Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Intel and Alibaba collaboration drives IoT developments

Steve Rogerson
September 27, 2018

Intel and Alibaba say their deep collaboration is driving the creation of technologies that power the era of data-centric computing from hyperscale data centres to the edge, to accelerate the deployments of applications such as autonomous vehicles and IoT.
Speaking at this month’s Alibaba Computing Conference in Hangzhou, China, Intel executive vice president Navin Shenoy said: "Alibaba's highly innovative data-centric computing infrastructure supported by Intel technology enables real-time insight for customers from the cloud to the edge. Our close collaboration with Alibaba from silicon to software to market adoption enables customers to benefit from a broad set of workload-optimised solutions."
The two companies are launching a joint platform to accelerate edge-computing development and establishing the Apsara Stack industry alliance targeting on-premises enterprise cloud environments.
Intel will also be deploying its technologies to help Alibaba prepare for the 11/11 shopping festival. And together they aim to bring volumetric content to the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 via OBS cloud. They also plan to accelerate the commercialisation of intelligent roads.
"We are thrilled to have Intel as our long-term strategic partner, and are excited to expand our collaboration across a wide array of areas from edge computing to hybrid cloud, internet of things and smart mobility," said Simon Hu, senior vice president of Alibaba Group. "By combining Intel's leading technology services and Alibaba's experience in driving digital transformation in China and the rest of Asia, we are confident that our clients worldwide will benefit from the technology innovation that comes from this partnership."
The joint edge-computing platform allows enterprises to develop customisable device-to-cloud IoT products and services for different edge computing scenarios, including industrial manufacturing, smart buildings and smart communities. The platform is an open architecture that integrates Intel software, hardware and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies with Alibaba Cloud's latest IoT products.
The platform uses computer vision and AI to convert data at the edge into business insights. It was recently deployed in Chongqing Refine-Yumei Die Casting factories and was able to increase defect detection speed five times from manual detection to automatic detection.
The Apsara Stack industry alliance focuses on building an ecosystem of hybrid cloud products for Alibaba Cloud's Apsara Stack. Optimised for Intel Xeon scalable processors, the Apsara Stack provides large- and medium-sized businesses with on-premises hybrid cloud services that function the same as hyperscale cloud computing and big-data services provided by Alibaba public cloud.
This alliance will also enable small- and medium-sized businesses to access technologies, infrastructure and security on par with that of large corporations, while offering them a path to greater levels of automation, self-service capabilities, cost efficiencies and governance.
In preparation for the upcoming 11/11 Singles Day global shopping festival – which generated in excess of $25bn in spending during the 2017 celebration – Alibaba plans to trial the next-generation Xeon scalable processors and upcoming Intel Optane DC persistent memory with Alibaba's Tair workload. This workload is a key value data access and caching storage system developed by Alibaba and broadly deployed in many of Alibaba's core applications such as Taobao and Tmall.
Intel's compute, memory and storage products are optimised for Alibaba's interactive and data-intensive applications. These applications require the infrastructure to keep large amounts of hot accessible data in the memory cache to achieve the desired throughput (queries per second) to deliver smooth and responsive user experiences, especially during peak hours of the 11/11 shopping festival.
Also announced was a partnership aimed at advancing the digital transformation of the Olympics and delivering volumetric content over the OBS cloud for the first time at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. As worldwide Olympic partners, Intel and Alibaba Cloud will collaborate with OBS to explore a more efficient and reliable delivery pipeline of immersive media that will improve the fan experience and bring them closer to the action via Intel's volumetric and virtual reality technologies.
This showcases the depth of Intel's end-to-end capabilities, including the Xeon scalable processors powering OBS cloud, compute power to process high volumes of data, and technology to create and deliver immersive media.
Intel officially became one of Alibaba Alios' first strategic partners for the intelligent transportation initiative, aiming to support the construction of intelligent road traffic network and build a digital and intelligent transportation system to realise vehicle-road synergy. Intel and Alibaba will jointly explore V2X usage model with respect to 5G communications and edge computing based on the Intel network edge virtualisation software development kit.
Japanese semiconductor company Renesas Electronics has formed an alliance with Alibaba Cloud that aims to empower IoT developers to accelerate the growth of China’s IoT market. The close technology collaboration includes embedding the Alios Things IoT operating system in Renesas microcontrollers, expanding online sales channels, and Renesas joining Alibaba’s IoT ecosystem.