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How tech provider Bleu Jour creates fanless mini PCs with Intel NUC Element

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by Intel on 05/17/2022
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Challenge

Bleu Jour is a leading European provider of mini PCs built with Intel NUC Element products. Based in Toulouse, France (the company’s name means “blue day”), Bleu Jour needed to serve its German solution provider, OCTO IT, with a robust, fanless design for a powerful and stylish mini PC.

Solution

Bleu Jour chose modular Intel NUC Element products. They feature interchangeable, prequalified building blocks that Bleu Jour built into a uniquely stylish, fanless mini PC product line called WAVE.

Bleu Jour PC

Bleu Jour WAVE: Intel NUC Elements inside

Bleu Jour’s president, Jean-Christophe Agobert, calls the Intel NUC Compute Element “yet another great innovation.”

Benefits

> Rapid Time to Market: The modularity of Intel NUC Element products allows Bleu Jour to design innovative mini PC solutions in about four months.

> Powerful Performance: The Intel NUC 11 Compute Element offers boundary-breaking performance with up to 11th Gen Intel Core i7/i5 processors — with or without Intel vPro technology — and connects easily to an Intel NUC Assembly Element.

> Faster Refreshes: The Intel NUC Compute Element makes it easier, less costly, and more sustainable for customers to refresh to a next-gen processor without discarding the chassis and board.

> Reliable Performance: Intel offers ongoing support and extensive reliability testing, prequalifying, and standardizing Intel NUC Element components to streamline integration and sales.

Put it all together, and you can see why OCTO IT’s CEO, Carsten Huwer, says the Intel NUC is “the top product in its class.”

To read the full Bleu Jour/OCTO IT case study, click the PDF link below:

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In the Zone

Q&A: How PCSS keeps small-biz clients up and running with Intel vPro

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by Intel on 05/05/2022
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When PCs crash, a small business feels it every bit as much as a big enterprise, maybe even more. That’s why PCSS LLC of Covington, Va., a provider of IT services to local small businesses, is so keen on the Intel vPro Platform.

PCSS finds that PCs based on Intel vPro are inoperable 80% less often than other PCs — an average of 2 minutes of downtime per month compared with 10.

When OS problems occur, vPro-based PCs get resolved 55% faster than other PCs — in 20 minutes on average instead of 45. And they require PCSS to make 66% fewer deskside visits — just 1 a month compared with 3 for other PCs.

To learn more, we spoke with PCSS’s founder and president, Nick Moga.

Nick Moga, president of PCSS

Nick Moga, president of PCSS

How does the Intel vPro platform help you reduces OS repair times by 55%?

Almost 80% of the issues we deal with are OS problems. Using Intel Active Management Technology, we can get under the OS faster and resolve issues more quickly.

We’re on the S end of SMB, meaning we deal with a lot of mom-and-pop shops. They don’t always want to upgrade. But when we show them the time savings that new hardware delivers — because of our ability to manage issues remotely, as well as the reliability —they will often let go of their old hardware.

The Intel vPro platform has helped you cut deskside visits by two-thirds. Why is that so important?

During the pandemic, we’ve relied on being able to remote into a system, where maybe five years ago we weren’t. It’s had a huge impact on our business — and on our ability to reach clients.

The ability to remote into a PC makes us more efficient, so the time savings goes right to our bottom line. But we’re also serving customers faster, so it’s a win-win.

Many of our customers are government, education, and nonprofit. So when we’re more efficient, it helps everybody.

How have you sped patching by over 40%?

The Intel vPro platform frees up our techs to dig more deeply into systems, because they can handle more systems more efficiently.

One way is that they can make sure the systems are patched — especially with remote systems that are turned off. We can use Intel Endpoint Management Assistant to remote into a system, turn it on, and patch it. It’s really been a lifesaver with businesses that are keeping remote employees.

We’ve also adopted a zero trust security approach. Adapting PCs with the Intel vPro platform is a big deal for us — and a crucial part of our security stack.

You recommend Lenovo PCs. Why is that?

Lenovo makes good stuff, and we like their warranties. They’re good for us and our clients. Lenovo also has a very good support system.

