In the realm of innovation, technology frontrunner Intel Corp seeks to take Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity from nascency to wide-scale deployment.
This is the view of Rod O’Shea, Intel’s director for EMEA and IoT who discussed the burgeoning technology paradigm with Clean Energy Pipeline.
IoT, which involves the interconnection of devices in the cloud, is a crucial consideration in the energy sector, where the more precise our knowledge of energy flows is, the better our ability to control our energy usage.
‘One of the things Intel is working on in IoT is working through the hype around [it],’ said O’Shea. ‘IoT is currently top of the hype curve. We are making sure that this leads to real things being deployed.’
Intel has invested significantly in customer engagement and innovation, particularly in the field of IoT. The company set up an IoT Ignition Lab in the UK in mid-2014 to support the development of IoT projects in the field of smart cities.
As a provider of advanced integrated circuit and digital technology products for the computing and communications industries, the firm is well placed to leverage its knowledge and experience to help kickstart innovation in the IoT space.
‘We have launched [innovation labs] in a number of locations in EMEA,’ O’Shea said. ‘The aim is to work with customers to deliver deployable solutions. We have also been working on some grid solutions.
‘The focus is on simple IoT solutions; we are taking breakthrough solutions that we are able to replicate in labs globally. The challenge we have in the deployment of IoT is that the business benefit can be hard to understand. Intel is reinventing some of these solutions and showing people what is possible.’
Intel is able to help spur the development of new solutions by drawing on its ecosystem of partners and customers.
O’Shea said: ‘Intel has a number of ways we can work helping deploy solutions through matchmaking; using our ecosystem of part of customers that want to deploy things and partners that can help to deploy solutions, [or through] Intel Capital Investment.’
Intel seeks to reinvent IoT solutions to make them accessible to businesses, according to the Intel executive. Its Intelligent Gateways, for example, connect equipment securely to the cloud, addressing manageability and security challenges.
‘If you look at an energy network it is far less precise,’ O’Shea said. ‘Being able to collaborate with intelligence allows you to be more precise on the state of the network. Adding intelligence to the grid is a key step. It is much better to do so now because we have the ability to add intelligence to enable us to run the grid.
‘We see benefit in that avenue (IoT). The combination makes it very appealing. Intel likes to drive solutions to deployment. There is a lot of innovation (solutions for deployment), but they are not very well defined. Where we can, we replicate across different areas.’
Intel has worked with power companies such as E.ON to help make substations more intelligent. In making the energy grid more intelligent, its IoT solutions allow grid operators to control the flow of energy through a substation more precisely.
‘Production distribution is very interesting,’ O’Shea said. ‘Understanding the state of the grid is critical for the industry. Having more intelligence allows us to provide better information. This is a key target for IoT.
‘We work through OEMs that directly deliver solutions to the grid. We are moving to end-to-end IP solutions. Intel provides building blocks for the significant part. The key thing is ensuring understanding for the need of an end-to-end IP network and using IoT to deliver those solutions.’
O’Shea advised that grids should be made intelligent and secure from the point at which they are developed, instead of interconnectedness being an after-thought.
‘As you add IP intelligence to the grid you can control the flow of energy through a substation more precisely,’ he said. ‘Any IP network potentially has that exposure. Ensure all points are secure – from the endpoint through to the computer – so as you add intelligence you think about intelligence not as an after-thought. You can have a network connected securely and get benefits. Security cannot be an afterthought.’
Intel’s focus on making devices deployable is significant, as it wants to help develop an ecosystem of IoT technologies and interconnected devices.
‘Part of solving a major issue is getting to real business deployment, making sure those technologies are well understood and deployable,’ O’Shea said. ‘We want to ensure we work with customers that are part of the ecosystem to ensure technology is deployed.
‘Making sure we have a place where innovation can be driven but also so we can bring in the best technologies that are being deployed globally. Having volume deployment [of IoT would be a ’great goal’].’
The firm is a technology partner of the Cognicity Challenge, a competition that was launched in late 2014 at Canary Wharf in London, UK, to stimulate IoT, connected home and other smart city technologies.
‘We think this model where you have an avenue for deployment is great,’ O’Shea said. ‘It shows a real interest to deploy solutions. The model works with invention startups. It is a very powerful idea. You work on solving very specific business problems.
‘We invest in companies that support our goals. The saving with Cognicity is identifying technology that can be deployed and working with businesses to ensure they do. The first step is the whole energy distribution area.’
For more information, Rod O’Shea, director of EMEA and IoT at Intel, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on www.cleanenergypipeline.com a clean energy news service operated by VB Research, a sister publication to The Engineer. The reporter, Jessica Mills Davies, can be reached at email@example.com.