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Want to manage servers with greater ease and impact? Check out Intel server tools

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by Peter Krass on 09/17/2021
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You’ve asked for tools to optimize your servers and run them more efficiently, and now Intel is offering them.

Intel is developing these server tools with the active participation of its channel partners. They’re helping Intel test these tools on the company’s latest servers: the Intel Server System M50CYP family for mainstream workloads, and the Intel Server System D50TNP family for high-performance computing (HPC) and AI applications.

Intel has also set up a new Server Tools website to provide you with a platform for building applications and services. Because all the tools capabilities are based on open, accessible APIs, you can incorporate them into your own offerings.

Firmware Tracker 2.0

Keeping track of updates to server firmware can be a real pain. Manually hunting down all the firmware in a data center, then checking to see which ones need an update, takes time. Plus, the work can be so painstaking, making one or more mistakes isn’t all that hard.

To make the task easier, quicker and less painful, Intel has developed Firmware Tracker. It’s software that finds the latest firmware versions for all Intel Datacenter Solutions server system hardware. And it does so in real time.

Intel will soon offer version 2.0 of the Firmware Tracker. Among the new features is “one-click firmware download,” which lets you integrate numerous installs into a single task. For example, let’s say you need 5 firmware updates; the tool can update all 5 in just 1 shot, helping you to rack and stack in less than an hour.

The Intel Firmware Tracker also lets you build and store a system configuration as a list of components, then get an email notification when any of them gets further updates.

Intel also provides firmware tracking as both a user-experience-optimized online application and a broad-scale web service API.

Server power calculator

It’s important to forecast active power consumption for an Intel Datacenter Solutions custom server system for specific workloads you or your customers are thinking of buying. But it isn’t easy.

That’s why Intel has developed a tool to do just that. A pilot was launched in July with 30 users from 10 companies. Intel expects to release the first version quite soon.

The tool includes a web application user interface to help you create a test server configuration. The tool then analyzes the configuration’s power consumption (in watts) for specific workloads.

Due to power estimation process improvements, Intel expects users of the new tool to see power-consumption reductions as great as 20% for specific configurations and workloads over previous tools.

EU Lot 9 Compliance Forecaster

The European Union’s Lot 9 regulations lay out a strict set of energy-related requirements, such as idle power usage, for enterprise servers, data storage and related equipment.

Complying with Lot 9 is the responsibility of resellers. To help them, Intel has developed software directly integrated into the Intel Datacenter Solutions Configure-to-Order Portal.

Similar to the other tools, this one lets you enter a configuration, and then it analyzes your configuration for compliance. You can save configurations for reuse in the future, too.

Check out the site: Intel Datacenter Solutions Engineering Online Software

 

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Video: Intel Partner Alliance – now with more access

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by Peter Krass on 09/15/2021
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Intel is taking its Partner Alliance to the next level.

Intel Partner Alliance is expanding access to more channel partners. Member-level participants now have access to in-depth training in Intel Partner University. Previously, that training was available only to Gold and Titanium level partners.

In a new “What’s in IT for Me?” video, Katie Bavoso of CRNtv explains how this kind of training can give you a winning competitive advantage in new technologies.

She also describes how a new “test drive” feature, coming to Intel Partner Alliance later this year, will give prospective members a peek.

To learn more, watch this short “What’s in IT for Me?” video: "Intel Partner Alliance: Now with More Access”:

 

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Stay competitive with the refreshed Intel NUC Mini PC Solutions Competency

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by Peter Krass on 09/15/2021
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The more you know about the Intel NUC, the better able you’ll be to recommend, install and implement this Mini PC for your customers.

To ensure you have updated information on the latest Intel NUC devices, the company has recently refreshed and renewed the Intel NUC Mini PC Solutions Competency.

                                    

Competencies, part of Intel Partner University, are deeper training curriculums that help you build expertise in a product, technology or business segment. Complete a Competency, and you’ll also earn a digital badge you can display in your email signatures and via social media for up to 18 months.

