There was no escaping the Internet of Things at CES 2015, it was the omnipresent theme of the expo, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's a far-off future concept. Intel's latest earnings report demonstrates that the IoT age is already upon us, accounting for $2.1 billion in revenue in 2014. That's 10 times as much as Intel generated from its Mobile and Communications division, which, in spite of its importance to the company, actually shrank in revenue over the course of the year.
Setting new records for full-year revenue and shipments, Intel saw small increases in its income from the core PC Client Group (up 4 percent) and related software and services section (up 1 percent), but they were dwarfed by the 19 percent growth of the chipmaker's IoT division. The only thing coming close to matching that expansion is the 18 percent increase in revenue from the Data Center Group, which benefits from taking on the business of connecting, managing, and analyzing all the smart things that Intel's now involved in powering.
PCs are doing well, but connected things are growing five times as quickly
Though inherently nebulous in its definition, the Internet of Things that Intel is selling is characterized by a diversity of sensors, wireless radios, and truly miniature processors that enhance what devices around us can sense and do. Perhaps the best embodiment of what that means for the future is the company's new Curie module, which fits a sensor hub, a Quark processor, and a Bluetooth connection inside the space of a button.
Intel's robust earnings, even in spite of the delayed launch of its new Broadwell processor, also convey a resurgence in PC sales that has been forecasted to continue into 2015. Broadwell and the new USB Type-C standard are certainly making for a very appealing new year of laptops and other traditional computers, though the biggest growth is likely to once again be in the business of connecting things that were never smart or networked before.