Intel Developer’s Forum kicks off this week and there is a little event put on by Intel Labs called Day 0. This event is typically a showcase for devices developed by Intel Labs, although this year it served to get us ready for an unexpected announcement by Santa Clara regarding a new product line called Quark.
There are two very interesting things about Quark: It will go places Intel has never gone before and is also a flanking move on ARM.
Quark is the foundation of Intel’s effort to go after what Cisco calls the coming Internet of Things (IoT) and connect what has never been connected before. From here on I’m going to talk about the future that Intel was thinking of, one that is very different than our mobile present, and what you have to keep in mind is Quark is primary technology Intel will be using to drive their effort.
A Quarky Future
This is about sensors and ever smarter connected things. For example, imagine a bed that could sense your mood and energy level, determine if you felt hot or cold, and could automatically, while you are sleeping, alter how it was warmed, cooled or what sonic vibrations it produced to provide the perfect sleeping experience. You’d no longer wake up hot or cold, you’d more easily fall and stay asleep and you’d awake more rested with less necessary time lost than ever before.
Now think of a car that not only could track items like rapid pressure loss, but also sense the tire had been compromised before it actually lost air or noted that coolant was dropping in your radiator and notify you of a problem before the red light on your dash told you that you were soon going to be on foot.
Or how about a pet door that recognized your pet, without a special color that they often lose, and kept out that occasional feral male who likes to bring new scents and stains to your furniture, or perhaps even the raccoon who raids your pantry and leave it in pieces?
This also means wearable devices capable of sensing moods and alerting you about being overly tired, angry, or impaired. These devices could also alert folks you trusted and provide a custom alert before you got into trouble or did something you would later regret, likely because someone else has a a cell phone camera and a Facebook account handy.
Imagine something like a Fitbit (a popular device I use to monitor my physical activity) on steroids that can not only more effectively and accurately monitor the calories you are burning and should you have a critical problem like a heart attack would automatically alert out, often before the actual event, that you need help. In addition, it would push to your personal device what you need to do to stay alive.
Chairs and car seats that reform themselves around your unique wants and needs, smart locks that know to let you in and that someone that isn’t authorized should be blocked but will capture a record of the attempt in case the potential burglar finds a way around the lock.
What I’m generally talking about is a new world where the things that surround you are aware and can alter themselves to better please you. Rental cars that adjust everything from seats to radios as you approach them, directional lighting designed to guide you to your unique seat in a theater.
I think this new world is compelling and more important, it isn’t a place where ARM isn’t and if Intel can get critical mass for ARM can lock it up, this is also place where you are virtually never alone. It is a place as removed from today as the Dark Ages were removed from the early 1930s. In short, if Intel is successful, products like Siri will go from interesting to assuring every aspect of our lives are safer, more comfortable, and far more aware than we can even imagine today.
I don’t know about you, but that is a future that is worth waiting for. By the way, and as a side note, this is the first time since Steve Jobs came back to Apple that Intel actually overshadowed Apple with a magical technology. Hmm, maybe the world has already changed.