New NUCs

The Intel NUC Competency has undergone a thorough refresh. To bring you the most timely, relevant information, older courses have been removed and new courses have been added.

Currently, the Intel NUC Competency comprises 17 mandatory courses. Of these, about half are new.

For example, one of the new courses in the Intel NUC Competency is Unboxing the Intel NUC 11 Pro Mini PC (Tiger Canyon). Another is Intel NUC Pro Chassis Element Assembly (Fort Beach).

Also, some of these new courses are available only as part of the Competency curriculum. In other words, they’re not being offered as standalone courses.

One example of a Competency-only course is Unboxing and Customizing the Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC (Phantom Canyon). In this 20-minute course, you’ll see what comes out of the “Phantom Canyon” box and learn how to customize and implement backlit graphics.

Exceeding expectations

Intel says the popularity of the Intel NUC Competency has far exceeded its original expectations.

The company originally aimed to award 50 badges for the NUC Competency in the first year. Instead, 80 individuals from a variety of Gold and Titanium level distributors, integrators and solution providers completed the NUC Competency in just the first 10 months.

Also, as announced previously, Intel has now made the Competencies available to all Intel Partner Alliance members. Previously, Competencies were available only to members at the Gold and Titanium levels.

Partner endorsement

But don’t just take my word for it. Here's what one of Intel’s partners — Robert Hacker, senior system engineer at Dallmeier Electronic — had to say:

The Intel NUC Competency did an excellent job of showing the different types of Intel NUC products available and the appropriate use cases for each. The training materials were very useful, and I have been able to pass the knowledge through to customers and staff.

Intel NUCs had not been part of our core business, but because of everything I learned through the competency, we won some add-on business. We benefited from expanding our business, and the customer was grateful that we delivered an excellent solution for them. That is the kind of customer service that leads to repeat business.

                                                     Dallmeier logo

Gaining new technical skills has never been more important. Check out the updated Intel NUC Mini PC Solutions Competency.

Intel Partner University courses and Competencies are available to all members of the Intel Partner Alliance. Not yet an IPA member? Then learn more about the program and register now.

 

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Infographic: How to sell business desktops based on 11th gen Intel Core vPro CPUs

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by Peter Krass on 09/14/2021
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Don’t count out desktops. Especially when they’re loaded with the latest 11th gen Intel Core vPro processors.

Laptops may be getting all the attention. But U.S. shipments of desktop PCs actually rose 23% in this year’s second quarter, according to market watcher Canalys.

That’s because desktop PCs make a lot of sense for workers at fixed locations, whether in the office or at dedicated home offices. For one, desktops are often less expensive than similarly configured laptops. For another, due to their size and modular design, desktops are far easier to repair and upgrade.

Gain the vPro advantage

To turn up performance a notch, tell your customers to consider 11th Gen Intel Core vPro processors for their business-class desktops. These CPUs provide small and midsized businesses (SMBs) with high performance and enterprise-grade IT solutions.

The result: powerful, protected machines that also deliver a strong return on investment.

Intel Core vPro

Desktops based on 11th gen Intel Core vPro processors can be offered by resellers, managed service providers (MSPs), even tech providers who customers turn to for expert advice and recommendations.

Get ‘how to sell’ infographic

To help you sell 11th gen Intel Core vPro-powered desktops to your customers, Intel has created a 5-page infographic.

This infographic details the vPro advantage. Outlines key performance and security improvements. And shows how these CPUs have been designed to meet the needs of your SMB customers with performance and collaboration, security and user experience.

Download the infographic now: “How to sell guide: 11th Gen Intel Core vPro Processors for Business-Class Desktops.” Just click the PDF link below:

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Hitting the road? Follow these 4 rules to choose the right mobile peripherals

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by Kevin Jacoby on 09/10/2021
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Now that people are traveling again, however hesitantly, this could be the perfect time for you and your customers to build a great mobile setup.

