Intel Fashion Innovation – From PC’s To Wearables And Fashion Technology. Here is the story of a company that has reinvented itself, like a phoenix bird, from the ashes. A company that powered your parents’ generation technological tools. A company that after almost disappearing in the smartphone era is gearing up to, once again, rule the world in the years to come.
It is no secret that Intel did not capitalise on the smartphone revolution. Almost oblivious to the emergence of portable devices, smartphones, tablets, to Intel, the desktop computer was still the only possible future.
Intel Fashion Innovation – Missing The Smartphone Train
The truth is, long before Blackberry launched its groundbreaking Pearl smartphone and Apple its history-making iPhones and iPads, Intel already had a portable, wireless enabled, smart tablet.
Called the Web PAD and launched at the end of 1998, twelve years before the Cupertino-based company launched its first iPad, Intel’s tablet was quite revolutionary for that times. It had WIFI capabilities, a StrongARM processor, touch screen and a stylus pen. That’s again, more than a decade ahead of Samsung’s tablets with pens. Samsung’s first device sporting a stylus pen was the Galaxy Note, in 2011.
Although Intel Web PAD was a great device, it felt like it was cursed. Not with a hardware, design or manufacturing fault, just that the computer industry did not want it. Intel’s PAD was a direct threat to the personal computers industry. For that, under the growing pressure, Intel had to abandon the project.
Intel Fashion Innovation – The War On Chipsets
And so, the company’s first attempt at expanding from the chipset manufacturing to mobile devices was ended before it even started. The world kept going, and the times kept changing until the advent of smartphones and tablets. However, this time the company was no longer the only one in the chipset business. Almost like an “oil tanker”, too large and too slow to change direction, Intel was racing against the smaller, much agiler and faster “boats.”
ARM, another chipset manufacturer was rising fast. It became a real competitor to Intel, as more global giants such as Apple, Samsung and Nvidia, started using their faster and cheaper chipsets in their smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.
Intel Fashion Innovation – The Awakening
While Intel took some time to re-calibrate and find the north again, the company’s launch in 2012 of an Atom-powered SoC (system on chip) platform, was a clear sign of a new direction towards wearables and smart sensors powered devices.
Designed for smartphones and tablets, in a market monopolised by the ARM and its power-efficient chipsets, the SoC was Intel’s finger pointing at the wearable tech market. A finger testing the waters if you like, before grabbing it with both hands.
The failed smartphone ‘lesson’ was still fresh but this time, Intel’s plan was not just to win the war on chipsets, but to take over the wearables revolution.
Intel Fashion Innovation – Ready For The Future
Over the past four years, Intel spent 11 billion dollars buying almost 40 companies in the mobile chipsets landscape, preparing for the past silicon age as the 10nm mark is the last gasp for pure silicon chipsets.
The next generation of 7nm chipsets requires new materials such as indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) or silicon-germanium (SiGe) alloy and new technologies, carving the transistor channels out using cutting-edge lithography techniques, engraving features onto the chip, with Intel investing heavily in extreme ultraviolet lithography for years now.
Hardware wise, Intel is more ready than ever. However, the resurrection only starts here.
Intel Fashion Innovation – Wearables And Fashion Tech
Since 2014, Intel has re-build its market presence through relevant technologies, smart media partnerships and robust social media presence. You are looking at a company that is reinventing and rebranding itself, almost like Apple.
No longer just a chipset company, Intel’s name is now associated with wearables, fitness trackers, smart watches, fashion designs, emerging tech conferences, appealing to the young generation and coming across as a fashionable, smart, and innovative company. But let’s see a few examples:
March 2014: Intel buys Basis Science, a startup marketing health trackers and wrist-worn activity devices. Intel-powered Basis smartwatch was considered as one of the most intelligent smartwatches on the market at that time.
August 2014: Intel and SMS Audio formed a partnership and launch their first product, the biometric earbuds. BioSport In-Ear Headphones powered by Intel deliver high-quality audio while gathering actionable biometric data, on your fitness progress.
September 2014: Intel and the American fashion company Fossil join forces in a project designed at “empowering” the clothes and accessories of tomorrow, with smart sensors and embedded technology.
September 2014: Intel introduces MICA (My Intelligent Communication Accessory). One of the first smart bracelets to combine luxury jewellery with smart sensors. The bracelet has semi-precious stones (pearls, obsidian, and snakeskin) as well as a 1.5-inch sapphire touchscreen, designed in partnership with “Opening Ceremony.”
A fashion tech collaboration between Opening Ceremony and Intel. MICA smart bracelet is a modern fashion accessory that lets the wearer look stylish and be connected at the same time, without the need of any obvious technology such as smartphones, tablets, etc.
December 2014: Intel signed a multi-year collaboration with Google and Luxottica. Intel to support the development of the upcoming Google Glass 2.0 and any future AR and VR devices, and Luxottica to “pack” the tech in impressive luxury eyewear.
June 2015: Intel acquires Instruments, a Canadian company behind the Recon Jet smart glasses; a new generation of augmented reality glasses, equipped with a tiny camera that projects information on the inside of the lens.
Recon Instruments, is the world leader in smart eyewear technology for sports and high-intensity environments.
March 2015: Intel announced another partnership with Google and the Swiss luxury watchmaker, TAG Heuer. The trio takes on Apple, in their quest to design a luxury smartwatch that can compete with Apple Watch while preparing TAG for the tech orientated future of fashion.
Intel Fashion Innovation – The Secret
Intel’s sudden involvement with wearable tech and fashion is not, as you might think, an accident. Just like Apple, Intel acknowledges that inescapably the fashion industry needs technology to augment its levels. Not only the future garments, fabrics and accessories but also in stores, via AR and VR.
Through its new technologies and fashion partnerships, Intel positioned itself at the top of the fashiontech ladder. From a chipset maker, in less than five years Intel has become one of the most knowledgeable, trustworthy and powerful partners in tech, for any fashion brands and designers.
Intel Fashion Innovation – No Fashion Without Tech
Despite its ups and downs, Intel has always been a world leader in tech innovation and this time, Intel has a foothold in the wearable tech market. A market of 80 billion by 2020. The times of computational fibres and smart fabrics that keep you safe and warm, communicate your mood, change colour, communicate with connected objects around us, all without the need of us to interact.
Get ready for tech-infused products, created by luxury brands and fashion companies that historically, have never used “silicon” before. Buttons, rings, bracelets, bags, jewellery, pendants, are waiting to be once again, reinvented.
Finally, the march toward “specialised silicon” is accelerating. We have evolved from CPU to GPU and from FPGA to ASIC, with each step toward specialised silicon obsoleting its predecessors.
Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Baidu are applying deep learning, from product positioning to supply chain management. Machine learning has become the core to almost everything that Google does from switching their search algorithms to deep learning, to the use of Deep Mind to cut cooling costs by 40 percent at their data centres.
Beyond the e-commerce, the future textiles, the AR and VR there is machine learning and artificial intelligence as the most powerful advance in engineering since. AI is the tool that exceeds the human understanding, that invisible wire that will innervate every industry in the future, fashion including and Intel already knows that.