Intel Plans Expanded Lineup Of Product Offerings For Channel

Fresh off a record-setting quarter, Intel shows no signs of slowing down with the chipmaker taking steps into two non-traditional markets, signage and digital surveillance and security.

Even as Intel reported the best quarter in its 42-year history less than a month ago, the company sees opportunities for its channel to continue to expand into areas that are becoming more ’PC-like,’ according Eric Thompson, director, North America channels and distribution, Intel.

Speaking at the Intel Channel Alliance, in Hillsboro, Ore., Thompson laid out what he called a ’computing continuum.’ The goal of Intel’s new strategy is designed to allow channel partners fresh opportunities to grow their business in markets other than desktops, servers and notebooks.

’Our customer base knows all about the products we build for the desktop, notebook and service,’ he said. ’But technology is evolving. I’m talking about the continuum that the channel can use to augments its growth.’

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Specifically, Intel has set its sights on digital signage and digital surveillance and security (DSS). Both are markets that the chipmaker believes its processors can play in by powering digital cameras or signs. The move comes as Intel looks to provide its channel partners solution-based go-to-market options instead of products that the channel may be more familiar with.

’The PC is the core [of Intel’s business] but our solutions have to go beyond just that, especially in the next few years as we continue to explore adjacent technologies,’ said Thompson.

Solution providers at the event were optimistic about Intel’s new strategy. Tim Beech, channel program manager for Howard Technology Solutions, an Ellisville, Miss.-based solution provider, is excited by the opportunity to provide customers with complete solutions rather than just pieces of a puzzle, even if it means diving into adjacent technologies.

’The size of the market means there is a huge opportunity for systems builders to generate revenue,’ said Beech.

The goal for Intel is to grow its digital signage business by over 400 percent to around 14 million deployed installations by 2015. This growth in digital signage is poised to happen as security companies transition from analog to IP video, recorded in high definition that can be paired with an intelligent DVR or NVR, said Todd Matsler, LEPP segment manager for Intel.

’All of these trends are happening right now,’ he said. ’It’s debatable how soon they’ll happen, but we believe it’ll be in the next five years.’

Next: Intel Targets Digital Signage

The final piece on Intel’s new computing continuum is digital signage. Raj Maini, digital signage marketing manager for Intel, described a technology running on Intel chips that is able to interact with people in public while also pulling anonymous analytics.

When paired with a software solution, Intel’s future of digital signs can gauge how long someone stands in front of it and when their eyes are focused on the message or elsewhere. The demonstration of the technology called to mind the Tom Cruise movie Minority Report.

Still, there needs to be a channel play, and Maini outlined the opportunity for solution providers, talking about the projected number on installations that Intel sees coming by the year 2015.

’There’s tremendous growth potential in digital signage,’ said Maini. ’We’re expecting to a growth rate of 26 percent annually. Right now there are about 1.5 million units installed. In 2012 we expected that number to jump to 4 million and in 2015 to hit 8 million.

Of course, any time a major vendor begins to add new wrinkles to its product offerings there is the potential for solution providers to encounter a few bumps in the road. However, that isn’t daunting to Beech who recognizes that, while there is work to be done, there is also money to be made in these markets.

’The new technology is complex,’ said Beech. ’It involves both hardware and software, but if [we] can execute then it’s going to be huge.’