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Why telehealth is part of the ‘new normal’

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by Peter Krass on 07/26/2021
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One surprising result of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the way it accelerated the adoption of certain technologies. Think of how many people bought new laptops, tablets, wireless routers and more, both to work from home and watch streaming TV shows and movies.

Another technology that got a surprising boost is telehealth.

Telehealth served an important need during the height of the pandemic. Many medical and dental offices were closed. But people still needed to be seen by their doctors and dentists. Enter telehealth.

Even as the pandemic winds down (fingers crossed!), we aren’t going back to the old normal. WFH is now entrenched. As is streaming. And telehealth.

This doesn’t mean you’ll never see a doctor or dentist face-to-face again. Of course you will.

But think about the way many companies are now adopting new hybrid work schedules, allowing employees to work from home some days, requiring them to come to the office on others. Same thing is happening with telehealth. For certain types of medical consultations, telehealth fits the bill.

The telehealth market is growing quickly. Total U.S. sales of telehealth products and services will grow on average by 28% a year through 2026, predicts ResearchAndMarkets. The dollars are there, too. For just a single market segment — remote patient monitoring — the market watcher expects worldwide revenue in 2026 to total $13 billion.

From TV to telehealth

One company throwing its weight behind telehealth is Intel. During the pandemic’s worst days, Intel worked with telehealth companies to set up solutions in hospitals, using their existing IT infrastructures.

For example, Intel worked with Banner Health, a nonprofit healthcare provider that operates 28 acute-care hospitals. Together, they upgraded nearly 1,000 television sets in hospital patient rooms into interactive telehealth systems.

The setup involved adding Intel NUC Mini PCs and advanced telehealth software. Once operating, the systems allowed physicians, nurses and other healthcare practitioners to check in on patients, monitor their oxygen levels and other vitals, and do it remotely

Telehealth training

Looking to get into telehealth, but need to know more? Intel is here to help.

You can take nearly a dozen healthcare-related training courses now with Intel Partner University. That’s the training arm of the new Intel Partner Alliance, which unites all Intel partner programs.

These partner training courses include “AI and deep learning in health,” “IoT and healthcare” and “How NUC is changing industries.” Some of these courses can be completed in as little as 15 minutes, meaning you can fit them in between your other appointments and projects.

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

Learn more:

> Telehealth: Necessary Today, and Here to Stay (Intel article)

> Intel Partner University healthcare training courses (login required)


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In the Zone

Infographic: How to sell 11th Gen Intel Core desktop processors

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by Peter Krass on 07/23/2021
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Do you know your customers’ desktop pain points? If so, you’re halfway to knowing how to sell the 11 gen Intel Core desktop processor family.

11th gen Intel Core desktop processor

Are your customers talking about cores, threads and FPS? Gaming, streaming and multitasking? New peripherals? Or maybe compatibility and supply?

However you answer, a new infographic from Intel has you covered.This Intel infographic explains how to have conversations wth customers about desktop performance, use cases, novelty and brand trust.

By using these common conversation threads — along with additional talking points and supporting evidence also provided — you’ll be selling 11th gen Intel Core desktop processors with the best of them.

Download the infographic now — click the PDF link below.

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Meet the latest PCs from Lenovo, Acer, HP

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by Peter Krass on 07/20/2021
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Demand for PCs is nearly as hot as the weather. Last year, PC demand was driven by everyone suddenly working from home. This year, you might think demand would weaken, but it hasn’t.

In fact, shipments of desktops, notebooks and workstations worldwide rose by 13% in this year’s second quarter, according to market watcher Canalys, for a total of 82.3 million units shipped.

“The PC market could not be in a better position,” says Canalys' research director, Rushabi Doshi.

To keep up with this demand, PC makers are scrambling. They’re making notebooks lighter, desktops faster, and getting ready for the upcoming release of Windows 11.

Here’s your tech provider’s roundup of some of the latest new PCs from the industry’s top suppliers.

Lenovo ThinkStation P350

Lenovo earlier this month introduced an entry-level desktop workstation, the ThinkStation P350. It comes in 3 form factors: Tower, Small Form Factor (SFF), and Tiny. They’re designed for designers, engineers and students.

Lenovo ThinkStation P350 Tower

Lenovo ThinkStation P350 Tower

For processing power, the P340 and SFF both offer a choice of either 11th gen Intel Core (up to i9) or Intel Xeon W-series processors. They also support Nvidia’s RTX A5000 graphics card, handy for VR applications.

