Fresh blood and a little reorganizations might be the key for Intel Corp. to succeed in two hot new markets – IoT and automotive – that will be crucial for its hopes to reduce its reliance on PCs as the company’s main growth generator.
Intel announced Tuesday that it will separate its nascent automotive team from the company’s IoT group. Previously, Intel’s IoT and automotive teams were bundled together under one big IoT tent.
The move signals growing confidence by the processor giant that both teams can grow at full speed and assume accountability as independently managed business units.
Along with the organizational change, Intel named ex-ARM executive Tom Lantzsch to head the company’s IoT branch. Lantzsch joins Intel’s executive leadership team as a senior vice president and general manager of the IoT Group.
Prior to Intel, Lantzsch was executive vice president of strategy at ARM.
Although Intel continues to pursue the IoT market without relying on ARM cores, an internal organization now headed by an executive from its archrival may suggest that all bets are off as it charts a new course.
The market is already seeing some signs of change.
Despite Intel’s decades of doggedly sticking with chips based on its x86 architecture, the company unveiled last month plans to put a 64-bit ARM processor in its new Stratix 10 FPGA. Intel plans to integrate Altera FPGAs in Xeon server chips. The company may put x86 and ARM CPUs on one chip. Intel is already pairing Xeon and Altera FPGAs on multi-chip circuit boards.
Of course, these moves are happening on the server side. The reality is that ARM-based mobile and IoT devices continue to feed information to servers that perform data analysis, image recognition, and natural language processing tasks. Meanwhile Intel’s x86 chips dominate servers.
It remains unclear if the appointment of Lantzsch will actually breathe fresh air into Intel’s IoT strategy. But Lantzsch’s choice as the head of its IoT group suggests, at least, that Intel is serious about life after x86.
Heading Intel’s automotive team, now called the Automated Driving Group (ADG), are a duo of Doug Davis and Kathy Winter. The new group will be reporting directly to Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO.
Davis, previously senior vice president and general manager of the IoT Group at Intel, will be senior vice president and strategic leader of the newly formed Automated Driving Group.
Intel said that Davis postponed his retirement to take over the automotive group.
Leading the ADG along with Davis is Winter. As vice president and general manager, she will oversee the organization, engineering deliverables and customer commitments associated with delivering automated driving solutions, according to Intel.
Again, for Intel to establish a firm foothold in the automotive market, hiring Winter has a clear purpose. She adds credibility to Intel’s commitment to the auto industry. Prior to joining Intel in August, Winter served as vice president, software & services, automated driving at Delphi Electronics & Safety.
Winter gained notoriety as an automotive executive by engineering the Delphi cross-country autonomous drive in an Audi Q5 outfitted with Delphi self-driving technology in 2015. That trip was billed as the first and longest drive by an autonomous vehicle in the United States.