Explore more:

> Get more information on Intel vPro Platform and how to activate your endpoints

> Learn more about the trainings and benefits offered to Intel Partner Alliance members

 

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In the Zone

Top IT market insights for tech providers: April edition

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by Intel on 04/22/2022
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By Jason Kimrey

Hot off the presses is IDC’s quarterly PC shipments report. After double-digit growth, spending is tapering. However, 80.5 million PCs were still shipped in the first quarter, marking the seventh consecutive quarter of 80+ million units!

The latest worldwide IT spending report is also out. Gartner says inflation, geopolitical disruptions and talent shortages will slow IT investments to $4.4 trillion in 2022, even though spending will still be up (by 4%) from 2021.

Digging into the report, growth is tapering across almost every segment down from double-digit spending in 2021. Gartner’s key projections include:

> Data center systems: 5.5% growth in 2022 and 5.4% in 2023

> Software: up 9.8% in 2022 and 11.8% in 2023

> Devices: rising 1.9% in 2022 and 1.6% in 2023

> IT services: up 6.8% in 2022 and 8.5% in 2023

This Gartner report also sheds interesting light on the challenges CIOs face as well as their priorities — which include investing in areas that give them the flexibility and agility to respond to disruption.

AI Spending to Double

Spending on artificial intelligence will grow to $120 billion by 2025, a CAGR of 25%, with retail and banking industries leading the investment, according to IDC.

The Augmented Customer Service Agents, and Expert Shopping Advisors & Product Recommendations use cases will account for almost 40% of spending, says IDC.

Inflationary Pressure

You can’t go into a store or fill up your tank without feeling the impact of inflation. We also need to recognize how inflation is impacting our customers and their spending strategies.

“Organizations have largely picked the low-hanging fruit in responding to input price inflation,” said Randeep Rathindran, a research VP in Gartner’s finance practice. “CFOs need strategies now that both adapt to a more persistent inflationary environment than originally anticipated, while also better preparing their organizations for growth in the next economic cycle.”

As trusted advisors and leaders, we have an important role to play in helping guide IT strategies and investments to help our customers gain or retain that competitive edge.

Time to Thrive

Expanding on IDC’s 2022 worldwide CEO survey, this article digs deeper into the priorities for business leaders. Here’s a hint: CEOs are focused on technology that helps their organizations thrive.

Among the most interesting findings: Every CEO, regardless of industry, must become a tech CEO in our digital world. There’s an IDC webinar on the subject on April 28, if you want to hear more.

Well said!

“Everyone realizes that technology is significant—we’ve earned the seat at the table and have everyone’s ear,” says Jamie Holcombe, CIO of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“You lose it by talking ‘geek speak’ or focusing on pet projects that have nothing to do with the business mission,” Holcombe adds. “Make sure you talk to colleagues in business terms, so they understand how you’re delivering for them.”

This is a great quote. It can be tempting to get excited about what technology can do and the key features you can’t live without. But what really matters is business outcomes and solving challenges.

News Recap

Here’s a roundup of articles and news I’ve been reading:

Data Privacy: The United States and EU have reached a preliminary agreement on how European data could be stored in the U.S. If successful, it could once again permit trans-Atlantic data flow.

Data & Analytic Trends: Three key areas are highlighted by Gartner: activate dynamism and diversity; augment people and decisions; and institutionalize trust. It’s an interesting piece that builds on Gartner’s trends research.

Betting on Cloud: Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud report shows where enterprises and SMBs are spending cloud dollars. For enterprise spending, the report shows, AWS has a slight lead over both Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

Who’s Making Decisions? According to this Gartner report, the board of directors is coming out ahead of the CIOs and CTOs when it comes to deciding on emerging technology investments.

The good news highlighted in this report: 90% of respondents said their emerging-technology investments are either meeting or exceeding expectations.

Tech Deals Continue: There seems to be no slowing of M&A activity in tech. According to Computerworld’s roundup, cybersecurity and collaboration software are two especially hot areas.

