Intel makes landgrab for wearables and gaming but cedes space to Qualcomm in the smart home

Intel has the power to make us dream – there were truly gasps in the packed audience when Brian Krzanich CEO of Intel presented their new offerings based round gaming, health & wellness and creativity. We saw the Yuneec Typhoon H drone dodge cactuses and bushes in the Mexican desert, we jived inside to the sounds of Ar Rahman playing virtual instruments and updating his hit song Jai Ho (from Slumdog Millionaire) with the latest Intel technology, we watched 3 times IronMan champion Craig Alexander use his interactive sports and performance tracking device – he spoke to it and it responded intelligently – as an aside, why oh why can’t they sort out the voice interaction in Cortana? At the end we literally soared with a maestro performance of Beethoven’s 5th symphony lit up by a mass of drones flying in formation, breaking the Guinness book of records for the most drones controlled by one person. Watch out for it when it comes out on You Tube.

And then there is smart home which was not mentioned at all in the keynote. That was left to Qualcomm who announced at their media only press conference (yes I am griping however nicely they pushed back the industry analysts) the introduction of a Smart Home Reference Platform. It is according to their press release, “based upon the versatile Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 212 processor, that is designed to provide computing, voice recognition, audio, display, camera, connectivity, and control capabilities for home control hubs and smart speakers, extending to home appliances and multimedia devices as use cases evolve.”

The choice being made by Intel appears to be driven by the value that they can get from their silicon in devices which will be expensive and highly valued by end users – drones, advanced health devices, sporting equipment, segways, robots. There is not the same intrinsic value in the more modest household sensors which form the backbone of the smart home. Smart home only ticks two of the three big trends in computing cited by Brian Krzanich:

  • Everything is becoming smart and connected – yes
  • Sensification of computing – bringing depth and new perspective to the computing experience – no this is not a key priority for smart home
  • Computing as the “extension of you”. A big yes.

What was missing was Intel dreaming about how to make the house an extension of you. The top use case which has come out from both Smart Home surveys conducted by CONTEXT in August 2015 and December 2015 is that when I arrive home, the house is ready for me. The second is advanced security in the home and the third is a coordinated going to bed function. Imagine an Intel keynote where Mr Krzanich had showed technology where I walk into the home and talk to it, and it responds. That is the future and I suspect that others such as Qualcomm are developing the technology which will underpin that.

The results of CONTEXT’s 2nd Smart Home Survey will be previewed at the Retail CEO Breakfast at CES on 7th January. 2,500 consumers have been surveyed in France, Germany, UK and for the first time, Spain and Italy. The CONTEXT forecast for 3D printer activity in 2016 will also be presented.

CONTEXT is delighted to welcome Hans Carpels, President of Euronics, the 3rd largest ICT Retailer in the world, and Stéphane Bohbot, CEO of the innovative Lick stores based in Paris, as keynote speakers talking at the breakfast on new frontiers for ICT Retail in 2016.

by AS

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Filed under Connectivity, Home automation, Smart Technology, Wearables

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