Intel Lifts Curtain On New Joule Module, A Game-Changer For The Internet Of Things

Intel Tuesday placed even more bets on the Internet of Things with the introduction of its Joule platform, a module built for IoT applications by packing a high-performance system-on-module into a low-power package.

The maker board enables users to take a concept from prototype into production at a ’fraction of the time and development cost,’ according to Intel.

’The future starts with the Internet of Things … the boundary between digital and physical is eroding toward a world where computing is truly mobile. If you start to count the number of computers in your life today, it is constantly increasing and everything is truly smart and connected,’ said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich during a keynote at Intel Developer Forum, which kicks off in San Francisco this week.

[Related: Intel, Microsoft Join Forces To Bring Virtual Reality Platform To Windows 10 PCs]

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Joule is available in two models – the 550x and the higher-performance 570x – and the developer kit will begin shipping in September through Intel partners.

According to Intel, Joule features high-end compute, 4K video and large memory capabilities, as well as support for RealSense technology and other Intel software tools.

Krzanich showed off an Internet of Things application as part of Intel’s Joule platform, pairing the module with French company Pivothead’s industrial safety glasses to monitor tasks performed by a factory operator.

This technology enables the glasses to provide immediate audio feedback for real-time quality control, as well as visual assistance.

Krzanich said the new technology positions Intel as a critical backbone component to all parts of the Internet of Things.

’The Internet of Things needs computing at the end, in the middle and in the cloud – and we believe Intel technology will make all of this possible,’ said Krzanich.

The Internet of Things has become an increased focus for Intel in the past year, as the company shifts its strategy to become more of a cloud, data center and connectivity source and lessens its dependence on its more traditional area of focus, the PC market.

This shift was reflected at Krzanich’s Intel Developer Forum keynote, during which the company typically unveils its newest desktop processors. This year, however, the CEO focused on technologies as they relate to computing visual and virtual experiences.

Partners, for their part, are interested in learning more about the various applications and opportunities as part of the internet of Things.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel system builder partner, said Intel's strength likes in the building blocks.

’I don’t think Intel has IoT products, but has building blocks or components or elements that people would use to create a finished IoT product,’ he said. ’It seems … important for channel partners to learn how to monetize IoT.’

Intel also unveiled its Knowledge Builder Toolkit, which enables developers to create intelligent sensing applications that run directly on Intel’s low-power Curie module solution for wearables. The toolkit will be available in the first quarter of 2017, according to Intel.