The Great Resignation: We all know there’s a tech talent shortage. Only about one in three tech workers (29%) plan to stay in their current job, and that’s not welcome news to businesses. According to Gartner, the key to retention lies in rethinking outdated work assumptions.

The Great Rethink: As leaders we need to be aware of shifting sentiments about work and help ensure the momentum we have achieved in hybrid workplaces is not lost. While we embraced remote work during the pandemic, this report is a little troubling.

Nearly 60% of women knowledge workers think in-office workers will be seen as high performers, says Alexia Cambon, research director in Gartner’s HR practice. And more than 75% think in-office workers are more likely to be promoted.

Being physically in an office is an outdated measure of performance. It’s a misconception we must guard against.

Shed B2B Sales Myths: I highlight this Forrester piece because too often we get trapped in the way we’ve always done things …and sometimes those ideas and practices are outdated and limit success.

It’s Not You: Given our customer-centric world, it might seem counterintuitive that a business would willingly turn away sales. But Gartner’s research says that could be exactly what’s best. By 2025, the firm predicts, 75% of companies will break up with poor-fitting customers. The reason? Retaining those customers is too costly.

Smart Cities Awarded: These projects and cities are great examples of how municipalities can leverage technology and innovation. Congratulations to this year’s winners and innovators!

A little fun before I sign off: Have you tested your gaming skills yet? Get a little retro with Pixel Pat and go for the high score. Game on, Jay McBain, Rachel Mushahwar, Aletha Noonan, Gary Palenbaum, Jason Mitchell, and Bob Olwig!

Jason Kimrey

Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.

 

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In the Zone

Q&A: How the Intel vPro platform helps Women’s Pavilion get more done in less time

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by Intel on 03/22/2022
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Getting more work done in less time — who could argue with that?

Not Women’s Pavilion of South Mississippi. This group of physicians and nurse practitioners employs state-of-the art technology from three locations to offer a full range of obstetrics and gynecological services ranging from initial exams to childbirth and beyond.

Women's Pavilion

Women’s Pavilion has standardized on Dell PCs powered by the Intel vPro platform, and the results have been impressive. Using this dynamic duo, Women’s Pavilion’s average time needed to resolve a hardware problem has dropped from 60 minutes to just 15.

The average time needed to resolve an OS problem has fallen from 15 minutes to 5. And the number of deskside visits per month, from 10 to just 2.

To learn more, we spoke with Women’s Pavilion’s IT director, David Judice.

Why do you recommend PCs built on the Intel vPro platform?

The Intel vPro platform is hugely important for me because I’m just one person managing 115 workstations. Anything I can do to be more efficient is crucial.

Some of the workstations are used by labor and delivery physicians who are on call 24x7. I work closely with them to make sure they stay online and have access to client records.

Where the Intel vPro platform really helps is getting to the BIOS level. That lets me make changes there. Or, if a system isn’t powering up, I can power it up remotely to determine the issue.

My assumption used to be: If a remote PC is having issues, I’m going to have to go see what's going on — whether it’s in the building or another location. Most of our locations are 30 minutes away from where I sit, so saving that drive time really increases my efficiency.

I’ve already seen how the Intel vPro platform is going to be a massive help to me, and it will absolutely be our standard for PCs going forward.

Why is remote management so helpful to you?

If I have to push firmware or BIOS updates out to systems, the ability to do that remotely is massive.

I do most of my maintenance work when the clinics are closed. And if one system locks up or doesn’t reboot, using Intel Active Management Technology to remotely access that machine and figure out what's going on is a big help. It really is an enormous assistance to have access to the technology available in the Intel vPro platform.

Remote management also helps you reduces deskside visits, right?

In a small clinic, the reduction in deskside visits for those systems with an Intel Core vPro processor delivers a substantial cost-savings for us — especially as we grow.

Medical clinics of our size typically don't have an in-house IT person. The Intel vPro platform lets me leverage myself, as it were, to be efficient with what I’m doing and access systems quickly when they have issues.

How about patching?

Drivers, firmware patches and BIOS updates are things I handle on the weekends. And there are always PCs that don’t play well after you update them. For example, they may not reboot properly after an update. Or, if I’m rebooting one, it may lock up because the patch may not have installed properly.

