LOS ANGELES – Intel kicks off its annual solution provider-focused event, Intel Solutions Summit, with a morning keynote Wednesday.
The presentation will include North American and Latin American channel chiefs Sharon Alt and Marcello Bertolami, an update on the chipmaker’s corporate strategy, and an update un its client business from Kirk Skaugen. And, of course, ChannelBuzz.ca will be there for the festivities, bringing you a rundown of the event as it happens.
Join us after the jump for the liveblog, which will start updating at about 8:30 am Pacific Time (11:30 am Eastern) on Wednesday.
Onto a stage filled with notebooks, tablets, and smartphones come Sharon Alt, director of North American channels and distribution, as well as Marcelo Bertolami, director of Latin America channels and distribution, discussing the pervasiveness of smartphones, but the lack of smartphones with Intel Inside thus far.
It’s the 15th year for ISS, Alt says, and even finds a few people in the crowd who’ve been here since year one.
“The channel is evolving, so we’re throwing out our existing playbook, and we have a new one,” says Bertolami of the event, and the Intel Technology Provider Program.
Alt outlining existing support, expertise and recognition for partners. What’s going to change: “We know knowledge is power, and we want to make sure you have the best training materials available to you.”
Adding individual training credit as well as organizational training credits, starting in April.
“We are changing the way we are rewarding you, adding not only PCs, but also tablets and phones,” says Bertolami.
Alt and Bertolami going through the mobile app for this year’s ISS, as well as the changes to the format of the event here this week.
Awwww shucks… press row gets a shoutout from the main stage, and a nice, if obligatory, round of applause.
Alt talking about how Intel has split up its North American partner Board of Advisors into four sub-groups on specific topics, including data centre, enthusiast, touch devices, and intelligent connected devices.
Alt and Bertolami wrap up their presentation, and Intel Americas chief CJ Bruno hits the stage for a deeper dive into the chipmaker’s strategy.
Last year, Bruno said the company set record units and revenue growth for Xeon processors, and 15 per cent growth for its EPSD data centre division. “You grew units, you grew revenue, and you grew EPSD more than, as some of you painfully know, we could keep up with.”
On the desktop processors side, he says partners delivered revenue growth when things were otherwise flat.
On the intelligent systems side, Bruno reports partners sold 10x the numer of thin mini ITX boards. And finally, the comapny “is hustling” to keep up with SSD demand, with partners delivering 30 per cent unit growth and 60 per cent revenue growth.
Over the course of the last year, Intel has welcomed 7,700 new partners in the Americas into the Technology Provider Program, including “nearly doubling” the number of Platinum partners in Latin America.
And now, onto the company’s 2012 Platinum Awards for partners.
- For Datacenter Solutions Innovation: Cray for its “green blade” supercomputer.
- For Form Factor Solution Innovation: Ottawa’s own Eurocom, for developing an all-in-one 12-pound workstation.
- For the Breakaway Award (given to those “showing substantial incremental growth”): ZT Systems, which “continues to growth at a phenomenal rate,” Alt says.
- Marketing Achievement Award: En Pointe Technologies, for “driving new waves of social media,” doing the first Intel Facebook contest.
- North American Vision Award (for “making a difference in the community”): Cyberpower PC, for its 0k investment in recycling technology, as well as its work with university students and underprivileged families.
- Marketing Achievement Award for DMRs: CDW, for helping to drive customer adoption of the ultrabook platform.
Back to Bruno, who says that “velocity, speed and boldness” are key in a tough economy worldwide, with stalled enterprise spending, slower growth in a number of developing markets, and non-Intel alternatives on a variety of mobile devices.
But he says the company still believes its technologies are utterly necessary, with the proliferation of Internet users, personal devices, intelligent systems and growth cloud traffic.
“There opportunities are real and they are driving realities for us to harvest,” Bruno says.
He says that Intel is committed to getting its chips into the billions of smartphones that are being produces.
“We believe that if it computes, it’s our business. And with you, we can make that reality,” he says. The company’s strategy is to connect people with the Intel brand, “be the guide” for consumers making their purchase, and “focus on a hero product,” as it has with the Core brand, and with Ultrabooks over the last years.
Bruno says Ultrabook has been a huge win because “we have injected innovation into the industry again,” citing the number of copycat thin-and-light design references for PCs that have emerged since the introduction of the Ultrabook.
The goal, he says, is to “make it easy and safe” for consumers and businesses to connect, and the new “hero product” is the “Intel Inside” brand. “We will continue to be the guid, the navigator through the purchase funnel, in every segment we serve.
The focus is: “The best computing devices have Intel inside,” regardless of what type of device that is.
Addressing new form factors, the convertible, spinable, slideable, and otherwise transformable computer. “We’re just getting started here,” Bruno says. Moving to offering PCs at 15 watts later this year.
Talking about new experiences: the addition of touch, facial and voice recognition, wireless displays, “always fresh data” that’s updated even when the PC is asleep.
“We get that it’s the experience that drives the insatiable demand for these computing devices,” he says.
“We’re on the map, but we have a lot to do,” Bruno says.
And onto all-in-ones, especially “adaptive” all-in-ones that become oversized tablets when disconnected from their bases.
All of those changes, Bruno says, allows partners “to wake up” customers who are on four-plus-year-old PCs. In North America, Intel figures that’s 106.3 million PCs awaiting refresh.
And onto smartphones. “We’re in it to win it,” he says. “Instead of being noisy and underachieving, we made commitments to deliver.”
The company currently has about ten Intel-powered smartphone designs in the market in more than 20 different countries around the world. Intel smartphones are getting strong reviews for both performance and battery life, and Bruno is sharing some highlights.
Bruno outlining opportunities in selling “beyond the server”, particularly with networking, storage and software offerings out of its data centre business.
Bruno’s asks of partners:
- Help Intel “revolutionize clients again” with the refresh opportunity.
- Sell across the entire datacenter, including compute, networking, and storage, as well as intelligent connected devices.
- Make the most of the Intel Technology Provider Program.
The majority of PC users interviewed by Intel who have purchased tablets are still planning to refresh their PCs, Skaugen says. Tablets haven’t cancelled the PC refresh cycle, but they have in many cases delayed it.
Skaugen says Intel’s slogan for Windows 8-based tablets is “it just works,” says that consumers and even businesses have been surprised to learn that their legacy Windows apps will not work on Windows RT-based tablets.
Skaugen says “Bay Trail” tablet processors on track for holiday 2013 release, moving to 22nm, quad-core processors with more than double the performance of the company’s current tablet offerings. It will continue Intel’s strategy of fully embracing both Windows 8 and Android.
Onto the multi-year journey that is Ultrabook. Everything done with Ultrabook thus far, Skaugen says, is a retrofit of things that had been done already – the 2013 launch of the fourth-generation Core processors will be the first processors purpose-built for Ultrabook.
“This is where we re-invent the Ultrabook,” he says.