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5 top takeaways from Intel Architecture Day 2021

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by Peter Krass on 08/19/2021
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Intel is holding its Architecture Day today. Already, Intel has detailed architectural innovations the company says will be needed to meet the coming demand for ubiquitous computing, pervasive connectivity, AI and cloud-to-edge infrastructure.

Here are your top 5 takeaways from Intel Architecture Day 2021:

1. Alder Lake: That’s the code name for Intel’s next-gen client system-on-chip architecture. It will integrate 2 core types: performance and efficient. Alder Lake will be built on the new Intel 7 process, and it will feature 2 new generations of x86 cores and a workload scheduler called Intelligent Intel Thread Director.

2. Sapphire Rapids: Another code name, this one is for the next generation of Intel Xeon Scalable processors for data center servers. It’s also based on the new Intel 7 process. Included will be built-in acceleration engines, including Advanced Matrix Extensions and Data Streaming Accelerator.

3. New networking architecture: Code-named Mount Evans, this is Intel’s first ASIC infrastructure processing unit (IPU). Intel says the IPU, a programmable networking device, will help cloud service providers (CSPs) reduce overhead and free up performance for CPUs. To develop Mount Evans, Intel worked with a top CSP.  

4. Ponte Vecchio: That may be Italian for old bridge, but this code name refers to Intel’s new system-on-chip for servers based on its Xe HPC architecture for high-performance computing and AI. More technically, it’s a collection of 47 chips that Intel calls “tiles.” To make Ponte Vecchio work, Intel had to develop new software, interconnects, packaging tech and more.

5. Xe-HPG: This is Intel’s new client-side graphics microarchitecture intended for gamers and content creators. Products based on this microarchitecture are set to come to market in next year’s first quarter under the IntelArc brand and Alchemist family of system-on-chips.

Learn more: Download the Intel Architecture Day fact sheet by clicking the PDF link below:

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In the Zone

4 reasons to check out the latest Intel DCM updates

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by Peter Krass on 08/19/2021
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If your data-center customers aren’t yet using Intel Data Center Manager, they now have 4 great new reasons to get on board.

Intel DCM is included as part of the advanced system management key on Intel Server Platforms. It’s designed for out-of-band monitoring and management of the inventory, health, utilization, power and thermals of servers and other data-center devices.

Intel DCM

Intel DCM: one powerful eyeful

The most recent updates — Intel DCM 3.9 and 4.0 — deliver a long list of new and improved features. These 4 in particular should get your customers’ attention:

> Support for Intel’s 2 recently announced server families

Intel DCM has been tested and debugged on Intel’s latest servers: the Intel Server System M50CYP family, designed for mainstream workloads; and the Intel Server System D50TNP family, intended for high-performance computing (HPC) and AI applications.

If your customers are thinking of purchasing servers from either of these new Intel families, tell them they can now manage those devices with Intel DCM.

> Redfish firmware update

Intel DCM now supports the server industry’s move from the legacy IPMI (intelligent platform management interface) specification to the DMTF’s Redfish standard. The main advantages of Redfish are greater security and reliability, more comprehensive schemas, and less need to reboot servers.

Redfish logo

Essentially, Intel DCM uses Redfish as a back-end API to BMC (baseboard management controller). Among other benefits, this means there’s no need to touch the host while managing the server. This also provides true out-of-band management, allowing you to monitor even when a host network is down or a server is either switched off or in sleep mode.

> Firmware-version management

It makes sense for data-center managers to want to keep their servers updated with the latest firmware. After all, those firmware updates provide security patches, address quality issues and offer new features.

However, knowing which firmware version a specific server is running isn’t easy. And when you’re managing tens or even hundreds of servers, this lack of visibility can become a major issue.

Intel DCM can help. It can now inventory and display the firmware versions for most components in a system in a single easy-to-view tab.

Intel DCM can also notify your customers when a new firmware version is available. It does this by communicating online with a new website that tracks server tools firmware.