With Intel Active Management Technology and KVM [keyboard, video monitor, mouse] Remote Control, I now have access to those computers.

Why have you standardized on Dell PCs?

I like Dell. And it’s nice to standardize on a single provider, so I can practically work on a system with my eyes closed.

Also, I've gotten great support from Dell in terms of parts replacement. I know the other manufacturers are good, but I like Dell best.

In addition to the Intel vPro platform and Dell PCs, are there other resources you recommend?

Spiceworks [a marketplace for tech buyers and sellers] has great capabilities in the reporting and inventory areas.

I can quickly look into a machine and see every piece of hardware and software installed on it, check its MAC [media access control] address, and then to be able to run a report and say, “I want to see the top 10 computers with the least amount of free disk space.” That’s the value of Spiceworks to me.

Get connected:

> Explore the Intel vPro Platform.

> Check out the Intel vPro Navigator, a collaboration of Intel and Spiceworks designed to help you securely manage remote workers at a safe distance.

 

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In the Zone

Q&A: How Jimender2 Consulting fixes customer PCs faster with the Intel vPro platform

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by Intel on 02/18/2022
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How would you like to be able to resolve customer hardware problems 75% faster than you do now? Resolve OS problems in 50% less time? And cut the number of deskside visits also by 50%?

Those are field-test results reported by Jimender2 Consulting, which credits these gains to its use of the Intel vPro platform as provisioned by a new collaboration between Intel Endpoint Management Assistant (EMA) and Spiceworks.

To learn more, we spoke with Jonathan, a computer engineer at Jimender2 Consulting. Here’s a lightly edited version of our conversation.

Why do you recommend that customers build PCs on the Intel vPro platform?

It is a standard that we recommend to our customers. We won't really give them an option, because the Intel vPro platform is such a powerful tool.

Being able to see all the processes and not having to walk the user through all the tests and screens is definitely a lot easier. Also, it saves me a trip. I don't have to drive to a client site and figure out what diagnostics to run.

How does that help you troubleshoot customer systems?

I can see what processes are running and diagnose it if it's a hardware issue and also see what type of hardware issue it might be. The ability to troubleshoot remotely is a big deal for us.”

I like that I can do the diagnosis and repair all in one location and I don't have use multiple tools to solve a problem. With PCs built on the Intel vPro platform, I don't have to wait, I can just dive right in.

Whether a user is at home, at a coffee shop, or in the office I am able to see their system. Also, unlike other tools, Intel Active Management Technology is valuable because it doesn't need much processing power from the PC I'm diagnosing.

How about reducing the number of deskside visits?

Proving to my customers that I do not need to be onsite to provide them with the same (or better) support is very important. The less time I can spend onsite, the less wear and tear on my vehicle — and on me.

However, no matter what, I try to visit my customers at least once a month. When they have deployed PCs built on the Intel vPro platform, I can come onsite to talk about their strategic priorities rather than fixing PCs.

Many of my customers are running older machines, so I'll always have to make some deskside visits. But the reduction in deskside visits for those systems on the Intel vPro platform delivers a substantial cost-savings for us, especially as we grow.

Does the Intel vPro platform help with important patching?

Yes, using the Intel vPro platform means I spend less time chasing down users to patch their machines.

Additionally, being able to turn on a machine and not have to rely on wake-on-LAN should also help as well—especially because that PC feature does not work reliably. This way, I know systems are patched and secure, even for those people working at home.

You’re a loyal Dell customer. Why is that?

I’ve always used Dell systems because their Pro Support is excellent and they offer same-day replacements in all 50 states. There’s no other company that I know of that does that.

Do more:

> Discover the Intel vPro Platform.

> Check out the Intel vPro Navigator, a collaboration of Intel and Spiceworks designed to help you securely manage remote workers at a safe distance.

 

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

In the Zone

Q&A: How Intelecis resolves hardware issues faster with PCs built on the Intel vPro platform

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by Intel on 01/13/2022
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Would you be interested in making a simple hardware swap that would cut the time you need to resolve hardware problems by 75 percent?

