Driving 5G and a Smart World Through a Collaborative Ecosystem

The power and promise of collaboration were on full display at the Smart China Expo this week, as Intel and our partners and customers demonstrated the momentum of 5G as it enables a smart, connected world.

The expo delivered beautifully on its theme, “Smart Technology: Empowering Economy, Enriching Life,” and we at Intel are proud to be part of a vibrant ecosystem that is transforming networks to enable unprecedented experiences and services fueled by 5G, edge, and AI. That collaborative ecosystem was visible everywhere, from the exhibition hall to the auditorium stage. And I want to thank Chongqing Executive Vice Mayor Cunrong Wu for inviting me to give one of the keynote addresses.

Intel’s focus always begins with our customers, and in today’s new data-centric era we want to help them seize the resulting business opportunities: from the rapid growth of cloud services and edge computing, to the emergence and adoption of artificial intelligence, and the transition to intelligent 5G networks.

In my keynote, I talked about our ecosystem’s enormous market opportunity in the necessary transformation of network infrastructure, where Intel itself has grown 40% in the last 4 years. Right now, 5G is beginning to unleash new ways to use computing—not only offering speed and performance, but also low latency and reliability to deliver capabilities that today’s network cannot. For example, companies will enable new safe ways to use robotics in factories, even working side by side with humans. We’ll enjoy entirely new experiences in many types of new media, including cloud gaming, video streaming and augmented reality—more broadly and affordably than ever before. And healthcare providers will be able to seamlessly incorporate computing, AI and sensors for better patient monitoring.

Technology gives us tools to change the world, but it’s through collaboration that we change our work and our lives: collaboration among industry partners, our customers, and the local governments that are often so essential to the development and delivery of new capabilities for businesses and consumers.

Collaboration is also at the heart of the Intel FPGA China Innovation Center, which we launched last year to foster incubation and to advance the FPGA expertise needed to accelerate Cloud applications and performance—we expect to train more than 10,000 developers in FPGA programming and other related software. Supporting and leveraging the innovation center are a diverse group of partners and customers including the local government, top Cloud service providers, and universities. The center’s Cloud Acceleration Lab, for example, plays a big role in Intel’s work with Alibaba, Meituan and Kuaishou.

The center also sparks innovation through competitions, and the first FPGA Innovation Global Competition attracted more than 400 teams from 11 countries. The teams’ focus areas were amazingly broad and diverse, including natural language processing, computer/machine vision, artificial intelligence chips, big data, face recognition, and data visualization, with applications across all industry sectors. The ultimate champion is a team from Corerain Technologies, focused on AI acceleration.

The innovation center is helping our ecosystem to leverage the flexibility of FPGA-as-a-service to deliver new capabilities, create new experiences, and realize the promise of the intelligent society—where 5G and edge help complete the convergence of computing and communications to make computing truly pervasive.

Central to 5G momentum is our work with such partners as China Telecom (collaboration on network transformation), China Mobile (working together on smart campuses and building 5G era edge computing ecosystems), and H3C (collaborating on network function virtualization).

With our infrastructure partners we’re accelerating the deployment of 5G and multi-access edge computing (MEC). With Tencent we’re focused on a 5G Internet-of-Vehicle initiative and have launched a 5G+MEC joint lab in Shenzhen. With Baidu we’re focusing on vertical industries with a 5G+MEC+AI joint lab. Working with Alibaba, Intel became the first strategic partner of the AliOS intelligent transportation program as we develop intelligent vehicle frameworks.

Edge innovations are accelerating rapidly—and making great demands for the movement, storage and processing of data. For example, a smart retail store can generate terabytes of data every day from many Internet-of-things (IOT) devices and require an on-premise IOT edge node for the collection and analysis of the enormous amounts of data. Manufacturing offers similar examples.

Intel’s top to bottom and scalable technology offerings for edge and 5G cover this ground and more, ranging from on-premise edge solutions (Atom SoC and Xeon-D processors) to radio access and network edge (like the Snow Ridge for 5G base stations coming later this year) to next-generation central office and core network (Xeon-SP processors) and network application building blocks, such as edge software development tools like OpenVINO, OpenNESS and Open Visual Cloud.

In recent years we have built upon our heritage as a PC-centric leader to become a data-centric technology company—and redefining computing from a device-based activity to a pervasive capability. That transformation has paralleled the convergence of computing and communications that’s accelerated by 5G. And that convergence means that essentially every part of Intel is contributing to the kinds of innovations visible at the expo.

So when I walked the floor of the Expo, I didn’t just see Intel’s network organization. I saw all of Intel—with our broadest-ever portfolio of hardware, software and solutions. And I saw a remarkable community of partners, customers, innovative start-ups, and local governments. All of us collaborating to advance technology and apply it to our work and our lives—a vibrant ecosystem focused on the big-picture promise of 5G: a smart, connected world where computing and intelligence are fluid, pervasive, and immediate.

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Dan McNamara

About Dan McNamara

Daniel (Dan) McNamara is senior vice president and general manager of the Network and Custom Logic Group (NCLG) at Intel Corporation. In this role, McNamara leads a global organization that delivers maximum value for Intel’s customers across the Cloud, Enterprise, Network/5G, Embedded, and IOT markets. He is responsible for the group’s product lines and business strategies, focused on powering a broad portfolio of Intel products that includes Xeon, SoC, FPGA, eASIC, Full custom, software, IP, Systems and solutions. McNamara joined Intel in December 2015, upon close of Intel’s acquisition of Altera Corporation, where he served in various leadership roles, including vice president and general manager of Altera’s Embedded Division. McNamara has more than 25 years of experience in the semiconductor industry. Prior to Intel and Altera, McNamara served as director of Sales at StargGen Inc. and as co-founder and vice president of startup Semitech Solutions Inc. McNamara received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in electrical engineering, from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.​