Intel Ignite: Building The Irish Internet Of Things

Intel Ireland IoT

Last week saw the opening of the Intel Ignition Lab on their campus in Leixlip, County Kildare.

Joining a network of similar labs in Haifa, Istanbul, Munich, Stockholm and Swindon, the location’s focus will be on the Internet of Things (IoT), the growing field of research around the development of ‘smart’ homes, cities and objects embedded with electronics, software and sensors which will in turn generate data.

A hub of IoT development:
The lab – its full name is the Intel Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation and Development Ignition Lab – will bring together scientists and engineers with local businesses, collaborating on research projects and IoT prototypes. Intel hope to offer a one-stop shop, with all the components of the IoT value chain present–hardware, software, system integration, and the ability to trial the results with users. There’s also a focus on connecting old technologies to the cloud – much of Intel’s IoT work will be retroactive, going back and updating and connecting, involving themes such as smart homes, smart cities, energy and utilities and smart agriculture (yes, the ‘connected cow’ is very much a reality now).

Intel and Ireland:
Intel first set up in Ireland in 1989, and the country is closely woven into their history of innovation. Investing €12.5 million into the Leixlip campus, formerly a 360 acre stud farm, their Irish headquarters now employs 4,500 people. The campus is home to a semiconductor wafer fabrication facility (creating the silicon chips which power smartphones, tablets, data centers and the internet itself) as well as an Intel IoT Systems Research lab. Ireland is also home to offices of Intel subsidiaries McAfee, the security software company, and Havok, the Irish games studio acquired by Intel in 2007.

Historic innovation:
Though it is one of six worldwide Ignition Labs, with more planned for the near future, the opening of the Dublin facility stands to boost Dublin’s emerging role as a hub for IoT activity. Significant products which were researched and developed by Intel in Ireland include the Quark processor launched in 2012, a small scale system on a chip used in wearable computing, and the Galileo, an Arduino-certified development board launched in 2013, which allows inventors and makers to connect any conceivable object and make it ‘smart’. With the launch of the Ignition Lab, Intel stand to catalyse further change, creating a more connected future.

Already in development:
And that future might already be here: last Friday’s launch featured demonstrations from Irish businesses already implementing Intel’s IoT technologies. These include Patina, a lighting company which has partnered with Intel to create adaptable, energy-saving ‘smart lamps’, Glen Dimplex, the consumer electronic goods company working with Intel to produce energy saving smart heating for the home, among other inventions, and Carlow-based AgTech (agriculture tech) company Keenan, who are overhauling Irish farming with the help of Intel-powered connectivity.

Speaking at the launch of the Ignition Lab, Frank Jones, vice president of the Internet of Things Group and general manager of Operations and Group Marketing at Intel, said, “The Internet of Things is one of the most exciting areas of the tech industry today and one with enormous potential… We look forward to working with the Irish ecosystem to help shape the future of computing.”