Intel Partners Tout Vertical Solutions To Pave The Way In IoT Market

The Internet of Things took the forefront during the Intel Solutions Summit last week, as partners showed off innovative solutions in retail, transportation and other vertical markets.

Chris O'Malley, director of mobility marketing at Intel, stressed that it was critical for partners to tap into niche markets to drive new opportunities in the Internet-of-Things space.

"There's so many opportunities for technology providers in the channel that they're going to come up with all different sorts of things," he said. "That's truly where most of the innovation happens. There's so many small businesses in very focused areas that can come out with great solutions. That's what I think is going to happen. What you will see next year here, building on our platform will be much more interesting than it is now."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Intel VP Tichelman On Vertical Opportunities, New Incentives, Skylake And Windows 10]

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Partners can tap into specific verticals to reap the benefits of the Internet of Things through their solutions, including transportation, energy, health care, industrial, retail and smart buildings.

Intel hopes to expand its IoT-focused partners' presence in the vertical market by offering extended specialty benefits in the Internet of Things-retail vertical, giving partners vertical market branding, technical resources to close complex deals, and highly specialized education and training.

National Instruments, an Intel partner based in Austin, Texas, sees end users utilizing their products for manufacturing-specific Internet-of-Things functions, such as factory automation solutions or smart grids, which are electrical grids that gather information about the behavior of consumers or suppliers.

"We're trying to make sure that we're enabling scientists and engineers to be more efficient at the jobs that they do," said Mark Wetzel, engineer with National Instruments, at ISS. "And we do that by taking mainstream technology and applying it to the industry. We have products that are designed to accommodate needs of people who say, 'The PC is great, but I don't like the form factor.'"

Intel powers the Internet of Things through its portfolio of SoCs, such as the Intel Quark SoC x1000 and Intel Atom Processor E3826, which make up intelligent gateways to collect sensor data at the network edge.

These gateways then act as a filter to analyze and normalize data for sharing through the network and into the cloud.

Intel also offers reference designs for IoT solutions, such as digital signage. On display at ISS was Shapedmedia's line of POP sports boards, which offer entry-level digital-signage solutions from GIGABYTE built on the Intel Reference Design for Digital Signage platform.

These boards are targeted at the millennial audience and are digitally equipped to allow brands to deliver and manage engaging, dynamic content from anywhere through a unique form factor.

For Intel's part, O'Malley stressed that the company was focusing on sectors like security, data normalization, analytics, connectivity and device discovery to help enable partners so that companies can monetize the Internet of Things. "We built that architecture into our platforms; that’s what unlocks the value for all these other vendors. They don't have to concentrate on everything there -- they can focus on their very specific areas," he said.

Columbia, Md.-based Eurotech specializes in solutions for the Internet of Things transportation vertical market.

Eurotech's solution is a horizontal Internet-of-Things-based platform, which captures the data coming into the gateway, feeds it into various cloud platforms, takes data from different sources and makes it available to different back-end systems.

For example, in the IoT transportation space, Eurotech deploys passenger counters through stereoscopic vision technology, which keeps data of passengers entering and departing public transportation vehicles.

This technology can be used to monitor service quality, optimize vehicle loads across regions or time periods, and validate passenger counts to justify payments.

"The whole idea here is that back in the old M2M days, one sensor would get to one system, and now with these platforms we're able to take data from different sensors into different systems up in the enterprise," said Hilary Tomasson, vice president of Marketing at Eurotech North America. "So the idea is really to make it more useful and get really strong insights out of the data from different sources, and to be able to change how you use the data in the future."

Like Intel's strong Data Center Group, the company's Internet of Things group grew in the first quarter ended April 14, as the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company reported a revenue increase of 11 percent year-over-year at $533 million.