According to JiNan Glasgow George's crystal ball, Intel and Cisco will soon be on the hunt for acquisitions in the edge computing space to help bolster their positions in that market.
"Because they're late [to the market], they have to buy," George told Light Reading.
George bases her prediction on a mixture of experience, artificial intelligence and patent filings.
"That's where we're seeing these signals from Cisco and Intel, that they're stepping up investments in this area," she explained. "That means this is a market."
George is a longtime intellectual property attorney and former USPTO patent examiner who, among other activities, founded a startup called Magic Number that uses machine learning and AI software to plow through thousands of patent filings to discern strategic trends in various technology sectors.
In edge computing specifically, George said she is seeing rising interest from both Cisco and Intel. And, based on what she has seen other companies do in other industries, she believes both companies may soon begin looking for strategic acquisitions in order to bulk up their edge computing offerings.
George explained that companies like Verizon and Akamai have been steadily investing in edge computing technology for years now. But Cisco and Intel have both begun filing extensive patents in the area in just the past five years. She said that's often a signal that an acquisition is pending – she said she saw similar signals in the wearables sector before Google acquired Fitbit.
To be clear, technology companies routinely file patents on a wide range of innovations, both small and big. Further, those patents often do not result in the development of a product or service. Nonetheless, patents can provide hints about the direction a company's research and development team may be taking – and a holistic look at patent filings across a specific sector or industry may indeed reveal basic trends.
Whether Intel or Cisco end up purchasing edge computing providers remains to be seen. However, both companies certainly have an appetite for such transactions. For example, Intel acquired Mobileye – a company in the autonomous driving sector – in 2017, while Cisco closed its acquisition of customer contact provider IMImobile Friday.
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