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The Smart & Connected to the Cloud World: 2016 and Beyond

The global robotics and AI market is estimated to grow to $153 billion by 2020, which includes $83 billion for robotics and $70 billion for AI-based analytics.

By James Nunns

In 2016, people have witnessed the digital and physical worlds continuing to merge as everyday objects, commercial and industrial equipment, and entire cities become smart and connected to the cloud.

Analysts expect that by 2020 more than 50 billion devices – wearables, store inventory sensors, autonomous vehicles, medical equipment, city infrastructure and more – will be connected to the internet and each other.

And people’s relationship with technology – how it is used, the experiences it enables and what benefits people derive from it – are beginning to shift dramatically.

Not since the transition from analog to digital has there been the potential for transformation of this magnitude: Networks are evolving faster than ever before to accommodate the intense bandwidth demands created by the ever-growing number of always-on, connected devices to access, analyze and share data in real time.

In 2016, Intel has been working with policymakers, the industry and industrial leaders to focus on four areas that will help spur innovation and enable more rapid transformation, leading to greater and new opportunities for industries and consumers: artificial intelligence, 5G networks, automated driving and virtual reality/merged reality.


Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already all around us, from the commonplace (talk-to-text, photo tagging and fraud detection) to the cutting-edge (precision medicine, injury prediction and autonomous cars). AI will enable machines to augment human capabilities, automate tedious or dangerous tasks, unleash scientific discovery, and address challenging societal problems.

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  • 2016

o   Aug. 6: Intel signs an agreement to acquire Nervana Systems, a recognized leader in deep learning.

o   Nov. 17: Intel announces how new products, technologies and investments from the edge to the data center will expand and accelerate the growth of AI. 

  • 2017

o   Technology will become more cost-effective and pervasive, new applications will emerge across a wide range of industries, creating efficiencies for businesses and consumers.

o   The technology supporting some nascent AI applications, such as natural language processing and bots will greatly improve, paving the way for more widespread adoption of AI.

o   Machine and deep learning will become more acutely integrated into IoT connected devices, which will uncover access to a deeper layer of insights.

o   Intel will introduce three Intel Nervana platform products built for speed and ease of use, enabling more data professionals to solve the world’s biggest challenges on industry standard technology. The products include:

  • A breakthrough technology from Nervana Systems tested in first silicon (code-named “Lake Crest”) in the first half of 2017 and made available to customers later in the year for neural networks to deliver the highest performance for deep learning and offering unprecedented compute density with a high-bandwidth interconnect.
  • A new product (code-named “Knights Crest”) that tightly integrates best-in-class Intel Xeon processors with the technology from Nervana Systems.
  • The next generation of Intel Xeon Phi processors (code-named “Knights Mill”), which will deliver up to 4x better performance than the previous generation for deep learning.3

More than just a faster network, 5G is expected to deliver extremely low latency combined with incredibly high bandwidth, which means the ability to manage an unprecedented demand for data and more connected devices. Powerful, agile networks can also route network traffic intelligently to give priority to safety-critical devices, such as self-driving cars and medical wearables. In geographical areas where connected infrastructure is not as fast or reliable as needed, 5G will also open a world of possibilities currently unavailable.

The global 5G network is expected to support an estimated 100 billion devices.4

  • 2016

o   Feb. 5: Intel debuts its Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform at Mobile World Congress. 

o   July 14: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approves a plan for implementing 5G in the U.S.

o   Dec. 6: Intel announces a partnership with AT&T and Ericsson to launch the first 5G business customer trial.

  • 2017

o   5G will continue move from conception and testing to meaningful plans for deployment, accelerating support across the industry.

o   The need for faster connectivity will increase pressure for the industry to align around global standards with IEEE and 3GPP and address key challenges around interoperability, backward compatibility and future proofing.


Automated Driving

Automated driving will change our lives and societies: The car of the future means significantly reduced accidents, mobility for many and reduced congestion in the world’s most polluted cities.

The global market for fully autonomous vehicles could reach $42 billion by 2025; self-driving cars may claim one-quarter of worldwide auto sales by 2035.5

  • 2016

o  July 1: BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye announce a collaboration to bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production by 2021.

o  Nov. 15: Intel Capital announces $250 million of additional new investments over the next two years to make fully autonomous driving a reality.

  • 2017

o  Significant advancements will be made to further the operation of driverless cars but also advance every part of the infrastructure – from connectivity to use of AI to data processing.

o  More companies will enter the autonomous driving market, new partnerships and collaborative efforts will emerge, and a call for standardization across the industry.

o  The industry will continue to learn through trial and error, but 2017 will mark the first year that automated systems in cars gain mainstream access, such as through advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or automated ride-sharing fleets.


Virtual Reality/Merged Reality

Where today’s experiences rely on engagement with a screen, tomorrow’s will completely immerse users though sight, sound and touch. The next frontier of compute will empower people to build, solve, create and play in a world where the barrier is diminished between the physical and virtual worlds. Virtual technologies hold tremendous potential for the future, but industries have only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible.

  • 2016

o  Aug. 16: Intel unveils Project Alloy, an all-in-one virtual reality solution.

o  Nov. 3: Intel announces it has acquired VOKE*, a leader in live, VR experiences to deliver immersive sports experiences for athletes, fans and content producers.

o  Dec. 7: Intel and Microsoft announce the specs for Windows Holographic.

  • 2017

o  VR experiences will move beyond the nascent phases in industries like healthcare, education and travel, employing the latest in VR technology to create fully immersive experiences.

o  Technology and sports will become even more deeply integrated in the next year, transforming the way people train, watch and interact with sports.

o  Merged reality, a new way of experiencing physical and virtual interactions and environments, will come to the forefront with five technological advances (6 degrees of mobility, integrated tracking, more natural manipulation, untethered, digitized real-world content) and is expected to come to market in holiday 2017. 

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