> Batch provisioning for 'bare metal' servers

This feature first lets admins build a deployment manifest or profile covering important tasks. These may include updating firmware, configuring the BIOS and RAID, and kicking-off an OS install.

Intel DCM then executes all the tasks on multiple systems. This ensures all “like” servers are deployed consistently and are ready to be added to the cluster.

When your customer adds a "bare metal" server — one without an OS or the latest BIOS — their technicians need only rack and stack. Intel DCM can do the rest, completing the deployment remotely.

Learn more about Intel DCM.

 

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In the Zone

Intel Partner Alliance enhances your member benefits

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by Peter Krass on 08/18/2021
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Intel Partner Alliance has just added 2 benefits to make your membership even more valuable and appealing: expanded access to training, and public access.

As you may know, Intel Partner Alliance unifies Intel’s older partner programs under a single umbrella. Members enjoy access to Intel resources that include online training, certified solutions, marketing help, expedited support and valuable rewards.

Intel Partner Alliance

Here’s your update on the 2 enhancements.

Expanded training benefits: for all levels

Intel is getting even more serious about training. The company is investing in Intel Partner Alliance training resources that help not only Gold- and Platinum-level partners, but also those at the more basic Member level.

Intel’s aim: to help partners enhance their skills and knowledge. Given today’s fast advances in technology, a partner’s technical knowledge can quickly become outdated. Keeping current is important.

“Education is the best shortcut to success,” says Sri Manivannan, president and CEO of Starmétier Corp., a business solutions provider based in Austin, Texas, and an Intel partner.

He adds: “Through the Intel Partner University Competencies, I was able to quickly grasp new concepts and technologies in areas such as AI and IoT, and quickly turn that knowledge into a competitive advantage.”

With that kind of benefit in mind, Intel has also made Competencies in Intel Partner University available to Partner Alliance members at all levels. Previously, Competencies were available to members at the Gold and Titanium levels only.

Intel Partner University is the training component of Intel Partner Alliance, and its Competencies are deeper learning curriculums. You’ll find Competencies for both techies — engineers, architects, developers and the like — and solutions people, including those who work in sales, marketing and business development.

Competencies are currently offered in 5 broad technology areas: client computing; storage and memory; data center; FPGA; and Internet of Things (IoT). They cover 18 topics, with more coming regularly.

Complete a Competency, and you’ll also earn a digital badge you can display on social media for 18 months. Gaining new skills and sharing that knowledge with your customers has never been easier.

Public access: try before you ‘buy’

For the curious, Intel Partner Alliance will also soon add a “try before you buy” option. (Except there’s nothing to buy, since membership is free.)

Essentially, this means that if you’re not yet an Intel Partner Alliance member, you’ll soon be able to see snippets of the program, and without having to register.

Then, if you like what you see, you can join Intel Partner Alliance. Registration is easy, quick and free. And once you’re a member, you’ll have access to the entire Partner Alliance library.

This public-access benefit for Intel Partner Alliance is set to launch in the fourth quarter.

Are you a member of Intel Partner Alliance? Activate your membership or join here.

 

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In the Zone

How Intel NUC Elements give solution providers end-to-end flexibility

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by Peter Krass on 08/17/2021
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Mini PCs can bring big business.

Just ask Loop International. The solution provider, which offers compute devices based on Scandinavian design, powers some of its All-in-One PCs with the Intel NUC Compute Element and Intel NUC Assembly Element.  

Intel NUC Elements

Intel’s NUC Compute Element is designed to make modular computing easy, and the most recent versions feature 11th gen Intel Core processors. The Intel NUC Assembly Element works with other NUC components for custom integrations.

A better way

With Loop’s All-in-One (AiO) PC, integrators can buy bare-bones systems from Loop at a low cost, then purchase the Intel NUC Compute Element from a distributor when needed for just-in-time integration.

That’s a big advantage over traditional PCs. For those, an integrator might purchase hundreds of units, each preconfigured with a processor and other specifications. The integrator would also pay full price.