But pick your gear carefully. The ideal mobile workstation requires a thoughtful balance of peripherals. These days, there are quite a few to choose from: portable keyboards, mice, chargers, stands, controllers, and printers, to name just a few.

Choosing the right gear could be the key to increasing your productivity — and maybe your free time, too. Choosing the wrong gear could tie you up in endless support calls, pointless app downloads, and the tearing out of hair you’d rather keep.

It’s not always easy to pick the right tools for the job. But don’t worry. While mobile accessory perfection may be in the eye of the beholder, here are 4 common signposts on the road to peripheral nirvana.

Rule #1: Beware the one-trick pony

Is there an iPad in your hand right now? If so, Apple would very much like to sell you the matching keyboard. Ditto for Microsoft, Samsung and all the other big names for whom the vaunted accessory upsell is a matter of vital importance.

But at nearly $300, Apple’s Magic Keyboard for iPad may not be the best bang for the buck.  Sure, it’s got some nifty features. But only when you’re using an iPad.

By contrast, Logitech’s K780 Multi-Device Wireless Keyboard offers a more satisfying narrative: Spend a fraction of what you would on Apple’s gear, and get a small, light keyboard that switches between 3 devices with the mere touch of a button.

Logitech K780 wireless keyboard

Logitech K780: switch easily among 3 definable devices

Starting at just shy of $60 — or less than a third of the price for Apple’s Magic Keyboard — Logitech’s offering is truly mobile and truly cross-platform. It connects via Bluetooth, runs on two AAA batteries, and pairs seamlessly with iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.

Switching devices is as easy as pushing a button. Three easily accessible keys shift the keyboard’s wireless connection between user-definable devices.

Button 1 could be programmed to connect to a standard desktop PC or laptop. Click the next button and, viola, you’re typing on a tablet seated in the integrated mobile device holder.

Button number 3 may be the one you hit while sitting on the train. Once connected, you can type a lengthy email on your smartphone without succumbing to fat-thumbs-typo-disorder (FTTD).

Rule #2: If you must print, do it wirelessly

Luckily for the Earth’s remaining trees, the printed page is fast becoming an anachronism. But there are still some presentations, board meetings and signs taped to office refrigerator doors that require an ounce or two of ink on a thin slice of wood pulp.

For those who must print on the go, Epson would like to suggest a wireless, battery-operated printer small enough to nestle in next to your tablet.

The Epson WorkForce WF-110 Wireless Mobile Printer is designed to print over a wireless area network (WAN) or communicate directly with just about any tablet or smartphone.

Priced just on the shady side of $300, it ain’t cheap. It also ain’t in stock at Epson. But don’t worry, Best Buy has you covered.

Epson WF-110 wireless printer

Epson’s WF-110 printer: wireless & battery-powered

But the WF-110 does offer crystal clear prints at resolutions up to 5760 x 1440. And the durable, instant-drying Pigment ink will make fast work of your print jobs — without blackening your fingers.

Rule #3: All work and no play makes…well, you know

In case you missed the memo, cloud gaming is now totally a thing.

Are you game to give it a go? All it takes is a subscription to your favorite service and a decent game controller. This brings us to our most enjoyable mobile accessory, Razer’s Kishi Universal Gaming Controller.

Gamers in the know tend to love Razer for its forward-looking design and cross-platform compatibility. Kishi has both.

Razer's Kishi controller

Kishi by Razer: cross-platform gaming on the go

Razer very smartly designed Kishi to hug either side of your iOS or Android phone. When attached, the two sides of the gamepad combine with your smartphone to create something that looks and feels a lot like the hugely popular Nintendo Switch.

Pro gamers may argue against the ergonomics of Kishi. And indeed, it’s not as battle-ready as, say, a PS5 Dual-Sense wireless controller with a phone mount.