Intelecis Inc., a provider of managed security services based in Fullerton, Calif., certainly was interested.

The company, founded in 2010, provides IT support in southern California. Today Intelecis recommends Dell PCs based on Intel Core vPro processors in conjunction with its existing management-console software. 

Intelecis logo

In this way, Intelecis has reduced the time it needs to resolve hardware problems from 45 minutes to just 15. Shortened the average time needed to resolve an OS problem by half, from 90 minutes to 45. And halved the average monthly downtime for the PCs it manages, from 50 minutes down to 25.

To learn more, we spoke recently with Intelecis’ CTO, Richard Lane. Here’s an edited account of our conversation.

Why do you recommend PCs built on the Intel vPro platform?

Because they allow us to maximize our technicians’ time. If a technician has to make multiple visits, that's a problem. Cutting down on those truck rolls by instead handling issues remotely really saves us time.

We can remediate almost everything remotely because we're standardized on Dell PCs built on the Intel vPro platform. That standardization simplifies our business.

How have you reduced the time to repair an OS problem by 50 percent?

I've been doing this for 40 years, and I’ve seen the same errors over and over again. So you know immediately how to handle an issue, and you don't have to go through every single step.

But we’ve never been able to get to the BIOS level remotely until we began activating the Intel vPro platform on our customers’ PCs. Being able to get below the OS and into the BIOS with Intel Active Management Technology helps a whole lot. We can make sure the customer hasn't changed anything. This can be a real game-changer.

How about patching?

Nowadays, with everyone working from home, remote diagnosis is a must-have. Employees rely on their business computers more than ever. The sooner we can get a PC repaired and get an employee back to work, the better that makes us look — and the happier and more productive that keeps our customers.

With all of these Zero Day exploits coming out, we need to make sure our customers are patched and secure. With PCs built on the Intel vPro platform and our RMM tool, we are knocking it out of the park with security patches.

It's great to be able to turn a system on remotely — especially if a customer has called, said their PC isn't working correctly, and then they shut it down and walked away.

You specify and recommend Dell PCs. Why Dell?

With the Dell Expert Network, we have a preferred phone number that gets us directly to a second-level technician. I tell them what we’ve already tried. Then they'll take care of it by the next day. I really like that.

I also love our dedicated account manager. We get quotes in just 45 minutes to an hour. And the quality of the systems cannot be beaten.

Get faster:

Get more information on Intel vPro Platform and learn how to activate your endpoints.

Discover training and other benefits offered to Intel Partner Alliance members.

 

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In the Zone

Tech trends and predictions for 2022

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by Intel on 12/08/2021
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By Jason Kimrey

Let predictions season begin! The new market trends and forecasts have started to be published. I’d expect that over the next month or so, the prognostications will continue to come in. So I thought now would be a good idea to start sharing these early predictions.

IDC has released its latest spending guide on digital transformation, forecasting growth of 16.4% (CAGR) from 2021 to 2025. The top three spending categories by 2025 will be robotic manufacturing at $120.6 billion; autonomic operations at $90.9 billion; and 360-degree customer and client management at $74.7 billion. The fastest-growing use case will be virtualized student workplaces.

First up is Gartner, which looks at trends its analysts deem “critical to business.” This year’s Top 12 Strategic Technology Trends for 2022 are (drumroll, please):

1. Data fabric

2. Cybersecurity mesh

3. Privacy enhancing computation

4. Cloud-native

5. Composable architecture

6. Decision intelligence

7. Hyper-automation

8. AI engineering

9. Distributed enterprises

10. Total experience

11. Automatic systems

12. Generative AI

When I look at the trends from Gartner and others at a high level, I see a few themes emerging. These include the continued importance of data; cloud and cloud-native applications; the ongoing move to automation; enhancing user and customer experiences; and cybersecurity, trust and privacy protection.

Looking deeper into the user/customer experience IT priority, you can’t help but acknowledge that hybrid workplaces continue to be influential. We know few companies will return to how we operated pre-pandemic. So investments to ensure that staff and customers remain connected will be critical to future growth.

