Intel has continued its strides into the IoT market through the acquisition of Itseez, a computer vision and machine learning company.
Itseez, which was founded by two former Intel employees, specializes in computer vision algorithms and implementations, which can be used for a number of different applications, including autonomous driving, digital security and surveillance, and industrial inspection. The Itseez inclusion bolsters Intel’s capabilities to develop technology which electronically perceive and understand images.
“As the Internet of Things evolves, we see three distinct phases emerging,” said Doug Davis, GM for the Internet of Things Group at Intel. “The first is to make everyday objects smart – this is well underway with everything from smart toothbrushes to smart car seats now available. The second is to connect the unconnected, with new devices connecting to the cloud and enabling new revenue, services and savings. New devices like cars and watches are being designed with connectivity and intelligence built into the device.
“The third is just emerging when devices will require constant connectivity and will need the intelligence to make real-time decisions based on their surroundings. This is the ‘autonomous era’, and machine learning and computer vision will become critical for all kinds of machines – cars among them.”
The acquisition bolsters Intel’s capabilities in the potentially lucrative IoT segment, as the company continues its efforts to diversify its reach and enter into new growth markets. Last month, CEO Brian Krzanich outlined the organizations new strategy which is split into five sections; cloud technology, IoT, memory and programmable solutions, 5G and developing new technologies under the concept of Moore’s law. Efforts have focused around changing the perception of Intel from a PCs and mobile devices brand, to one which is built on a foundation of emerging technologies.
Intel’s move would appear to have made the decision of innovation through acquisition is a safer bet than organic, in-house innovation. There have been a small number of examples of organic diversification; Apple’s iPhone is one example, though the safer bet to move away from core competence is through acquisition.
Intel has dipped its toe into organic diversification, as it attempted to develop a portfolio of chips for mobile devices, though this would generally not be considered a successful venture, similar to Google’s continued efforts to organically grow into social, which could be seen as stuttering. On the contrary, Google’s advertising revenues now account for $67.39 billion (2015), with its platform being built almost entirely on acquisitions. The AdSense and Adwords services have been built and bolstered through various purchases including Applied Semantics ($102 million in 2003), dMarc Broadcasting ($102 million in 2006), DoubleClick ($3.1 billion in 2007), AdMob ($750 million in 2009) and Admeld ($400 million in 2011).
While diversification through acquisition can be seen as the safer, more practical and efficient means to move into new markets, it is by no means a guaranteed strategy. Intel’s strategy could be seen as a sensible option as there are far more examples off successful diversification through acquisition compared to organic growth. The jury is still out on Intel’s position in the IoT market but there are backing the tried and tested route to diversification.