Storage options include a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD with up to 2 TB of capacity. Memory runs up to 128GB of DDR4. And OS options include Windows 10 (Pro for Workstations, Pro or Home), Ubuntu Linux, and Red Hat enterprise Linux.

Lenovo describes the P350 Tiny as “the world’s smallest workstation.” Indeed, the device measures just 1.4 x 7.2 x 7.0 inches and weighs under 3 pounds.

Yet the Tiny is based on 11th gen Intel Core processors (up to i9) and Nvidia’s P1000 graphics. And it can support up to 6 displays.

All 3 devices are set to start shipping later this week. Starting retail prices are $969 for the tower, $949 for the SFF, and $899 for the Tiny.

Learn more:

> ThinkStation P350 Tower and SFF data sheet (PDF)

> ThinkStation P350 Tiny data sheet (PDF)

Acer ConceptD

Acer has refreshed this line of notebooks for creators with 3 enhancements: the latest 11th gen Intel Core H-series processors, Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 graphics, and 16-inch 3K screens with a larger 16:10 display ratio.

Acer Concept D laptop

Acer Concept D: 11th gen Intel Core power

That 16-inch display is Pantone-validated for color accuracy. Acer says it’s noticeably taller than more conventional 16:9 ratio displays, giving creators more room to work.

Other innovations include a cooling system Acer calls Vortex Flow. It’s a 3-fan cooling layout that’s said to let users eke out extra performance from demanding workloads.

In all, Acer updated 4 models in this line: ConceptD 5, ConceptD 7 Ezel, ConceptD 3, and ConceptD 3 Ezel. Shipments are set for later this year, and retail prices range from $1,300 for the model 3 all the way up to $2,500 for the model 7 Ezel.

HP Pavilion Aero 13

HP’s lightest consumer laptop weighs in at just under a kilogram (2.2 lb.). It does this in part by using a magnesium aluminum chassis, and it’s the first in HP’s Pavilion line to do so.

HP Pavilion Aero 13

HP Pavilion Aero 13 comes in 4 colors

Yet the Pavilion Aero 13 features a 13.3-inch screen with that 16:10 aspect ratio and 2.5K resolution. HP says the display is also bright enough to be used outdoors in direct sunlight.

The Pavilion Aero 13's battery life is promised for up to 10.5 hours. And HP says the device is “expected” to be upgradeable to Windows 11 later this year.  

Shipments of the HP Pavilion Aero 13 laptop start this month, and retail prices open at about $750.


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Research roundup: PC demand, IT spending, cloud migration, healthcare cybersec

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by Peter Krass on 07/14/2021
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PC demand is cooling. IT spending is entering a new phase. Cost-cutters are selling the cloud short. And DNS attacks are making healthcare very unhealthy.

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

PC forecast: hot today, cooler tomorrow

Last year’s surge in PC purchases made sense, given how many people were suddenly working from home due to the pandemic. But now, hasn’t everyone who needs a new laptop gotten one?

Pretty much, says IDC. While global PC shipments remained strong in this year’s second quarter, the market watcher sees early signs that consumer demand is slowing.

Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs — that’s desktops, laptops and workstations — totaled 83.6 million units in Q2. Compared with the year-earlier quarter, that's an increase of 13.2%.

To be sure, 13% growth is nothing to complain about. But it does mark a slowdown from the previous 2 quarters. In this year’s first quarter, global PC shipments rose 56% year-on-year. And in last year’s fourth quarter, PC shipments worldwide rose nearly 26%, IDC says.

Looking ahead, IDC believes the business and consumer ends of the PC market could head in opposite directions. Business demand for PCs is likely to rise as companies require workers to return to the office at least part-time. But consumer demand seems likely to fall, as consumers shift their spending priorities after a year of aggressive PC shopping.

IT spending: behold a new phase

Overall IT spending this year will rise nearly 9% over last year, hitting a worldwide total of $4.2 trillion, predicts Gartner. But that’s not even the most important part.

This is: “Tech spending is entering a new build phase.” That's according to Gartner research VP John-David Lovelock.

“This means building technologies and services that don’t yet exist,” Lovelock adds, “and further differentiating organizations in a crowded market.”

One area likely to get a big spending boost is IT services. Spending here grew only 1.7% last year, but this year will rise 9.8% to $1.18 billion, Gartner expects.

Gartner cites infrastructure as a service (IaaS) as the big-ticket item. Spending on IaaS can reduce spending for on-premises systems while fully supporting mission-critical workloads.