For CIOs, choppy waters ahead

IDC says the next three years will remain “highly fluid” for CIOs. These executives will be influenced by disruptive and highly complex issues ranging from societal and economic to technological. The critical external drivers for CIOs include:

> Embracing digital-first: New strategies for complexity and ubiquity

> Pervasive disruption continues: Volatility, opportunity and resilience

> Cybersecurity and risk: The threat environment just keeps scaling

> Digital ecosystem: Thriving in a multiplatform world

> Intelligence on demand: Navigating the torrent of data

> Environmental and social responsibility: A new stakeholder-driven imperative

> Workforce outlook: Redefining teams, reinventing models and rethinking leadership

IDC also offers some excellent statistics about the ecosystem and focus of CIOs, which prioritizes long-term business outcomes and sustainability:

> 65% of CIOs will sustain a cycle of tech-based empowerment, agility and resilience through collaborative governance, new service-delivery models and a business-outcomes orientation.

> Given the rising imperative for hybrid and smart workplaces, 60% of CIOs will reimagine user support and create COE-based teams to guide the necessary investments in technology and process by 2024.

> 85% of organizations whose data practices inhibit their business and operating strategies will empower CIOs to lead cross-enterprise investments in data governance, quality and compliance by 2026.

The Future of Digital Infrastructure is also out with 10 predictions about how organizations will deploy, operate and scale infrastructure.

“IDC's 2022 predictions for the future of digital infrastructure identify critical shifts in governance, operations, architecture, and sourcing that need to be factored into enterprise digital transformation strategies going forward.” — Mary Johnston Turner, research vice president, Future of Digital Infrastructure, IDC

You can read the full list, but here are a few highlights:

> By 2024, due to the  explosion of edge data, 65% of the G2000 will embed edge-first data stewardship, security and network practices into data-protection plans to integrate edge data into relevant processes.

> By 2026, mid-market companies will shift 65% of their infrastructure spending from traditional channels towards more app-centric trusted advisors.

> By 2025, 70% of companies will invest in alternative computing technologies to drive business differentiation by compressing time to value of insights from complex data sets.

> By 2026, 90% of G2000 CIOs will use AIOps solutions to drive automated remediation and workload-placement decisions that include cost and performance metrics, improving resiliency and agility.

> By 2025, 60% of enterprises will fund line-of-business and IT projects through OpEx budgets, matching how vendors provide their services with a focus on outcomes that are determined by SLAs and KPIs.

From break-fix to innovation

I like how Forrester is describing its overarching theme for IT investment in 2022. It is projecting a move from short-term, reactionary decision-making and will start to shift back to solving longer-term challenges.

“The ones that do it best will leverage a customer-obsessed approach to technology that enables their company to quickly reconfigure business structures and capabilities to meet future customer and employee needs with adaptivity, creativity, and resilience. We call this future fit, and our data show that future fit companies outperform their peers by 2.8 times.”Matthew Guarini, VP and research director, Forrester

We have spent the last two years fixing short-term problems, many brought about by the need to adapt the pandemic. But in 2022, we’ll transition to long-term innovation. I think this is good news as we become more strategic and build plans for the future. I also think there’s a strong role for IT partners to help guide customers’ ongoing transformation journey.

From the CEO’s desk

“Expectations for business growth remain strong, as investments in digital transformation and innovation continue to drive a positive economic outlook. Attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market has ascended to the top of CEOs’ list of strategic priorities.”Joe Ucuzoglu, CEO, Deloitte U.S.

> Two-thirds of CEOs expect their organizations’ growth to be either strong or very strong over the next 12 months.

> 73% of CEOs say the talent/labor shortage is the biggest influence or disruptor of their business strategy. Another 70% of CEOs cited epidemics/pandemics, and 29% said cybersecurity threats.

Sales trends

Forrester is also highlighting priorities that will be important to those of us in sales:

> Investments in “always on” digital-engagement technology will be a focus in 2022. But Forrester says 5% of efforts to create automated, personalized engagement won’t meet ROI goals because of inadequate buyer insight.

