Intel’s bet on IoT devices
Earlier in this series, we saw that Intel (INTC) may be losing market share to TSMC (TSM) and Qualcomm (QCOM) with the mobile revolution. Its x86-based Atom processors could not compete with ARM processors in smartphones and other mobile devices. Many analysts have stated that ARM and Qualcomm are better positioned than Intel to tap IoT (Internet of Things) devices, which require low-power processors.
In 2016, Intel acquired Movidius, which had designed the Myriad coprocessor for smartphones and other mobile devices at the time. Movidius has now enhanced its Myriad X to become a standalone, neural compute-capable processor. Myriad X is Intel’s best bet to dominate the IoT device market, bringing AI (artificial intelligence) to the device level.
Intel’s Myriad X VPU
The Myriad X is a VPU (visual processing unit) that brings AI to consumer gadgets that use cameras, such as surveillance cameras, drones, domestic and industrial robots, autonomous cars, video chat appliances, smartphones, computers, and smart TVs. Unlike NVIDIA’s (NVDA) Tesla GPU (graphics processing unit), which provides AI in the data center, the Myriad X uses visually captured data to perform behavior analysis and facial recognition with the help of deep learning.
Potential market for the Myriad X
The first and most obvious use of the Myriad X is in surveillance cameras, which can use facial recognition and behavior analysis to secure people and property. Goldstein Research expects the global surveillance market to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 15.0% to $76.8 billion by 2024. In the long term, the Myriad X may be adopted in the personal and commercial drones industry, which is expected to have annual sales of over $12 billion by 2021.
Intel has realized that VPUs will play a key role in AI as the world moves towards visual computing. PCs (personal computers), smartphones, TVs, and cars would all run on visual computing, and the Myriad X will power this type of computing. At present, Intel dominates the data center processor market. With the Myriad X, Intel could become a major chip supplier for VSaaS (video surveillance-as-a-service) cloud operators. Intel is also making advances in neuromorphic and quantum computing, which we’ll discuss in the next part.