But what it lacks in hardcore gaming cred, it more than makes up for in portability. At just over 5 inches wide when collapsed, Kishi will fit into just about any pocket.

Rule #4: Use just enough to get the job done

When discussing accessories, the late, great fashion designer Coco Chanel would advise, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

Chanel’s counsel is apt to technology, too. With so many great choices, it’s easy to end up with too many accessories. So many, in fact, that traveling with your mobile workstation could feel like lugging around the entire office.

It’s down to the intrepid road warrior to decide which mobile accessories are vital and which are superfluous. Choose wisely, and you may find yourself getting a good day’s work done from some of the world’s most amazing locales.

Happy trails!

 

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In the Zone

Intel Partner Alliance: To keep benefits, activate your membership by Sept. 30

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by Peter Krass on 09/09/2021
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If you belonged to an older Intel partner program but haven’t yet activated your membership in the new Intel Partner Alliance, now’s the time to do it.

Intel Partner Alliance, formed last year, combines all of Intel’s older partner programs — including Intel Technology Provider and Intel IoT Solution Alliance — into a single, streamlined program.

If you were a member of one or more of those older partner programs, joining the new Intel Partner Alliance is quick and easy.

But if you haven’t done it yet, don’t wait. Until now, members of those older Intel partners programs have enjoyed the new Partner Alliance’s benefits. But that grace period is ending soon.

To continue enjoying the benefits of Intel Partner Alliance membership, you’ll need to activate your account by no later than this coming Sept. 30.

Don’t miss it

And what if you miss that Sept. 30 deadline? Well, you’ll lose your Intel Partner Alliance membership.

You don’t want to do that. Intel Partner Alliance can help you connect with other partners, provide innovate tech solutions, and grow your business.

Key features of Intel Partner Alliance membership include:

> Intel Solutions Marketplace: Connect with other Intel partners to discover products and solutions that can help you solve the pressing needs of your customers.

> Intel Partner University: Get trained in the latest Intel technology, including client computing, storage & memory, data center, internet of things (IoT), and FPGA. And earn badges you can use to promote your skills online.

> Intel Partner Marketing Studio: Gain access to Intel marketing campaigns, assets, digital resources and co-branding and implementation tools — all in 1 intuitive, searchable platform.

Membership levels

Also key to Intel Partner Alliance is a new focus on membership roles.

When you activate your membership, you’ll be added to 1 of 8 roles. That way, the site can connect you with other partners who have similar business competencies and needs.

The 8 roles are: cloud & communications; distributor; FPGA design services; independent software vendor; manufacturer; OEM; service integrator; and solution provider.

You’ll also be able to participate in 3 membership levels: member, gold and titanium. Each successive layer has increasing requirements as well as increasing benefits.

You can also join Intel Partner Alliance Specialties. These are select groups of partners that have deep expertise in a strategic technology segment. Members receive powerful Specialty benefits that can help them develop a competitive edge when supplying tech solutions.

Don’t lose your benefits: Activate your Intel Partner Alliance membership by Sept. 30.

 

 

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5 top takeaways from Intel at IIA Mobility

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by Peter Krass on 09/08/2021
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Intel’s new CEO, Pat Gelsinger, made news yesterday during his keynote address at the IIA Mobility conference in Munich, Germany.

The conference, being held all this week, features more than 700 exhibitors, including car and bicycle manufacturers, tech makers and suppliers. The theme this year is “the future of mobility.”

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, at IIA Mobility

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger speaking at IIA Mobility

Yesterday was Day 1 of the conference, and the final keynote was presented by CEO Gelsinger and other Intel officers. Here are your top 5 takeaways from Intel at IIA Mobility:

1. Intel intends to be a major player in autonomous vehicles. “The future of automotive and autonomy is a technology story,” Gelsinger said. “And Intel is the only company that can do the end-to-end technology platform.” Later, he added, “We need you, and you need us.”