Loop All-in-One PC

Loop All-in-One PC: Intel NUC inside

Intel’s modular approach also made life easy for Loop. Originally, the solution provider was using Intel NUC elements based on the older 8th gen Intel Core CPUs. When Intel recently added the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element, Loop simply replaced the earlier Assembly Element with the latest board and compatible thermal solution.

“Intel has eliminated a lot of the hard work,” says Loop’s director of sales and marketing, Stephen Blomfield.

Customers benefit, too

Loop’s customers also appreciate the Intel NUC’s modular approach.

One of those customers is Centerprise International, a UK-based solutions provider. Since 2018, Centerprise has purchased Loop AiOs, including models built around the Intel NUC components, and resold them under its own brand.

“All the qualifying work is done for us,” says Iain Gillogaley, business manager at Centerprise, “which saves us a lot of time so we can get to market faster.”

To learn more about how Loop and its customers benefit from Intel NUC Elements, click the case study link below:

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In the Zone

Video podcast: Get ‘In the Zone’ with cool gaming systems, hot NUC visual solutions, important Intel announcements

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by Peter Krass on 08/13/2021
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How do gaming systems keep their cool? What’s the latest in visual solutions for the Intel NUC Mini PC? And what are the top 5 takeaways from the recent “Intel Accelerated” online event?

To find out, join me, Peter Krass, editor of Tech Provider Zone, and Ed Hannan, senior digital content manager at The Channel Co., for our latest “In the Zone” video podcast. We discuss all of the above, and then some.

Stay current with the IT channel with Tech Provider Zone. Watch our new In the Zone video now:

 

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In the Zone

Meet Intel’s NUC 11 Extreme Kit and Extreme Compute Element

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by Peter Krass on 08/10/2021
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The Intel NUC Mini PC is getting extreme. The company recently introduced the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit and Intel NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element.

Both are powered by the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processors. And both are designed for high-performance applications, including gaming, streaming and recording.

What’s the difference between them? Well, Intel NUC kits can be customized with discrete graphics, OS, memory and storage. These kits are designed for business users, students, educators, gamers and do-it-yourselfers. And they’re backed by Intel’s 3-year warranty.

Intel NUC Elements, by contrast, let tech providers deliver custom solutions with minimal R&D time. The components are flexible and modular, yet still offer Intel’s traditionally high levels of performance and reliability.

Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit

The Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (codenamed Beast Canyon) is a modular desktop PC with the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processors (your choice of i7 or i9), support for discrete graphics cards of up to 12 inches, and a full range of I/O ports.

This is Intel’s highest-performing NUC yet. Although the case is a relatively small 8 liters (approx. 7.4 x 4.3 x 14 inches), the Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit is loaded with features typically found in larger gaming rigs.

Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit

These include 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports; Wi-Fi 6; a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port; 3 fans; customizable RGB “underglow” lighting; and 4 M.2 slots for additional memory and storage. And this little box can drive up to three 4K monitors.

Not included are the OS, memory and storage. For the OS, you have a choice of either Windows 10 or the various Linux distributions. For memory, you can load up to 64GB of dual-channel DDR4. And storage options include Intel Optane SSD and Intel Optane Memory.

Shipments will begin in this year’s third quarter. Retail prices start at $1,150 for kits with the i7 processor, $1,350 for the i9.

Intel NUC 11 Extreme Compute Element

The new Intel NUC 11 Compute Element (codenamed Driver Bay) is part of Intel’s family of modular, ready-to-integrate computing components. This Element is designed to help you quickly add extreme gaming rigs to your product offerings, while lowering inventory costs and reducing waste. Plus, it’s backed by Intel’s 3-year warranty.

Some cool features let you flexibly build the right systems for your customers. For the processor, you have a choice of 11th Gen Intel Core i9 or i7 H-Series CPUs. These have up to 8 cores and 16 threads, are able to power systems that multitask, and provide exceptional performance for gaming.

