In recent conversations with Intel customers, two words kept coming up: disruption and opportunity.
Disruption because almost every single executive I talk with has seen business disrupted in one way or another or is worried about keeping up with new technology trends and keeping a competitive edge.
And opportunity because when these customers discuss their needs — be it how to better leverage data, how to modernize their infrastructure for 5G or how to accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics workloads — they realize the massive prospects in front of them.
To help our customers capitalize on the opportunities ahead, Intel has created a new organization that combines our network infrastructure organization with our programmable solutions organization under my leadership. This new organization is called the Network and Custom Logic Group.
Both original organizations executed on record design wins and revenues in 2018. Their merger allows Intel to bring maximum value to our customers by delivering unprecedented and seamless access to Intel’s broad portfolio of products, from Intel® Xeon® processors SoC, FPGA, eASIC, full-custom ASIC, software, IP, and systems and solutions across the cloud, enterprise, network, embedded and IoT markets. To that end, FPGA and custom silicon will continue to be important horizontal technologies. And this is just the beginning of a continuum of Custom Logic Portfolio of FPGA, eASIC, and ASIC to support our customers’ unique needs throughout their life cycles. No other company in the world can offer that.
Going back to what’s top of mind for customers, 5G is one area where both disruption and opportunity are mentioned in the same sentence.
Not just another “G,” or generation, of wireless, 5G will unleash new ways to use computing – not only offering speed and performance, but also low latency and reliability that ensure some of the capabilities that today’s network cannot deliver. For example, with this ultra-reliable low latency (URLL), companies can enable new safe ways to use robotics in factories, even working side by side with humans, and secure machine-to-machine communications. 5G will also greatly enhance the way we enjoy entertainment and media, and will help healthcare providers do their jobs more efficiently, incorporating computing, AI and sensors for better patient monitoring. All of these new applications will benefit from the intersection of communications and computing at the edge.
AI is another area where we have seen significant progress in the past two years. Customers who were just starting to run pilots a few years ago are now deploying AI across their entire organizations. As we have said in the past, our approach to enable AI is to leverage the breadth of our assets while working with our customers to solve their specific needs.
Let me share a few examples of companies that are innovating with Intel’s portfolio today:
• Global e-commerce giant Rakuten is building the world’s first1 cloud-native mobile network using high-performance Intel Xeon processors across data centers, core network and radio access network, along with FPGAs. It will also be moving some of its computing to the network edge for fast speeds and delivery of applications and rich media content with near zero latency.
• With partners and customers like AT&T, we have developed network solutions that have enabled service providers to largely move from proprietary appliances to standard Intel architecture-based servers, running virtual network functions as software, improving operational efficiencies.
• Microsoft is another example of a company that has invested in machine learning with FPGAs at the edge. By leveraging several image classification and recognition models using deep neural networks built on the Azure Machine Learning service, it can now run with FPGA hardware acceleration in Azure on production services. This allows Microsoft to access hardware at scale with FPGAs, FPGA appliances (like the Azure Data Box Edge) and CPUs.
• I’m excited to serve our customers in this new role. With a focus on customers, a passion for our technology, and a commitment to learn, we have built a very successful, profitable and growing business for Intel. And I believe the best is yet to come.
Dan McNamara is senior vice president and general manager of the Network and Custom Logic Group at Intel Corporation.