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Intel targets latest Atom at IoT

Steve Rogerson
October 27, 2016
Intel announced at this week’s IoT Word Congress in Barcelona the latest generation of Atom processors for IoT applications.
The Atom E3900 processors are designed from the ground up to support the rapid development and the growing complexity of IoT businesses. The result, says Intel, is a processor capable of delivering on performance, processing and scalability.
“Inside its compact form factor, customers can achieve new levels of security, determinism, and image and video processing power,” said Ken Caviasca, vice president of Intel’s IoT group. “This will help fuel innovative IoT applications across industrial, video, manufacturing, retail and more. The Intel Atom A3900 series will specifically provide automotive-grade, in-vehicle experiences, with more details to come in 2017.”
The E3900 series aims to make the edge and fog more intelligent, enabling many of the processing needs to take place at or near the data sensor and alleviating the need to push all processing to the data centre. Fog computing, also known as fog networking, is a decentralised computing infrastructure in which computing resources and application services are distributed in the most logical place at any point from the data source to the cloud.
As an example, consider traffic cams and sensor data. There are significant downsides to sending data to a server for analysis, such as loss due to video compression and time spent in travel, versus having the ability to process data at the device. In the automotive industry, the software-defined cockpit is also where this edge computing capability can make a difference.
The ability for a single system to drive the digital gauges, navigation and advance driver assist functions is the trend. It is important that backup sensors, bird's-eye view parking or side collision alter function in a reliable response time, regardless of what the media or navigation system is doing at that time.
With more than 1.7 times more computing power over the previous generation, the E3900 is designed to enable faster memory speeds and memory bandwidth to provide the efficient processing capability needed for edge to cloud network computing. Built into a compact flip chip ball grid array and featuring 14nm silicon technology, the processor suits a wide range of IoT applications, where scalable performance, space and power are at a premium.
The processor uses Intel's ninth-generation graphics engine that improves 3D graphics performance by 2.9 times over the previous generation, and supports as many as three independent displays. It has four vector image processing units, resulting in better visibility, quality video in low light, noise reduction, and colour and detail preservation.
Time coordinated computing technology coordinates and synchronises peripherals and networks of connected devices. By synchronising clocks inside the system on a chip (SoC) and across the network, the technology can achieve network accuracy to within a microsecond.
The processor is said to be a significant step towards building a more robust IoT ecosystem.
“The series' early access programme has generated tremendous excitement among our customers and partners, putting the product on track to be one of Intel's most successful IoT processors,” said Caviasca. “To continue providing endless smart and connected device possibilities for the future, we at Intel are working with a diverse ecosystem of leading IoT device and equipment manufacturers, software vendors and OEMs.”
These include Delphi, FAW, Neusoft, Hikvision and others across a variety of industries.
“We are excited about the endless possibilities and innovation the Intel Atom processor E3900 series will bring to solving real-world customer problems,” said Caviasca. “With these processors, Intel continues to offer the significant advantage of economies of scale in IoT technologies across sensors, compute and storage. IoT technologies have the potential to disrupt entire industries and open new cycles of growth, as well as to transform our everyday experiences. The IoT renaissance is now, and I am eager to see the new applications yet to come.”