> Brand values will equate to trust. Half of all adults will purchase from brands they trust, which means in 2022, CMOs will need to navigate an even more politically divided and vocal consumer base.

> More organizations buying tech will commit to accessibility. Some $10 billion in design spending will shift to vendors and services that commit to accessibility. The importance of ensuring accessibility is no doubt linked to the priority we’re placing on diversity and inclusion. But I also believe it’s tied to our drive to improve the user and employee experience.

Even more 2022 predictions!

> Tech budgets will remain steady, with securing the enterprise a priority for 25% of IT leaders. Meanwhile, customer-experience tech, BI and analytics are other areas for spending increases. Business-process automation, the skills shortage and AI are also noteworthy (CIO).

> Hybrid experiences, composable business, hyper-automation and security are just some of the trends accelerating digital transformation (Mulesoft).

> Responsible AI, cloud at the edge, cybersecurity mesh, embedded data, analytics, and connected sensors and machines are coming (Bearing Point).

> AI everywhere, XaaS, digitization, virtualization, governance and accountability make the list of trends that will have the biggest impact next year (Bernard Marr).

> I was fascinated by what Forrester called bias bounties. Forrester predicts companies will launch bias-bounty programs, which are modelled after bug bounties and aim to reward users who detect biases in AI systems.

> In 2022, investments in smart infrastructure will increase 40%. The U.S., the EU and China all launched related initiatives backed by trillions of dollars of stimulus. IoT and edge technologies that ride advanced networks like 5G have demonstrated their ability to empower smart, connected ports, roads and trains (Forrester).

> Networking: Satellite internet will challenge 5G as the connectivity method of choice (Forrester).

Keeping a pulse on the trends coming through research like those I’ve highlighted above can help us guide our end-user customers as trusted advisors. It can also help us to better understand how sales environments are shifting.

I’ll bring you more reports and insights as they cross my desk, so we can see where the tides are shifting and help our customers navigate the ever-changing IT landscape.

Jason Kimrey of Intel

Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.

 

 

 

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In the Zone

Conference update: Intel NUC at InfoComm 2021

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by Intel on 11/11/2021
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The Intel NUC group recently returned from the InfoComm 2021 conference in Orlando, Fla., their first in-person event in nearly 2 years.

The by-invitation NDA space featured 5 demos and a “petting zoo” that included all of the current Intel NUC products — plus a few new unreleased products coming in Q1:22.

The demos included customer interactive kiosks from Symtron featuring the Intel NUC Compute Element and NUC Rugged Board Element. These showed viewers how Symtron’s NUC-based kiosks meet a variety of market needs while keeping both costs and power requirements low.

SimplyNUC shared an OPS unit driven by an Intel NUC Compute Element and attached to an Avacor 55-inch display. It’s capable of running Zoom and Teams video conferences.

The Intel Unite team shared the space with the Intel NUC 11 Element  plus NUC Pro Chassis Element, driving the signage and collaboration demo.

The Intel NUC 11 Pro “Tiger Canyon” impressed attendees by remaining impossibly small while adding new capabilities. It showed the power of the 4x4 by having four 4K screens — two connected via HDMI and two via USB-C — displaying unique content on each screen, all from the Intel NUC’s tiny but powerful form factor. Here’s a look:

Intel NUC 4-display setup

Intel NUC 11 Pro driving four 4K displays with stock-market data

The final demo was a multiple Intel product solution from Cloud Constable. It’s an AI-powered virtual assistant used to assist the reopening of a military museum in Ontario, Canada. Based on an Intel NUC 9 Pro Mini PC, the solution also uses Intel RealSense depth cameras and Intel’s distribution of the OpenVINO toolkit. This solution could be used in other environments where customers may need an interactive virtual assistant to respond some of their questions.

While things looked a little different this year, the team was still able to meet with more than 125 partners and gather leads through scheduled, by-invitation tours of the demo space.

 

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

In the Zone

Intel is big in software – even if you didn’t know it!

