'Future hurtling towards us': Intel CES Asia keynote looks forward to the internet of things
Exponentially faster computer processing and wireless charging will drive the internet of things revolution, attendees at a major technology conference in Shanghai heard today.
Giving the introductory keynote at the inaugural Consumer Electronics Show Asia, Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's client computing group, said that the world was moving to a state where "everything that consumes electricity computes and communicates".
"The future is really hurtling towards us," he said, explaining that within a decade "there will be about 50 billion connected devices in the world: improving our lives, our health, saving time, and making us safer, as well as many unimagined benefits".
With the 50th anniversary of Moore's Law – the observation that computing power increases exponentially – this year, Skaugen said that Intel's button-sized Curie computer possesses more processing power than a 1990s supercomputer the size of a ballroom.
He identified one core area which will lead to widespread adoption of the internet of things: wireless charging.
"On average each person carries around six wires for various devices," Skaugen said.
Intel has adopted the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP)'s magnetic resonance standard, which can transmit power through several centimetres of wood or plastic, allowing for the creation of furniture or surfaces which can double up as wireless chargers.
Skaugen announced that Intel is partnering with Chinese home appliances company Haier to develop wireless charging solutions for the Chinese market.
Intel also demonstrated its RealSense smart camera technology, which can be used for computer security (allowing people to use their faces as their passwords), interfaces (waving a hand or making a gesture, similar to Microsoft's Kinect), and 3D modelling (scanning people, objects and rooms and building an interactive computer model of them).
Beyond the home or office, Skaugen explained that drones can use RealSense to interpret their environment and navigate by themselves, dispensing with the need for human control beyond setting a destination.
"Over time we can move this [technology] to the cameras in your phones and phablets," he said.