Support for PCIe 4.0 x16 lets you include the latest NUC 11 Extreme Element – Channel and Ecosystem Copy 2 discrete graphics cards for extreme gaming.

Connectivity is high-end, too. Two Thunderbolt 4 ports increase high-speed peripheral choices. And Intel Wi-Fi 6E on an M.2 2230 key E slot delivers fast wireless connectivity as an option. It can be easily removed for wired-only or no network connectivity.

For even more ways to connect, the Element also includes Bluetooth v5.0 and dual internal antennas.

The Intel NUC 11 Compute Element will ship in this year’s third quarter. Retail prices will start at about $690.

Learn more:

> Intel NUC Mini PCs, elements and laptops

> Intel NUC Kits with 11th gen Intel Core processors

> Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kits – Legends Start Here (product brief)

> Intel NUC Compute Elements

> Introducing Intel NUC 11 Extreme (YouTube video)

 

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In the Zone

Research roundup: fixing apps, phishing, 5G, social-media insecurity, public cloud

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by Peter Krass on 08/06/2021
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Fixing apps is a pain. Phishing attacks aren’t going away. 5G is expanding. Shopping on social media probably isn’t safe. And public-cloud infrastructure spending is growing fast.

That’s some of the latest from leading IT market watchers and industry surveys. And here’s your tech provider’s research roundup.

Fixing apps: a time-consuming pain

More than 40% of IT decision-makers in the UK spend 2 to 3 hours a week fixing issues related to productivity applications, finds a new Intel survey. And 1 in 3 of them spend the same amount of time troubleshooting videoconferencing applications.

When asked whether a more powerful or upgraded device would enable them to be more productive in their roles, nearly half of hybrid employees answered Yes. And about a third (37%) said that with better PCs, they could recover more than 6 hours a week of lost or unproductive time.

The Intel-commissioned survey was conducted by Sapio Research, and it reached people in 2 groups: 1,002 UK hybrid employees (people who work at home at least once a week); and 250 IT decision-makers employed by small and midsize companies (those with 26 to 1,000 employees).

Phishing: not gone yet

IT leaders at nearly three-quarters of organizations (73%) say they suffered a serious breach due to phishing in the last year. And over half of them (53%) say that in the last year, the number of phishing-related attacks they’ve suffered has increased.

That’s according to a new survey commissioned by Egress Software. The survey reached 500 IT leaders and 3,000 employees across the United States and the UK.

Working from home isn’t helping, either. Half the IT leaders polled believe full-time remote or hybrid working make it more difficult to prevent data breaches caused by phishing.

And be careful what you click on. In nearly a quarter of the organizations polled (23%), employees who were hacked via a phishing email were later either fired or left voluntarily.

5G: on a tear

Revenue from 5G network infrastructure will grow 39% this year, for a total of $19.1 billion worldwide, predicts Gartner. Last year, the research firm estimates, that revenue totaled $13.7 billion.

“The COVID-19 pandemic spiked demand for optimized and ultrafast broadband connectivity,” says Gartner researcher Michael Porowski. That includes demand for streaming video, online gaming and social media.

5G is now the fastest-growing segment in the wireless network infrastructure market. In fact, Gartner says 5G is the only significant opportunity in that market for investment growth.

Supply is expanding quickly, too. Last year only 10% of communications service providers (CSPs) offered commercial 5G services. By 2024, Gartner predicts, that figure will rise to 60%.

Social-media shopping: sure seems insecure

Social media may be fun, but it’s no one’s idea of secure.

In a new survey by PCI Pal, fewer than 7% of respondents said they feel very confident about their data security when buying a product or service over social media.

Last year, when PCI Pal conducted a similar survey, 70% of respondents said they would stop shopping with a brand, either for a few months or permanently, if it suffered a data breach ahead of the holidays.

Public-cloud infrastructure: 29% growth forecast

The combined market for public-cloud IaaS and PaaS is big and growing fast. (That’s infrastructure and platform as a service.)

