The Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) of Santa Clara, CA, is a global leader in the field of semiconductors and computer chips, as well as a range of other electronic and computing components. The company’s most recent quarterly earnings report, released October 13th, showed a reduction year-over-year in quarterly net income mainly spurred on by weak client computing revenues, which were $660 million less than Intel earned in its third quarter for 2014. Intel’s client computing division includes platforms for notebooks, desktops, tablets, smartphones and various other wireless and wired connectivity products. According to BloombergBusiness, Intel executives mentioned in an earnings conference call that a scaling back on server purchases by Chinese corporations has led to a reduced growth target for that division. However, Intel’s data center group, which includes the server division, rose in year-over-year quarterly revenues by $424 million thanks in large part to a shift towards cloud computing data center chip production. Interestingly, Intel’s financial report for the third quarter indicates an increase in research & development funding, from $2.84 billion in 2014’s third quarter up to $2.92 billion in the most recent one.
A recent Intel purchase of CDMA modem assets from Taiwan-based VIA Telecom has led some to speculate that the California-based chipmaker might make a play in the mobile LTE modem market. The company also received antitrust approval from the European Union to finalize the $16.7 billion purchase of Altera Corp. (NASDAQ:ALTR) of San Jose, CA, a move which increases Intel’s IP holdings in the field of Internet of Things devices. The Altera acquisition has some analysts predicting that Intel’s revenues from its data center products and services will rebound next year as cloud services gain customers. However, Intel’s server business will face even more challenges as it prepares to take on Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) of San Diego, CA, which recently unveiled a server development platform which will attempt to dig into Intel’s leading share of the server market.
Intel is a leading acquirer of patent rights at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, earning 1,965 U.S. patents during 2014 alone, placing it 14th overall among all organizations earning U.S. patents. This 2014 total also represented an increase of 13.6 percent over Intel’s 2013 U.S. patent levels, according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association. In the third quarter alone, Intel earned 841 patents from the USPTO, a much more rapid pace of innovation which likely reflects the company’s increased R&D expenditures. In the text cluster provided by Innography, we can see that a great deal of Intel’s recent innovations have focused on communication devices, wireless communication, computing devices and memory devices.
Issued Patents of Note: From Autonomous Vehicle Guidance to Collaborative Entertainment Systems
We’ve been seeing a great influx of high tech companies entering the automotive industry this year, especially in the field of autonomous self-driving vehicles, so we’re not too surprised to see the issue of U.S. Patent No. 9134731, entitled Locality Adapted Computerized Assisted or Autonomous Driving of Vehicles. This Intel patent protects an apparatus for computerized assisted or autonomous driving of vehicles having at least one processor, a policy generator operated by a processor to receive data associated with a plurality of vehicles within a locality and to generate locality specific policies for computerized assisted or autonomous driving of vehicles within the locality so that vehicles are driven in a manner that is adapted for the locality. This innovation is intended to improve the deployment of autonomous vehicles in developed economy markets, like America and Japan, where there are large populations of experienced drivers as well as strictly enforced codified traffic laws. Car owners looking for a high tech way to adjust the interior of their car for mood or theme will likely be interested in reading U.S. Patent No. 9134955, which is titled Customization of a Vehicle. It discloses a method for vehicle customization by accessing theme information indicative of a customization theme to be associated with a vehicle occupant, detecting venues at a location proximate and external to the vehicle associated with the customization theme based on vehicle sensor data, generating customization information indicative of a feature of the customization theme based on the venues and configuring a vehicle to provide at least a portion of the customization theme. The system for vehicle interior customization is capable of integrating with in-vehicle infotainment systems, in-cabin light and projection features for a better reflection of a driver or passenger’s personality. We also took note of a system meant to help law enforcement officials track down vehicles of interest, discussed within U.S. Patent No. 9147119, titled System, Device, and Method for Detecting and Locating Wanted Vehicles. This patent claims an in-vehicle computing system for analyzing captured images which includes a camera, a main processor, a non-critical task processor, a short-distance communication circuitry, a long-distance communication circuitry, an image capturing module to capture images using the camera, a communication module to establish a communication connection with a mobile communication device via a short-distance communication circuitry and receive scanning data from the mobile communication device to identify reference vehicle license plates, and then an image analysis module to analyze an image as a function of the scanning data. The license plate matching system can help law enforcement better locate a fugitive and alert nearby police officers or alert scanning service participants to potential dangers.
Although not technically an automotive technology, the analysis of individual’s driving habits to determine insurance risk is featured within U.S. Patent No. 9141975, issued under the title Inferring User Risk Profile from Travel Patterns. The method protected here involves data indicative of a travel pattern of a personal digital assistant (PDA) user, inferring a risk profile of the PDA user from the travel pattern including a state-of-mind assessment of a user and outputting the risk profile to an external system to a server via a network so as to enable the external system to provide a commercial offer to a user. This system enables insurance companies with a better system for distinguishing between high-risk wild drivers and low-risk cautious drivers, who may be entitled to lower premiums.
