Three earth-shattering announcements from Intel Developer Forum 2016
We went to the 2016 Intel Developer Forum (IDF) to see what innovations could be in the pipes for computing, and we came away nothing short of impressed. Intel had some major announcements to make, and they also engaged in some fairly motivating thought leadership around the adoption of 5G.
Learn more about what Intel had to say and what they revealed to the world by reading on.
5G is the only way forward, says Intel
According to Intel GM of 5G Business and Technology, Rob Topol, IoT ambitions for connected device networks cannot survive without a boost in communications standards — the proverbial “5G.”
Our networks are carrying heavier burdens than ever before. Analytics and real time actions require faster wireless networks and more data centers closer to the source of the data. The solution for Intel is not to dial back, but to push forward by expanding on what wireless networks are capable of. In their mind, 5G is the next generation of mobile network and is the only way that data centers and networks can keep up with the pace of data growth. For instance, autonomous driving cars are now dumping streaming data loads at a rate of 3TB a day. Previous standards lack the ability to transmit data reliably and efficiently from sensors positioned farther and farther apart.
A few technologies at the core of future 5G networks are Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN). NFV enables network functions to be programmed via software, in a virtualized environment, instead of through proprietary hardware. While SDN separates the control plane and forward functions enabling network control to be directly programmable. The result is an architecture that is dynamic, manageable cost-effective and adaptable. These are key to future 5G networks as they are well suited to the dynamic computing and storage needs of carrier and data center environments. Intel currently has trials running in China with 5G software-defined networks running on Intel Xeon.
Another shift in 5G networks will be from proprietary to standard compute elements. To this point, networks are populated with proprietary hardware that is not agile or able to scale at the rate that 5G networks with require. Future data centers networks will be built from largely standard compute elements that offer increased efficiency, agility and flexibility.
Intel launches first silicon photonics transceivers
After 16 years in the pipe, Intel refined a silicon photonics transceiver. This revolutionary technology finally gets a public release in the form of Intel’s 100G QSFP28 transceivers.
Silicon photonics devices allow for rapid 100 Gb/s speeds over existing fiber optic deployments. As data centers look to affordably replace copper wire with something that can reliably transmit data over long ranges, silicon photonics will increasingly present a more enticing option. Intel hopes that the technology will also help drive adoption of high-speed fabrics like 100G Omnipath or Ethernet, all while lowering the cost per port.
Looking further into the future, silicon photonics could provide the transceiver technology needed to attain 400 Gb/s over fabric.
Reality bends with virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies
ManyVR products hit the market this year, even as tech companies struggle to develop practical use cases for the technology. At the same time, augmented reality features in popular apps like Pokemon Go and Snapchat pave a path for intuitive adoption of other AR applications.
Intel is well suited to this market, using its strengths to develop sensors and embedded modules. Looking to explore these niches and expand them, companies like Intel and Microsoft are transforming VR and AR into what they call “MR,” — Merged or Mixed Reality. Microsoft’s Holographic provides the best example. The technology, which can utilize a head mounted display (HMD) or a MR-ready PC, allows for VR content projection and interaction with a translucent AR overlay that prevents complete visual obstruction.
Intel themselves announced their release of Project Alloy, a wireless MR HMD that can operate without the need for a phone or PC to power it. Efforts like these provide the momentum needed to push these initiatives one step closer to mainstream consumer adoption.
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