“Digital transformation can no longer be purchased overnight,” Lovelock says. “Global IT spending projections reflect that.”

Cloud: you get what you come for

Organizations that migrate to the cloud mainly to save money may be setting their sights too low. They'll get those savings. But they may miss out on other, even more valuable benefits.

That's according to a new Accenture report, based on the consulting firm’s survey of some 4,000 C-level execs worldwide.

Accenture finds that when organizations migrate to the cloud for cost-cutting, they do indeed save money. Accenture found that 65% of organizations that migrated to the cloud saw, on average, up to 10% cost savings.

Many of these same organizations see cloud as a fixed endpoint. Accenture calls that a limited migration mindset, which it believes is a big mistake.

For example, 80% of these organizations fail to prioritize the use of cloud-native architectures, applications and data for new initiatives.

By contrast, organizations that set a higher bar for the cloud also enjoy bigger benefits. These organizations see the cloud as a launch pad for both innovation and new ways of operating. As a result, they not only enjoy bigger cost savings than others, but also gain other benefits. They’ll also be better positioned to withstand future shocks, Accenture believes.

Healthcare: unhealthy with cyberattacks

During the pandemic, the healthcare industry suffered more DNS attacks than any other industry, finds a survey sponsored by network and automation vendor EfficientIP.

The average cost of a DNS attack on a healthcare organization last year rose 12% year-on-year, hitting $862,630.

Again, that’s the cost of just one attack. The average healthcare organization was the victim of a DNS attack nearly 7 times last year, the survey finds. On average, mitigating each attack took about 6.5 hours.

More than half of all healthcare respondents (53%) said their organizations suffered application downtime as the result of a DNS attack. Other results of DNS attacks on healthcare organizations included cloud-service downtime (reported by 46%), compromised websites (44%) and damage to their brand (31%).

Healthcare organizations are fighting back. Nearly 80% plan zero-trust initiatives. 

“We all knew the healthcare industry would be a prime target for cyberattacks during the pandemic,” says Ronan David, VP of strategy at EfficientIP. “But it's really fascinating and useful to see the data in black and white."

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In the Zone

How silicon photonics connects servers at the speed of light

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by Peter Krass on 07/13/2021
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For data-center managers, data bottlenecks are a big and fast-growing problem. Among large organizations, data traffic can double every 2 years. That kind of growth can put real strain on a data center’s networking gear.

One powerful way to ease these bottlenecks: replace older copper-based transceivers with faster optical transceivers.

These optical transceivers and their cabling offer several advantages over their copper-based predecessors. They’re faster. Far less bulky. Highly reliable. Qualified to extreme ambient temperatures. And able to send data over much longer distances — 10 kilometers to copper’s 4 meters, and at 25 gigabits per second (Gbps) per lane.

Intel’s bright light

Intel got into the silicon photonics optical transceiver business early, back in 2016. Actually, the company had been selling its 1/10/25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) optics in the channel for much longer than that. But as speeds increased beyond 25 GbE, Intel decided it made sense to bring integrated optics in-house.

With networking speeds increasing from 100 Mbps to 400 Gbps (and soon, even faster), it become critical for Intel to align the optics and the lenses within its transceivers. That meant higher assembly complexity, which isn’t great if you’re looking for scalability, high yields and low cost. Clearly, Intel needed another method for aligning the lenses accurately.

Enter Silicon Photonics. It puts the lasers, modulators, detectors and all other optical elements within silicon, and without the need to align them optically.

Early optical transceivers had just 1 laser on a chip. Today they have 4 or even 8. What’s more, these lasers can now be run at different wavelengths for 4x or 8x faster modulation per fiber.

Demand for silicon photonics is big. Intel says it shipped some 2 million optical transceivers last year. The company also shipped more than 5 million 100 Gbps transceivers to date.

The following chart, from Crehan Research, shows that 100 GbE ports are forecast to outship both 10 and 25 GbE ports. You can see this by comparing the rising green line (100 GbE) with the falling purple (10) and red (25).

Crehan Research chart

To date, most of these shipments have gone to big hyperscale data centers, such as those run by AWS, Google and other providers of cloud. As you can imagine, these users have an insatiable appetite for data speeds. Indeed, Intel is now sampling 8-laser optical transceivers rated at 800 Gbps.

