Intel Hones in on Chips, Ditches Computer Vision
by Adam Pease
In the midst of a global semiconductor market crisis that seems unlikely to abate, Intel is pivoting to address the shortage by honing in on its core business. At the same time, CEO Pat Gelsinger has chosen to shutter the Intel RealSense sensor and camera department, a move that sets back the provider’s place in the computer vision market. This blog discusses Intel’s pivot and the implications of the decision for computer vision.
Semiconductors Are Intel’s Bread and Butter
The decision makes sense in a market that faces intense demand and in which Intel has fallen by the wayside to its Asian competitors. Throughout this year, Intel has reiterated its plans to take back leadership in the chip market by expanding manufacturing and upgrading the quality of its semiconductors.
Intel’s ‘IDM 2.0’ roadmap, introduced in March of this year, involves the growth of its foundry capacity in the US as well as the expansion of its international factories through the use of third-party foundries, such as those owned by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Samsung. With these new factories, Intel is making a push to become the leader in semiconductor supply. Further, Intel is diversifying its semiconductor offerings by offering ARM chips, recognizing the utility of edge computing and the internet of things.
Computer Vision Is Still an Emerging Technology
Aragon has pointed out that computer vision is coming of age. Even so, the tailored offerings designed by Intel’s RealSense department represent specific use cases that are targeted towards niche buyers. In this sense, computer vision is still an emerging technology, treated by some large providers like Intel as a research and development investment, but not necessarily a business-critical priority.
Such emerging technologies can be vulnerable to program cuts when providers reorient around their core offerings, such as chips in the case of Intel. Until computer vision is regarded as a table-stakes feature of infrastructure in general, stories like this may continue to be told.
Intel’s choice to move away from computer vision and refocus on expanding its chip offerings reveals much about the direction of the provider and reminds us that computer vision is still an emerging technology.