2. Cars becoming “computers with tires.” Today, about 4% of a car’s bill of materials (BOM) is semiconductors, Gelsinger said. Intel expects that to rise to 12% of the BOM by 2025, and to 20% by 2030. “If you’re worried about the semiconductor shortage today…you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Gelsinger added.

3. Robo-taxi: Mobileye, an Intel company that develops advanced driver-assistance systems, now has its technology being used by nearly 30 manufacturers in more than 88 million vehicles worldwide. (That includes collision-avoidance systems.)

Yesterday, the company introduced the Mobileye Robotaxi, a production-grade, fully electric, self-driving vehicle. It’s capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, which means there is no need for a human driver, even in the case of a system failure. Passengers will flag the robotaxi using the new Moovit app.

To keep these cars safe, Intel has participated in creating IEEE 2846, the world’s first standard for autonomous-vehicle safety. “Safety is not an absolute,” Jack Weast, an Intel Fellow. “Driving safely is a balance between safety and usefulness.”

Mobileye Robotaxi

Mobileye Robotaxi: no human driver needed

4. Euro-tech coming. Intel plans to build more semiconductor manufacturing capacity in Europe. In 1990, Europe represented 44% of the worldwide semiconductor industry, Gelsinger told the IIA audience. Today, it’s just 9%. To help turn that around, Intel plans to build two new “mega-fab” chip-making facilities in Europe. Over the next decade, that would grow to 8 fabs across Europe, Gelsinger added, with a total project value of about €80 billion.

5. Euro foundry services: Earlier this year, Intel announced its IDM 2.0, which includes Intel becoming a foundry for other companies. Yesterday, Gelsinger announced the European Foundry Services, which will run from Intel’s facility in Ireland.

Gelsinger also announced a new program, Intel Foundry Services Accelerator, aimed at easing the chip shortage in Europe. That will involve working with European automotive suppliers including Bosch, Daimler, Siemens and VW.

Learn more:

> Watch: Intel CEO keynote at IIA Mobility video replay

> Read: Mobileye and SIXT plan new robotaxi service

> Read: Intel CEO predicts chips will be more than 20% of premium vehicle BOM by 2030

 

 

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Q&A: How TeraCloud fixes PCs faster with Intel vPro and Intel EMA

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by Intel on 09/07/2021
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Would you like to be able resolve PC hardware problems faster, cheaper and easier? TeraCloud Inc. is doing it.

The company, which offers managed IT services, including security and cloud, operates from 4 main offices: Dallas, Houston, Tampa and Tulsa. It’s also a Microsoft Gold partner.

Using Intel technology, TeraCloud has reduced the average time it needs to resolve a hardware problem by 77%. Cut the average time needed to achieve 95% patch saturation by 95%. And completely eliminated its customers’ average PC downtime from 15 minutes a month down to zero.

TeraCloud logo

To learn how TeraCloud made these improvements, we spoke recently with its president, Eric Long. Here are edited highlights from our conversation.

Eric Long, president of TeraCloud

Eric Long, president, TeraCloud

You’ve used the Intel vPro platform for its remote-management capabilities for a number of years. How does Intel Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel EMA) make things even better?

We’d dabbled with the Intel vPro platform before, but that was on an earlier version, before Intel had rolled out the Intel EMA. Now that we have Intel EMA, that’s definitely improved things. It’s much better than our last experience trying to configure and use the Intel vPro platform.

The reality today is that companies no longer have 500 users in a single location. Instead, they have 20 users here, 20 users there, plus employees working from home. For our clients, that’s been the norm for a while, even pre-COVID.

But if I can’t get to something remotely, I can’t activate it. Many of our Lenovo systems already have Intel Core vPro processors in them. In fact, I was surprised to see how many of them we had. Now we’ll start standardizing all our systems.

What are you doing to better reach the growing numbers of out-of-office workers?

If you can’t get to a computer, you can’t see what’s going on. And that’s where Intel EMA and Intel Active Management Technology are going to be incredibly helpful.

