Intel CEO Bob Swan专访、5G手机是个喷气飞行包、超宽带UWB起死回生

BRIAN SANTO: I'm Brian Santo, EE Times editor in chief, and you're listening to EE Times on Air. This is your briefing for the week ending August 9th.

BRIAN SANTO:我是EE Times总编Brian Santo,你正在收听的是EE Times全球联播。这是截至8月9日的一周新闻概要。

Are you one of the hundreds of millions of people who can't wait to get a 5G cell phone? Your wait is almost over. Almost.


Do you remember ultra-wideband? It was proposed a few years ago. Didn't catch on. But now it's back. The new ultra-wideband is based on a different technology, has new capabilities and is aimed at completely different applications. You'd think they'd come up with a new name, yeah?


Also this week, Dylan McGrath got a rare one-on-one interview with Bob Swan, the CEO of Intel. In an industry that has seen its share of massive egos over the years, Bob Swan stands out by not standing out. When Intel's previous CEO left the company, Swan-- then the company's chief financial officer-- agreed to lead the company... but only on an interim basis until Intel's board could find the right person to give the job to.

本周,Dylan McGrath还与英特尔CEO鲍勃?斯旺(Bob Swan)进行了罕见的一对一访谈。在这个多年来一直充斥着大量自命不凡人物的行业,Bob Swan站了出来,但不是脱颖而出。当英特尔前任CEO离开公司时,作为首席财务官的他同意带领公司往前......但只是临时代理,直到英特尔董事会找到合适的CEO人选。

BOB SWAN: The reason I wasn't interested is I love my day job. In the absence of somebody great, they came back to me.

BOB SWAN:我对CEO不感兴趣的原因是我因为喜欢我的日常工作(CFO)。但在没有合适人选的情况下,他们找到了我。

BRIAN SANTO: First up today, they promised us jetpacks! That's the running joke about technology that never shows up, right? Well, they promised us 5G phones, and last week we finally got jetpacks. Inventor Frankie Zapata flew a jetpack of his own design, taking off from France, crossing over the English Channel and touching down near Dover in England. We've posted the video with the transcript of this podcast. Go look it up. It's amazing. They say he got up to 110 miles per hour... or as they say in Europe, 177 kilometres per hour. To be fair, we have had a few 5G phones for a few months now. On the other hand, we're still waiting for mass markets to develop for both jetpacks and 5G this week. Rick Merritt wrote about the holdup on 5G phones.

BRIAN SANTO:首先,看他们(指网络运营商)承诺的喷气飞行包(jetpacks)!这是对从未兑现的技术的讽刺,对吗?他们答应我们5G手机很快到来,上周我们终于得到一个喷气飞行包。发明家弗兰基·萨帕塔(Frankie Zapata)背着一个自己设计的喷气飞行包,从法国起飞,越过英吉利海峡,在英格兰的多佛附近降落。我们已经发布了这一视频和文稿,值得一看。太奇妙了!据说他的飞行速度每小时达到110英里,或者按欧洲的说法,每小时177公里。老实说,我们现在确实有几款5G手机了。另一方面,我们仍在等待微大众市场而开发的喷气飞行包和5G技术。Rick Merritt报道了5G手机的滞后状况。

Your article was about handsets not being as ready in the volume that we expected. Perhaps some of us did expect them to not be ready just yet, but we were certainly told they'd be ready by now by folks like Verizon and AT&T and the people making the basic chips, Qualcomm.



RICK MERRITT: Right. Qualcomm has been beating the drum really hard about this, and they have to because as you know they make all the profits and so forth by being first. And they've been first with chips and 5G and the RF chips for some time now. They've beat everybody. The problem is, you know, there's not the OEM sell-through. So Gartner said last week or so that they expect one percent of handsets that ship this year will be 5G enabled, and if you ask him they say next year it'll zoom up to 6 percent. So it's really not taking off with the speed that folks like Qualcomm hoped it would be. And by the time it really takes off and becomes mainstream, you know everybody that wants to be in that market might have chips.

BRIAN SANTO: And that kind of maps a little bit to the radios that are being installed out in the field. You've got the base stations, the antennas you're actually going to be connecting to to connect to the network. That's a slow rollout, too. So I don't know... is it a big deal that handsets are rolling out as fast as we expected given what the network rollouts have looked like so far?

