
I invite you to share your ideas for the next wave of intelligent systems. What should we work on next?