Intel Tackles Sports, Drones And Wearables In CES Kickoff

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich kicked off the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas by demonstrating how Intel technology is moving beyond gadgets and PCs into areas such as sports, wearables and drones to foster what he called the "new era of consumer technology."

Taking the stage Tuesday evening, Krzanich laid out three trends shaping that new era: the explosion of smart and connected devices, the "sensification" of computing, and the personalization of technology.

"Products purely based on new technology are in the past," said Krzanich during a keynote address. "Technology of new experiences is the product that will be successful. We're entering a new era of consumer technology, where consumers are choosing experiences over products."

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The keynote's focus on "experiences," not products, represents a marked shift of Intel away from its usual focus -- including PCs, data centers and processors -- toward Internet of Things-based applications, smart and connected technology, and immersive gaming.

On the gaming front, Krzanich showed how Intel Skylake processors usher in a new era of gaming by allowing better performance and personalization through Intel's RealSense technology.

Intel also displayed a sports application for the Intel Curie Compute Module, a software platform for wearable products, unveiled at CES last year.

Krzanich demonstrated how Curie, which will ship in volume in the coming quarter, can be employed by BMX bikers to recognize accelerator patterns and record biking tricks, such as the tail whip, in real time.

Intel also revealed a bevy of partnerships, including a deal with Red Bull Media House for real-time statistics in athletic applications and a partnership with New Balance to enhance experiences through wearables and digital Intel technology.

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On the industrial front, Intel showed off the Daqri Smart Helmet, which begins shipping Tuesday from the Los Angeles-based manufacturer. Powered by a Skylake Core m7 processor and Intel RealSense technology, this smart helmet notifies workers in the industrial space of potential dangers.

Intel also showed off the Yuneec Typhoon H consumer drone, manufactured by Yuneec Electric Aviation, Jiangsu, China, which is priced under $2,000. The drone can react to obstacles in real time, according to Intel, using Intel RealSense technology and an Intel CPU. Furthermore, Intel showed, users can track their drones in real time through a built-in display on the machine.

IoT is a growing market for Intel, as the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's IoT group grew 11 percent in the first quarter of 2015, compared with the same quarter a year before.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel system builder, was enthusiastic about Intel's innovations in the coming year, including the company's 3-D Xpoint technology.

"We are very excited to learn more about Optane and Intel’s 3-D Xpoint technology in terms of how that might be used for products other than SSD," said Tibbils. "We think this is very promising and exciting for 2016."

The Consumer Electronics Show, starting officially Wednesday, will showcase an array of connected devices and Internet of Things application products.