RICK MERRITT: Yeah, it's the old chicken and the egg thing. So nobody wants to invest until everybody else is invested. And AT&T had an announcement this morning that they now have 5G in New York City, which is their 21st city. Of course there is, you know, a couple of hundred big cities in the US, including a lot of state capitals where there's no 5G today. So it's going slowly. Our old buddy Dave Burstein tells us that while it's going faster in China... what did he say? They'll have 150,000 radios installed by the end of the year. So I mean you know, there's a planned economy for you.

BRIAN SANTO: That's kind of interesting. The race. Do you have any view on the race? I have a view on the race. The 5G race isn't much of one. I don't see why there is a big deal to get 5G up and running before anybody else. If China has 5G going that's good for them, and the competition in country might be important. But that doesn't have anything to do with Verizon or AT&T really, does it?

RICK MERRITT: Yeah, I agree. I'm not sure about the carrier race. I think that's more market speak than anything.


RICK MERITT: Clearly for the semiconductors though, I mean this is Qualcomm's bread and butter. And so having the first chip means that they can charge a big premium for it and get the best profits. They help drive the standards so that they could have the chip first, and now that they have the chip first, they've got to sell as many of them as they can, because you know in a year or two when there's a significant competitor or two, by the time Apple has its chip-- maybe in three years-- they're not going to get that profit and they're not going to get the volume.

BRIAN SANTO: And Qualcomm as in most of the handsets out there. A lot of them anyways, right?

RICK MERRITT: That's right. With the few exceptions of whichever models Samsung uses exynos, or Hauwei I guess increasingly in all of its chips wants to use its Kirin.

BRIAN SANTO: All right. So what does this mean for Qualcomm? What's the market look like for them going forward? How are they... What are the prospects look like?

RICK MERRITT: It's a hard time right now for Qualcomm because, overall, handset volumes are shrinking a little bit. ASPs are shrinking a little bit. We hit that thousand dollar phone ceiling and now OEMs are retrenching from that. So there's less money out there altogether. 5G will boost the number of sockets that they can hit and probably the value that they can put into those sockets. But as we see, 5G is going to go slower than they had hoped.

BRIAN SANTO: Yeah. So 5G is kind of interesting. It seems like overkill for an individual cellular phone user. 4G is pretty much adequate for, you know, even watching, you know, downloading and watching a movie. Have you heard anything about anybody trying to re-evaluate or reassess what the prospects for 5G handsets are in light of that?

RICK MERRITT: It feels like right now we're at the sort of peak of the hype cycle of 5G, and I keep seeing you know stories and reports about how big it's going to be. And I do believe that thing that Bill Gates used to say that, you know, the big technology changes take longer than we ever thought. But once they get here, they're bigger than we ever thought. I agree with that. But I guess the thing that I buy into the most, for me, I'm not a bleeding edge user, so I watch Netflix movie on my handset. I do that regularly. And I think, God, I can't imagine wanting more data.

The thing that I agree with, I often hear, is that nobody would have imagined Uber until there was an LTE network and you could easily call a cab and find a cab over GPS and make that connection. So you know 5G will enable some gigabit plus data rates and eventually make them ubiquitous. And so there'll be a new Uber that will come up and create on that platform that we wouldn't have imagined. I agree with that. 

BRIAN SANTO: Put the tool out there and somebody will figure out how to use it. 

This week London editor Nitin Dihad wrote about another stab being taken at ultra-wideband technology, and mercifully, they gave it a new name. International correspondent Junko Yoshida asks him about it. 

JUNKO YOSHIDA: I was reading your story about FiRa Consortium. I remember back in 2000, I used to write about ultra-wideband, low-energy, short-range, high-bandwidth, wireless technology. But I thought it had already faded away. I'm hoping you can explain why FiRa is not about putting lipstick on a pig. So first off, what does FiRa stand for, and what is it now promoted for? 

NITIN DIHAD: OK. So FiRa stands for Fine Ranging, and this essentially refers to the accurate positioning capability of the ultra-wideband technology it uses to determine the precise location of a device. So the ranging is done by carrying out time-of-flight measurements between devices, and because of the high channel bandwidth, the 500 megahertz and short two nanosecond pulses, it's set to achieve centimeter-level accuracy, which is much more than for example Bluetooth or any other types of technologies. And it's now being promoted for access control, location-based services and device-to-device services. 

JUNKO YOSHIDA: So let's rewind the clock, and can you remind us which specific application or market segments the original ultra-wideband was pitched for and why UWB did not exactly succeed on the market? 