Digital wallet services are an area that we’ve covered intermittently this year on IPWatchdog and we were intrigued to note an Intel innovation in this area and protected by U.S. Patent No. 9141946, titled Dynamic Payment Service. It claims a system to implement a dynamic payment service including a device interface, a device processing component, a purchase request module to generate purchase detail information relating to an item, a request communication module to transmit a request communication including purchase detail information, a device payment module to transmit a payment communication to complete a transaction and a dynamic payment service server having a server processing component, a receiving module receiving purchase detail information, a determining module to determine a scope of credit to be issued to conduct the transaction, a transaction information module to generate the transaction information including the scope of credit to be issued and then a response module to generate a response communication to respond to the request communication. This system works to enable user transactions through a mobile device by issuing a limited line of credit to complete a transaction.
We were also intrigued to take a closer look at an interactive system which allows remote users to build an entertainment experience together, protected by the issue of U.S. Patent No. 9106791, which is titled Collaborative Entertainment Platform. The system for a collaborative entertainment platform disclosed here an identification module that identifies a plurality of viewing devices connected to respective screens, an application control module that receives an application control command from a viewing device with respect to a video stream and applies the application control command, a synchronization control module that synchronizes display of the video stream at the plurality of viewing devices and an environmental impression module configured to receive an environmental indication from a viewing device and present the environmental indication superimposed on the video stream. This innovative system is designed to overcome limitations in existing digital collaborative social systems, such as online meeting systems, which limit the use of environmental elements.
Intel’s Patent Applications: From In-Vehicle Digital Wallets to Digital Security for Wearables
Interestingly, Intel’s R&D in the fields of digital wallets and automotive tech are merging in the innovation detailed within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150220916, which is titled Techniques for an In-Vehicle Electronic Wallet. It would protect an electronic wallet for a vehicle including a processor component and a vehicle electronic wallet component having a contactless communication interface component to receive a request for paying a transaction when in proximity to a payment processing entity, an electronic wallet authentication component that receives authentication information to approve a payment request and an electronic wallet payment component that sends payment information corresponding to a payment account that enables payment of the transaction. This technology is designed to eliminate the burdensome task that many face in organizing debit, credit and other types of payment cards while enabling them to easily pay for tolls or gas at the pump.
Mobile computing devices that have wraparound display screens are at the center of U.S. Patent Application No. 20150261366, titled Mechanism for Facilitating Flexible Wraparound Displays for Computing Devices. This patent application discloses an apparatus having a flexible wraparound display represented as a single display flexibly wrapped around the apparatus and a display controller engine that calibrates the flexible wraparound display to perform its functions using default components of the apparatus. This results in a computing device having an expanded display region without requiring the use of more than one screen, which can significantly increase production costs. This patent was originally filed in December 2013 before becoming Intel’s intellectual property in May 2014. Improvements to mobile networks to improve the functioning of mobile devices are disclosed within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150264637, titled Method for the Transfer of Radio Capability Information. This patent application would protect an apparatus of a user equipment (UE) operable to communicate radio access capability information having processors that cause the UE to receive a UE capability enquiry message from a network mode in an evolved universal terrestrial radio access network (E-UTRAN), create a set of frequency band combinations and frequency bands supported at the UE and limited to the list of frequency bands that are supported in the E-UTRAN and send a UE capability information message to the network node that includes the set of frequency band combinations and frequency bands supported at the UE and the E-UTRAN.
A novel interface for selecting digital media from a database is described within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150254283, which is titled Image Storage and Retrieval Based on Eye Movements. It discloses an apparatus having an image database having an index associated with searching images and operative to store a first image, a processor circuit and a control routine for execution by the processor circuit to identify a first focus region in a first image based on eye movement data, determine an identity of a first object in the first focus region of an image and cause the index to be augmented with an indication of the identity of the first object at the first focus region. This system for selecting images based on a user’s gaze improves upon conventional methods of indexing images for search engines, which usually requires the time consuming tagging of images with search terms.
Intel’s computing chip innovations also extend into the world of biochemical testing and analysis, as is reflected by the filing of U.S. Patent Application No. 20150231633, titled Gel-Based Bio Chip for Electrochemical Synthesis and Detection of Polymers. This claims a wafer comprising a plurality of biochips and interconnects on the wafer, the biochip having a biochip pad, a synthesis electrode and a gel comprising a probe; the biochips are interconnected to carry out a chemical reaction on a plurality of electrodes. This innovation improves upon the use of high-density DNA microarray chips used in biological tests by enabling them to track protein activities.
Computing security technologies which are designed to prevent the negative effects of malicious software, or malware, from affecting computing devices are featured within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150261950, which is titled Symmetric Keying and Chain of Trust. It would protect a device configured for sealing data using a chain of trust and having a memory and a processor to load code modules from the memory, measure a code module, determine a sealing key corresponding to the code module and seal data corresponding to the code module. This innovation is intended to provide malware security measures in small format devices like wearables which may not have the processors or computing components necessary to implement trusted execution (TX) security measures. The tracking of sensitive data, such as credit card information, is at the center of U.S. Patent Application No. 20150264065, which is titled Sensitive Data Tracking Using Dynamic Taint Analysis. This discloses a computer implemented method of tracking sensitive data through a target application running on a computer system by marking input data associated with a sensitive data indicator as tainted data when the input data is provided to the target application, tracking propagation of the tainted data as the target application executes the reading or writing of tainted data to memory locations in the computer system and monitoring at least one output channel of the computer system to determine if the tainted data is propagated to the output channel. This software invention overcomes shortcomings in tracking sensitive data incurred when using hardware-level tracking, which is more expensive, or using other data tracking tools which aren’t optimized for use with applications.