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by Intel on 10/21/2021
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By Jason Kimrey

“We have to deliver the software capabilities, and then we have to empower it, accelerate it, make it more secure with hardware underneath it. And to me, this is the big bit flip that I need to drive at Intel.” — Pat Gelsinger, CEO, Intel

Articles featuring Intel’s software focus have been making headlines over the last few weeks, including this major CRN story featuring our CEO.

We’re also hosting the latest Intel ON virtual event on October 27-28. It’s an educational tech event focused on software and development.

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. The roles that software and developers play in helping accelerate transformation are top-of-mind right now.

Intel’s software pedigree

In 2012 Forbes called Intel “The Biggest Software Company You’ve Never Heard Of.”

That statement is still so true. Intel is renowned for its hardware. But many people don’t know how deep our software roots run:

> More than 2 decades ago, Intel committed to open-source software development.

> Intel today employs more than 15,000 software engineers.

> There are a trillion lines of code optimized for Intel’s x86 chips.

> Intel has optimized more than 100 operating systems.

> Intel is the No. 1 contributor to the Linux kernel, a top 3 contributor to Chromium OS, and a top 10 contributor to OpenStack.

> Intel’s Open Source Technology Center is a repository for hundreds of open-source projects.

> The Intel developer ecosystem includes about 20 million developers. Millions of developers use Intel Software development tools and libraries.

Software unlocks innovation

It’s fair to say that software is at the heart of Intel’s solutions. Software helps us unleash hardware, and it also helps us realize the full benefits and performance of new hardware architectures.

At Intel, we see software that’s performant, open and productive. Software supports our drive to innovate across six pillars of technology development as the key to unleashing the power of data.

Also, we’ve built some amazing open-source solutions and toolkits to empower developers and accelerate solution development:

> OneAPI: A new, unified software programming model for CPU, GPU, AI and FPGA accelerators.

> OpenVino: A toolkit to facilitate faster inference of deep learning models to develop high-performance computer vision and deep learning solutions from device to the cloud.

> Lava: Addresses the need for a common framework for the neuromorphic research community. It’s an open-source software framework for developing neuro-inspired applications.

> Intel DevCloud: Our software sandbox for testing the latest tools and hardware.

And there’s more.

We recognize that by jointly designing, building and validating new products with software industry leaders, we can accelerate advancements. We can also ensure that software and hardware work better together.

Man with the plan

Pat Gelsinger rejoined Intel in January, becoming the company’s new CEO, and since then he’s forged a clear path. He has also underscored the need to adopt a software-first strategy, one that makes Intel the silicon platform of choice all the way from the edge to the cloud.

This strategy has an important component for Intel’s channel partners.

“We have to grow the partners. Some of those will be ISVs. Some of those will be SaaS providers as well,” Gelsinger told CRN. “Many of those skills need to become part of our channel partners’ repertoires as well, as they increase their cloud and SaaS capabilities and their software capabilities.”

John Kalvin, Intel’s global channel chief, adds: “[Gelsinger] is driving a broad recognition across Intel: If we win with software, then we’re going to make it easier for our ecosystem of partners to deliver solutions around Intel.”

Stop focusing on products

People buy solutions, not products. People focus on outcomes, not products.

As IT partners, we too need to focus on solutions, not products. And we need to make it easier for our customers to deploy those solutions in their environments.

For Intel, this means ensuring that our solutions, and the workloads that matter, are optimized to run best on our hardware. That needs to be the case whether a solution is on prem, at the edge or in the cloud.

The surge in as-a-service offerings supports the need for complete solutions. In response, our ecosystem partners have increased their focus on software and services.

That could mean expanding in-house software development capabilities to deliver a new “as-a-service” offering. Or it could mean looking to partner with a development team. Either way, Intel knows that open-source solutions, optimized to perform on Intel hardware, can help accelerate solution deployment — and perhaps open new revenue streams.

As Greg Lavender, Intel’s CTO, says: “We have to work with our partners to bring [those capabilities] forward in new ways that could create new business models. And there are possibilities for revenue-sharing.”

As long as our customers look to deploy increasingly complex solutions, then hardware, software and services will need work closely together to enable seamless edge-to-cloud solutions. That will be the key to continued innovation.

Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.

 

 

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In the Zone

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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