For this market’s revenue, industry watcher IDC predicts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 29% through 2025. That year, IDC says, the market will deliver revenue of $400 billion worldwide.

IDC expects the 3 largest workload segments by revenue in 2025 will be application development and testing, structured data management, and structured data analytics.

Adds IDC research manager Andrew Smith: “We expect all workload segments to grow in double digits.”

 

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In the Zone

Infographic: How to sell workstations based on Intel Xeon W-1300 processors

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by Peter Krass on 08/04/2021
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Intel’s Xeon W-1300 processors aren’t playing. They’re designed for professionals who demand high-end performance, graphics, security and reliability.

So how do you sell workstations based on these Intel CPUs? The answer depends on what your customers are talking about.

> If they’re talking about cores, threads and render times, that’s a conversation about performance.

> Do your customers have CAD, game design or advanced content creation on their minds? Then that’s a conversation about use cases.

> Maybe your customers care about manageability, security, downtime and remote workstations. In that case, it’s a conversation about business.

> New technology and peripherals what they want to talk about? That’s a conversation about novelty.

> Finally, maybe they want to talk about compatibility and supply. That’s really a conversation about brand trust.

Get help selling

Whichever of these conversations your customers want to have, a new infographic from Intel can help. For each topic, it provides talking points and supporting evidence.

Don’t get caught without anything to say. Download the “How to sell Intel Xeon W-1300 processors” infographic now — just click the PDF link below:

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In the Zone

5 top takeaways from Intel’s process and packaging announcements

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by Peter Krass on 07/27/2021
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Last night Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger and Ann Kelleher, Intel’s GM of technology development, led a webcast to highlight new developments at the company.

Here are 5 top takeaways:

1. The new Intel Foundry Service already has 100 customers in the pipeline, and it has just signed big deals with AWS and Qualcomm.

2. Intel has “crossed over” with its 10nm SuperFin architecture, meaning the company is now making more 10nm chips than it is older 14nm chips.

3. Intel is renaming its next generations of microprocessor chips. Gelsinger said the old node naming and numbering “didn’t tell the full story.” Here are the new names and the expected timings:

> Intel 7: Delivers a 10% to 15% performance boost over 10nm SuperFin. Will power the forthcoming Alder Lake for PCs, which ships later this year, and Sapphire Rapids for the data center, which will ship in Q1 of 2022.

Intel 4: This goes into production in the second half of 2022 for shipments in 2023. Will appear as Meteor Lake (PC) and Granite Rapids (data center). Delivers an estimated 20% performance gain over Intel 7. To manufacture this chip, Intel will start using Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

Intel 3: Delivers an 18% performance boost over Intel 4. Will be manufacturing in the second half of 2023.

Intel 20A: As Intel approaches 1nm, the naming changes to “A” for angstrom (1/10 of a nanometer). So this one will have a gate that’s 20A long. Ann Kelleher called this the “start of the angstrom era.” This chip is set for introduction in the first half of 2024. Also, it will use 2 new Intel packaging technologies, RibbonFET and PowerVia.

Intel 18A: Targeted for 2025 and said to be in the works already.

4. Intel will announce major investments in fab plants later this year, both in the U.S. and Europe. These will be on top of the $20 billion the company already said it would invest in Arizona and $3.5 billion in New Mexico.

5. Intel is now the only major chip maker doing all its R&D and manufacturing in the USA, said Gelsinger  — “from lab to fab.”

 

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In the Zone

With Intel NUC Visual Solutions, the eyes have it

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by Peter Krass on 07/27/2021
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Visual solutions are hot. Customer kiosks, digital signage, computer vision and digital whiteboards are all big, fast-growing markets.

> Computer vision: The worldwide market was worth $10.6 billion in 2019, and sales are projected to grow nearly 8% a year through 2027, according to Grand View Research.

> Digital signage: Sales worldwide are projected by Kenneth Research to reach $31.7 billion by 2022.