That’s the real value, especially with the work-from-anywhere situation that we’ve been facing this past year — and which I don’t really see changing anytime soon. Our Florida and Texas clients are back at work, but probably a third of the employees wanted to stay remote, and our clients allowed them to do that.

We’d already been enabling that for many years, so it wasn’t new to us. What was new, however, was the sheer headcount of people working from home.

One of our clients has a remote employee who lives in a forest in the Florida panhandle. We have major challenges reaching her because of connectivity. She had satellite for a while and finally got some higher bandwidth that seems to be working. But Intel EMA seems to use very low bandwidth. So if she was out of commission, we could at least get on her system and troubleshoot what was going on.

How did you improve hardware downtime by 77 percent?

Not having to roll a truck is a big deal for us. We’re supporting clients in many, many locations. Today, that means I’d have to hire a contractor to put their hands on a machine, or have the end user ship a machine, or have a hot standby ready to ship out to a client.

The Intel vPro platform will eliminate the need for all of that, unless the machine is simply dead. If you’re building an all-in managed services agreement and you’re including onsite time, the ROI would be huge if you didn’t have to dispatch somebody on an emergency. And these days, pretty much everything is an emergency for every client!

How about resolving patching issues and customer reboots?

Sometimes we have to patch systems manually because our RMM [remote monitoring and management] software just can’t grab the patches from the Microsoft site. With the Intel vPro platform, we’d be able to get to a machine, get to the BIOS, and get to the boot source.

When we completely standardize on Intel vPro platform-based PCs, using Intel EMA to turn systems on and off — especially those that are remote — and roll patches out there will be a great help.

You prefer Lenovo PCs. Why’s that?

Lenovo PCs and laptops have quality builds and solid units. Ruggedness and reliability are really important to both us and our clients. Lenovo does them well.

Learn more:
 

> Explore the Intel vPro platform

> Read the Intel EMA product brief

Learn how to provision Intel vPro systems within your current RMM tool

 

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In the Zone

Watch Intel CEO’s ‘future of mobility’ keynote on Sept. 7

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by Peter Krass on 09/03/2021
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Interested in the future of digital mobility? Then mark your calendar for Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET.   

That’s when Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger will be speaking on the topic at the IIA Mobility summit in Munich, Germany, along with 2 guests.

Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger will speak on mobility's future

Gelsinger will give the final keynote address on the conference’s first day. He plans to discuss ways Intel is addressing chip shortages and accelerating its moves to autonomous vehicles.

Intel and its Mobileye unit will be exhibitors at the conference, too. Mobileye is developing technologies for autonomous driving and driver-assist, computer vision, machine learning, mapping and data analysis.

Mobileye car

On Sept. 7, you can watch Pat Gelsinger’s keynote live on the Intel Newsroom. There will also be a video replay later at the same site.

 

The indispensable source for professionals who create, implement and service technology solutions for entrepreneurs to enterprise.

In the Zone

Video podcast: What ‘Intel Accelerated’ means for you

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by Peter Krass on 09/02/2021
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In July, Intel shared its most detailed roadmap ever at the Intel Accelerated event. That included the company’s $100 billion IDM 2.0 strategy. Great, but what’s that mean for you and other tech providers?

To find out, watch this new video. Gina Merjanian, Intel’s general manager for team U.S. inside sales, speaks with Ed Hannan, senior digital content manager at The Channel Co. (publisher of this site).  

In this fast-paced video, Gina and Ed discuss:

> Key takeaways of ‘Intel accelerated’ for partners

> Intel plans to lead the world in chip manufacturing

> Intel’s path to process-performance leadership

> Exciting Intel tech innovations in the pipeline

> How Intel helps partners help their customers

> What all this means for partners from a day-to-day perspective

> The future of the Intel partner ecosystem

Get up to speed. Watch this new “What ‘Intel Accelerated’ Means for U.S. Partners” video podcast now:

 

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