Light years ahead

That’s extreme. For many data centers, 100 Gbps is now the standard currency. And for these customers, Intel offers its Intel Silicon Photonics 100G CWDM4 QSFP28 Optical Transceiver, pictured below.

Intel Silicon Photonics optical transceiver

Typical orders for these transceivers number in the hundreds or thousands. That may seem high, but note that each Ethernet switch gets 32 optical transceivers. For example, if your customer had just 10 switches, they’d need 32 x 100 = 320 transceivers.

Assuming 100Gbps transceivers, these would be 3.2-terabit Ethernet switches. With this number, you might be able to support 8 racks of servers. Each rack would have 1 top-of-rack switch, and each would use 2 switches for aggregation and interfacing with your transport equipment. Plus, you’d need 1 additional transceiver for each server, which in this example would total about 200 units.

Improve your data-center networking skills

If you’re still with me, then you’ll be interested in a new training course being offered by Intel Partner University. The course is Optical Networking at Scale with Intel Silicon Photonics.

In this course, you’ll learn about the advancements Intel has made in Silicon Photonics over the last four years since launching 100 Gbps transceivers. You’ll also learn how, by manufacturing optics at scale, Intel has deployed more than 5 million transceivers to date for hyperscale data centers.

This course also reviews industry trends in optical networking inside data centers, as well as the key building blocks of pluggable optical transceivers. The presentation also looks at the benefits of co-packaged optics, which is expected to begin deployment in the next 2 to 3 years. Then it all wraps up with a brief forecast of future applications for high-volume Silicon Photonics beyond the data center.

Take the “Optical Networking at Scale with Intel Silicon Photonics” training course today

Get connected:

> Explore Intel Silicon Photonics

> Intel Silicon Photonics 100G CWDM4 QSFP28 Optical Transceiver (product brief)

Not yet a member of Intel Partner Alliance? Activate your membership or join today.


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In the Zone

How Intel NUC helps a leading digital-signage provider serve SMBs

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by Peter Krass on 07/08/2021
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Intel’s NUC Mini-PC is helping SpinetiX, a Swiss supplier of digital signage systems, serve small and midsize businesses (SMBs) in telecom, retail and other verticals.

Previously, most digital signage systems were too complex and expensive for SMBs. These companies wanted digital signage that’s easy to install and implement, really just plug-and-play. They’ve also sought PCs to power these systems that are quiet, small and secure.

Intel NUC fits the bill. It’s small, about 4 x 4 inches. It’s quiet, with fanless operation. It’s secure, thanks to Intel’s vPro technology, which features Intel Active Management Technology (AMT). And Intel NUCs are easy to install, implement and maintain.

New business

SpinetiX’s SMB customers now use the NUC-based setup to attract customers, advertise their wares, entertain both customers and employees, and create new revenue streams.

For an example of the latter, some of SpinetiX’s telecom customers can now offer their business customers digital signage as a service (DSaaS). The combo of Intel NUC hardware and SpinetiX’s cloud-based application and digital-signage OS keeps it simple.

Learn more about SinetiX and Intel NUC. To download the 3-page case study, click the PDF link below:

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In the Zone

In K-12 EdTech, it’s Chromebooks for the win

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by Peter Krass on 07/06/2021
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The pandemic has transformed the K-12 EdTech market, probably forever. One winner, at least in the short-term, has been the Chromebook. And one surprising loser has been Apple.

According to recent figures from market watcher Canalys, Apple’s share of the U.S. PC market declined in this year’s first quarter to 19.5%, down from 25% in the year-earlier quarter. That also had Apple losing its position as the country’s top PC vendor by shipments.

HP, on the other hand, gained market share in Q1, rising from 16.4% share a year ago to 21.1% now, Canalys says. That increase was driven in part by strong demand for Chromebooks. And many of those Chromebooks were bought by schools.

Chromebooks rising

The overall Chromebook market is booming. Shipments in the U.S. rose nearly 550% in the first quarter, according to Canalys. The U.S. market leaders for Chromebooks are now HP (44% market share), Lenovo (23%); Samsung (12%); Dell (9%); Acer (also 9%); and Asus (4%).

HP Pro c640 Chromebooks

HP Chromebook: the U.S. market leader

You can expect this situation to continue for some time. “There is no return to normal for education,” says Ishan Dutt, a senior analyst at Canalys.

Dutt expects strong demand for Chromebooks for years to come. What’s more, the growing installed base of these devices should also spur high demand for upgrades and tech support.

“Educational institutions, teachers and parents have made investments in digital curricula and processes that they will not want to abandon,” Dutt adds.