> Digital kiosks: Sales totaled $20.3 billion worldwide last year, according to Fortune Business Insights. It expects these sales to grow by an average of 12% a year through 2028.

Look at NUC

If you’re a tech provider looking to get into these big visual solutions markets, or if you’re already in but would like to do more business, you have a new tool on your side: the Intel NUC Mini PC.

NUC Mini PC

Available in your choice of ready-to-run PC, kit, board or element, the Intel NUC is a small but full-powered PC. And it includes key features for visual solutions:

> Intel Watchdog Timer Utility: Monitors applications on an Intel NUC and can automatically restart them.

> Display Emulation: Enables emulation of displays in either 1 or 2 of the Intel NUC HDMI ports when a display is either unattached or temporarily disconnected.

> Client Management Interface: Query and configure the HDMI CEC via the Intel NUC WMI interface. CEC, short for Consumer Electronics Control, is an HDMI feature that controls devices using one remote controller. And WMI, short for Windows Management Instrumentation, allows for the query and control of features from within an OS.

In your sights

Depending on which visual markets you’re interested in, Intel NUC has a range of powerful features to offer.

Kiosks: The small form factor of the Intel NUC — some models measure just 4x4 inches — takes up minimal space. Yet the devices are scalable with a range of Intel CPUs available. For speedy setup, the Intel NUC can be used off the shelf with no need for proprietary hardware or software. And these devices are qualified for 24x7 operation and, with Intel Core vPro technology, remote management and security.

One company using Intel NUC Mini PCs for powering kiosks is Symtron. Based in Buenos Aires, Symtron has standardized its entire portfolio of custom kiosks on Intel NUC.

Why? In part because Symtron’s customers want a stable platform they can stick with over time. Intel NUC provides that kind of stability. These customers also want kiosks they can afford. Intel NUC provides that, too, coming in at much lower cost than specialized industrial computers. Finally, Symtron’s customers want reliability. Intel NUC helps Symtron deliver that with its 3-year warranty and 24x7 sustained operations.

Digital signage: One Intel NUC Mini PC can power up to four 4K displays or one 8K unit. This mini-PC also has mounting options built right into the chassis.

All that made sense for SpinetiX, a Swiss supplier of digital signage systems, serve small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in telecom, retail and other verticals. SpinetiX’s SMB customers now use a platform based on the Intel NUC 8 Rugged to attract customers, advertise their wares, entertain both customers and employees, and create new revenue streams.

Computer vision: The Intel NUC is small enough to conceal near the display. Custom solutions are possible with the Intel NUC kit versions. There are also robust options for displays, storage, peripherals, and wireless connectivity.

The Ontario Regiment Museum, which holds Canada’s largest collection of operational military vehicles — tanks, trucks, personnel carriers and more, some dating back to the 1940s — is sold on NUC for computer vision. During the worst days of the pandemic, the museum greeted visitors with an animated virtual agent named Master Corporal Lana.

Virtual agent Lana

Virtual agent Lana (pictured above) was developed by a local tech provider, CloudConstable, using its Animated Virtual Agent (AVA) software. The system runs on an Intel NUC 9 Pro Mini PC.

Collaboration: Digital whiteboards and other collaboration systems can get a real boost from Intel NUC’s small footprint, ability to control up to four 4K displays, and wide range of port options for both wired and wireless connectivity (HDMI, Thunderbolt, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet).

Banner Health, which runs nearly 30 acute-care hospitals in the western U.S., used the Intel NUC to transform nearly 1,000 hospital-room TVs into virtual care endpoints.  As part of the solution, an Intel NUC is attached to a TV, loaded with telehealth software, and augmented with a speakerphone and camera.

You could look it up

Want to learn more about Intel NUC Mini PC? You can take any of more than 30 NUC-related training courses now available on Intel Partner University as NUC Competencies. Among these courses are several covering the Intel NUC for digital signage.

Intel Partner University is a valuable part of the new Intel Partner Alliance. Not yet taking advantage of Intel’s partner program? Activate your membership or join today.

 

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