The first to speak to us was Brian McCarson, Senior Principal Engineer with the Intel Internet of Things (IoT) Group. He provides us with some insight into the incredible things that we are doing in the realm of IoT and the amazing people that make it happen.
The Value of IoT at Intel
People don’t usually think of Intel as the connective fabric that brings computing devices together. Instead, they usually think of us as the “brains behind the box.” To me, IoT is valuable for Intel because it moves us out of the background and puts us in a position to be that connective fabric, to create and enable a system of systems, or a network of devices that connect to other devices to provide unique value and deliver new kinds of experiences with technology.
One of Intel’s biggest places of development right now is in the Cloud. But when you think about the cloud, the place where you are uploading your pictures or videos, you don’t think about Intel; you think about some server or data center somewhere out there, even though Intel is often what powers those servers. By contrast, IoT is what actually touches the human user. From automated cars to wearable devices, its present in our everyday environment while the cloud feels far away. IoT takes the power of that distant cloud, and puts it at our fingertips, letting us actually experience what it means to have devices that are able to talk to one another and work together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.
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Why Intel is such a good place to develop IoT devices
Intel is uniquely positioned to provide you with compute, connectivity, and storage from the smallest individual device level—with our Q—all the way up to and including massive Data Centers.
As devices continue to get cheaper, and smaller, and more powerful with the advance of Moore’s Law, we are able to put powerful transistors into places that we never could before. Right now, it costs us less to create a transistor that can turn off and on 30 billion times a second than it would cost a farmer to produce a single grain of rice. Thanks to that, we can put computing capabilities into places that you wouldn’t have even dreamed of two years ago. We can turn sensing capabilities into processed information right at the source, improving speed and usability to an amazing degree. At the same time, Intel’s capabilities in the Data Center and our world class security and device management software enables us to see the whole picture. Because Intel covers such a wide range, we have a much more complete view of the whole product and can work to improve every part of the product to achieve the best results.
The Work Culture of Intel’s IoT Group
The first thing I think about when asked about our culture is what this company and our group represent from the standards perspective. Intel is often viewed as the gold standard of compute tech. Because Intel is so active in our participation with IoT standards consortia around the world, many people rely on us to determine how to make the IoT market move faster.
Working in this environment means that if you have an idea that you are passionate about, you can get your message out fast, and with the backing of a well-respected brand so people sit up and pay attention.
Back in 2014, when we launched the Intel IoT platform, no one knew what to make of it, as we were the first major company announcing such a thing. Since then over 300 companies have announced their own platforms. We were the ones making the market and defining the taxonomy for these new spaces of innovation. It’s exciting to know that your work can have that level of influence.
The internal culture here is an environment that strongly embraces diverse thinking and diverse backgrounds. Regardless of who you are, where you went to school, or where you come from, everyone comes to the table with a voice based on the validity of their technical argument, and nothing else.
Even though my role is CTO of IoT Strategy and I have several decades of experience, I have interns on my team that challenge me regularly. They come to me and say “No, this makes absolutely no sense. We could be doing something so much more powerful than what you are thinking by making x, y, and z changes.” And I take that to heart and take their views as seriously as I would someone with 30 years of experience. There aren’t many companies out there where you can come in as a freshman or sophomore in college, and if you’ve got a passion for an idea that you want to see happen, you can pitch that idea to senior leaders and see action actually happen around it. Along with everything else, the level of open communication and collaboration is really what makes me proud to be a part of this team and Intel.