NITIN DIHAD: So the original ultra-wideband was actually targeting the transmission of large amounts of data, as you said at the beginning, wirelessly at close range. So it was used for things like wireless USB and wireless HDMI. I think you might remember we used to talk about you know being able to transmit to your television you know the data wirelessly, you know the HDMI data. But it never took off. That's just because Wi-Fi just kept getting better and better with very low latency, and that effectively meant ultra-wideband became redundant. 

JUNKO YOSHIDA: I see. So there's fear today over any new technology or features that were not originally available in the ultra-wideband. 

NITIN DIHAD: Actually it has changed. It was previously an OFDM-based technology. It's now evolved to an impulse radio technology specified within IEEE 802.15.4. Many of our listeners will recognize that as you know the one that was used for things like Zigby and Thread. But FiRa Consortium now emphasizes you know this is not similar to Zigby, and FiRa is actually specifically under... it's also developing under the 802.15.4Z amendment, which improves security and accuracy. The best way to describe this new ultra-wideband technology is how it... I was told by FiRa, which is it's viewed now as a sensing technology rather than a communications technology.

 JUNKO YOSHIDA: OK. So who are in the FiRa Consortium today? 

NITIN DIHAD: So the founding four sponsors of the FiRa Consortium are HID Global, NXP Semiconductors, Samsung Electronics and Bosch. And actually they also have the first members have joined, and they are Sony Imaging, Lightpoint and the Telecommunications Technology Association. And as you'll read in my article, you know there are various working groups set up for our paths to standardization and certification and testing. 

JUNKO YOSHIDA: OK. So that means pretty big names are coming back to what used to be the UWV but for different reasons and different applications I guess. 

NITIN DIHAD: Absolutely. 

JUNKO YOSHIDA: So what do you think will be the biggest application for FiRa? 

NITIN DIHAD: So yes. If you think about it, the high accuracy in the security, it's really going to be very big in indoor positioning. And so for example, retail or sporting events or your large indoor spaces or spaces where you need very precise positioning. 

The other big one is because of the security, and also the security over the time of flight. There are seamless access controls, so keyless car access is one such application. 

BRIAN SANTO: Intel is among the most prominent high tech companies in the world, with a pedigree of achievement and growth that goes back half a century. Intel's previous CEO, Brian Krzanich, was compelled to resign in mid-2018. Shortly after that, Bob Swan began running the company, first on an interim basis and as of early this year as the full-time CEO. Here's Swan on the latest transition that Intel is going through. A quick note: You'll hear him reference Applied. Prior to joining Intel, Swan had served on the board of equipment manufacturer Applied Materials for eight years. 

BOB SWAN: We have been going through a stage of taking a company who had incredible success with a CPU inside a PC, but that business was declining. A CPU inside a data center. That was growing, but they're kind of offsetting each other. And tried to reposition the company for a TAM that was almost six times bigger than the one we conquered. We had 90 percent share of CPUs in a PC, over 90 percent of CPUs in a data center. There's not a lot of opportunity to grow when you have that kind of share and one's shrinking and one is growing. 

So we opened up the aperture based on where we saw the industry going. It's a phenomenal time to be in semi. You've been hanging around this industry for a while. There's about as much innovation, as much investment, as much venture capital. There's about as much innovation going into semi as I ever remember in the eight years on the Applied board. So it's a very exciting time, and we happened to reposition the company such that we had a real strong position in the key technology inflections, a much bigger market to serve and a real wind at our back. 

BRIAN SANTO: That's from an interview with Swan conducted by EE Times editor Dylan McGrath. Here, international editor Junko Yoshida talks with Dylan about his profile of Swan that appears on our website. 

JUNKO YOSHIDA: He comes to lead Intel at a time when this world's largest semiconductor vendor is in the middle of reinventing itself. Tell us what the CEO had to say about that. 

DYLAN McGRATH: So well first of all I would say Intel's been reinventing itself for quite some time now, and so you know this is a transition that was already underway before he took over early this year. On a permanent basis, I should add. He's been the interim CEO obviously since last June. So what did he have to say about that? One of the things that I found interesting is that it was one of the things that attracted him to Intel and made him want to join Intel in the first place is that the company has reinvented itself a number of times in the past, and that' what made it, in his mind, really one of the top places to work. I think he said when he was initially... obviously he joined initially as the CFO, and he wasn't necessarily looking for you know... he wasn't desperate to find a job. There were only a handful of jobs that he was really interested in. And these were companies like Intel. And one of the things that you know makes it an attractive company in his mind is its long history and its ability to reinvent itself over the years. 