Learn to win

Want to get in on the Chromebook K-12 excitement, but lack the needed skills and knowledge? No worries. Intel has your back with a new training course:

Winning Against Apple in U.S. K-12 Education

Teachers and students need devices that meet the demands of modern learning. Take a deep dive into the pros and cons of different education device options, considering their advantages and their limitations.

In this 20-minute course, you’ll learn how to address Apple options, including iPads and M1-based MacBooks. You’ll also learn to promote Intel-powered Chromebooks and PCs as the right choice for 21st century learning environments.

This Intel training course is free to all members of the new Intel Partner Alliance. Not yet a member? Activate your membership or join now.


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In the Zone

EdTech heats up with Chromebooks, PCs, more

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by Peter Krass on 06/29/2021
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The school year now wrapping up was tough for educators, parents and students. But the term starting this September should be a whole lot better for all — including tech providers serving the K-12 market.

While many K-12 schools are moving back to “live” classrooms after a year of teaching online, there’s no turning back the widening use of education technology (EdTech). Just as Zoom and other conferencing systems have become everyday tools for business during the pandemic, so too have Chromebooks, tablets and smart whiteboards for education.

A big, lucrative market

The EdTech market is huge and growing quickly. Last year, total worldwide sales of education technology approached $90 billion, according to Grand View Research. Looking ahead, Grand View predicts that EdTech sales worldwide, from this year through 2028, will enjoy a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 20%.

To be sure, the K-12 EdTech segment accounted for only about 40% of the target market, Grand View says. Still, that’s about $36 billion. (Other sectors include, preschool, colleges and universities, and professional training.)

And of that, North America sales represented 37% of the total. I calculate that at about $13.3 billion. That’s still plenty of money.

One particularly hot sub-segment is gamification. In the context of K-12 education, that means using computer-based games to teach math.

EdTech 101

All this may sound exciting—and it should—but the K-12 tech market requires that you have some fairly specific skills and knowledge.

For example, what are the best devices for hybrid classroom learning if kids have to head home unexpectedly? How do you ensure there’s enough processing power to handle the coursework, but not go over budget? How about security—physical and virtual? What’s in school district’s budget, and how do you get on the short list as an approved provider?

Clearly, there’s a lot to learn. Fortunately, help is just a click away.

Through Intel Partner University, you can access several online training programs to get ready to capitalize on the EdTech market. Intel offers nearly 20 courses on K-12 technology, all ready and waiting for you now. Courses include:

The right Chromebook for K-12 virtual learning in the U.S.

This course will familiarize you with the resulting data and recommendations from Intel’s August 2020 study, “The Right Chromebook for Virtual Learning.” It focuses on how Chromebook processor performance helps both students and teachers, especially in virtual environments.

The right Windows device for K-12 virtual learning

Learn from “The Right Windows Device for Virtual Learning” study. The focus is how processor performance on Windows PCs affects teaching and learning, especially in virtual environments.

Learning while multitasking in hybrid and virtual U.S. K-12 classrooms

This course explains how powerful Intel processors help educators and students to experience and participate in a seamless, synchronous virtual learning experience.

Upon completing each of these 20-minute courses, you’ll earn 5 training credits.

> Discover more courses tailored to your professional development. Check out Intel Partner University now.

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


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In the Zone

Infographic: 8 things you need to know about Intel Partner Alliance

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by Peter Krass on 06/25/2021
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How much do you know about Intel Partner Alliance?

Announced earlier this year, Intel Partner Alliance unifies Intel’s older partner programs and offers partners like you a long list of valuable benes. If you’re not participating yet, you really should.

To help, our team has created an infographic. It lists the top 8 things you need to know about Intel Partner Alliance.

Intel Partner Alliance infographic

To view the full infographic, click on the PDF link below:

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In the Zone

Video podcast: Get ‘In the Zone’ with QLC storage for PCs, VPNs for home workers, ‘extreme partnering’ for everyone

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by Peter Krass on 06/25/2021
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Join Ed Hannan, senior digital content manager at The Channel Co., and me, Peter Krass, editor of Tech Provider Zone, in our latest “In the Zone” video podcast.

In this installment, Ed and I discuss QLC 3D NAND storage devices your customers can use in their PCs, the rise of VPNs for work-from-home security, and 7 new trends for tech partnerships.

Catch up on the IT channel with Tech Provider Zone. Watch our new In the Zone video now:



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