I did ask him, Now is this reinvention that Intel is currently engaged in the biggest and most important in the company's history? And he was kind of noncommittal about that, which I found surprising. I thought that would be an easy, Oh yes definitely. 

JUNKO YOSHIDA: So in your mind though, Dylan, how do you define the current reinvention Intel is in? 

DYLAN McGRATH: Yes. So this is the way that he put it. And I found it very interesting. Obviously Intel is trying to transform itself from a PC-centric business to what it calls a data-centric business, basically selling chips into a lot more things than just PCs. And the reasons for that are obvious. The PC is... shipments have been declining, on the decline for a number of years. And as he put it, you know Intel had a 90 something percent market share in a declining business. And so they didn't, there wasn't a lot of room to grow there. So they're searching for growth, and they have been searching for growth, and they've been finding it in areas like the Internet of Things and so forth. 

They are nearly a 50/50 revenue split now between what they call PC-centric and what they define as data-centric, which is basically everything else outside of the PC. And see they're on they're on their way in the next several years to moving forward to more of a 30/70 type split, where it's 30 percent PC.

I found it very interesting also that one of the ways that Intel looks at this challenge is that they've gone from this place where they had a 90 percent market share in a declining business to a place where they look at it now and say, We have about 30 percent market share in the areas that you know overall. And so there there's a lot more room to run and a lot more room to grow. And obviously this takes them up against different competitors. And there's all kinds of challenges associated with it, but they're looking at the total available market as much, much larger than 5, 10 years ago. 

JUNKO YOSHIDA: All right. So this is the probably the hardest question is that we all know Bob Swan isn't an engineer, and as you and I both are aware, a lot of EE Times readers frankly speaking are not so positive about an executive with no engineering background leading a tech company. They are always suspicious. What did he have to say about that? Did you ask that question? 

DYLAN McGRATH: I absolutely asked that question. And yes, engineers only trust other engineers. And we see this on the comments on EE Times all the time. So there are many engineers who just believe that a company such as Intel ought to be run by an engineer. 

I wasn't the first person to point out to him that he is not an engineer, so he is aware of it. You know what he said, basically... I found one of his answers to this question was fascinating that you know Intel has something like 70,000 engineers, and in his opinion, Intel has the best engineers in the world. And you know, the way he put it was, Why do we need 70,000 more engineers when you know maybe what we need is someone with a different mindset, someone with a different background, different skills and who can look at things a little bit differently.

 Bob has tremendous experience in business, and he has been an executive management with a lot of tech companies over the years. And you know in his mind he knows what he doesn't know, and he understands that you know he needs to surround himself with great technical people to help him make the decisions that he needs to make as the CEO of Intel. 

BRIAN SANTO: You can read Dylan's profile of Intel CEO Bob Swan online at eetimes.com. 

Onward into the past, a rundown of important events in tech history that took place on dates from the past week. 

On August 6th 1991, Tim Berners Lee published the very first website. It's still there. You can see it at info.cern.ch. The web is a wonderful thing, huh? 

Almost exactly four years later on, August 8th 1995, Netscape Communications went public. Shares opened at $28 and closed at 58 bucks. 

On August 9th also in 1991, astronauts Shannon Lucid and James Adamson sent what was probably the first e-mail from space, sending from the shuttle Atlantis using a portable Mac. 

Also on this very date 121 years ago, US patent 608845 was granted. It reads thusly: Be it known that I, Rudolf Diesel, a subject of the King of Bavaria and a resident of Berlin in the Kingdom of Prussia, Germany, have invented certain new and useful improvements in internal combustion engines. The diesel engine had been invented.

What you're listening to in the background is what is said to be the first diesel engine ever built being started up for the first time in 110 years. It's hard to verify/ The whole thing is narrated in German, and we didn't have any German speakers handy to translate for us. But for a start, that's the language you'd expect. We posted the video on the website. You can check it out yourself. 

And that's your weekly briefing for the week ending August 9th. This podcast is produced by AspenCore studio. It was engineered by Taylor Marvin and Greg McCray at Coupe Studios. The segment producer was Kaitie Huss. The transcript of this podcast can be found on eetimes.com, complete with links to the articles we refer to, and the videos, too. Be sure to join us next week for your August 16th weekly briefing on EE Times on Air. I'm Brian Santo.

感谢收听本期推送,全球联播 (EE|Times On Air) 现已同期在喜马拉雅以及蜻蜓FM上线,欢迎订阅收听!