AMD Channel Chief: Embedded Markets Incorporate Variety Of Partners

AMD's channel chief says the embedded market is one of the more exciting untapped opportunities for both AMD and its reseller partners, who will now have access to additional benefits under the AMD Fusion Partner Program's new systems and technology track for embedded markets.

David Kenyon, vice president of worldwide channel marketing at AMD, said that there are two main specialties among resellers of embedded products: those who partner with embedded OEMs and the newer, emerging category of single-board ODM partners.

"There really are a couple of different businesses within embedded," Kenyon said. "One of the things about the track that we're proud of is that it's sensitive to the way our partners do business and not just how we do it."

Kenyon, who spent the week at Embedded World in Hanover, Germany unveiling details of the new track, said it was important to incorporate the embedded space into AMD's global program. "Traditionally we've handled our businesses directly, and managed it regionally, but we have not been as globally consistent as some of the others in the business," Kenyon said.

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Kenyon said the embedded market is more complicated than most of AMD's other businesses, as it incorporates thousands of different kinds of partners. "Embedded is pretty exciting, I think," he said. "There are so many different tools and products that integrate this kind of technology from automobiles to digital signage, and all the vertical markets that take this stuff and use it. There are all kinds of partners that sell in those end markets, so it's a bit of a complicated channel as well."

AMD at Embedded World said its new track offers embedded partners access to AMD's resources and online sales, marketing, and technical support as well as product roadmaps and other reference materials. Partners will also be able to sign up for AMD Academy technical product training using a combination of on-site and online instruction.

Next: More Details On The Program

AMD's new program determines tiering based on performance and strategic alignment with partner benefits and incentives designed to promote their business growth, the company said, and AMD organizes its tracks based on how partners go to market as well as who they sell to. "Before we add a new partner track, we spend a fair bit of time designing the track, meeting with partners, and figuring out the opportunities for us to address," Kenyon said. "Channel partners, who were never really plugged into the formal side of this sort of thing before, spent time designing this track with us over the last six months."

Kenyon said that that many single-board ODM partners were concerned about generating demand for the designs that they win with AMD, while most AMD partners want to see as much marketing and sales information, as well as product enablement, as AMD can offer them. "We have not done a good job with that in the past, hence the new AMD Fusion Partner Portal that launched last year," he said. "Our partners want to know what programs we can put on the table to generate dollars, and we designed the co-marketing and distribution programs to do that."

Kenyon said partner feedback for the most part centered on the need for AMD support in order to generate demand. "They say, 'the technology is great, now help us sell it, give us the marketing tools that help clearly differentiate AMD-based solutions over the competition,'" Kenyon said. ’What we’d love to see are programs that enable us to more effectively educate our buyers on the benefits of an AMD platform.’

AMD says it's offering additional communications and materials for partners regarding AMD-based products, including its Marketing Resource Center, which offers direct sales and marketing highlighting key AMD program announcements as well as e-newsletters through the AMD Partner Portal. Finally, AMD at the event said it will offer its AMD-Based Embedded Product catalog featuring its partners' products, linking solution-seeking end users directly to partners through AMD's online locator tool.

"The exciting part is that we're marketing in ways we haven't before," Kenyon said. "And the time is right now because of the launch of our embedded G-series processors; our partners have never been more excited about what they see from AMD. So much of the embedded end-use markets are graphics-driven, and there have been lousy solutions in the space for graphics previous to now. You had to have separate GPU and CPU chips, which drove up the form factor and the cost of devices, but with Fusion you get the CPU and the GPU on the same die."

Next: Further Distinguishing Fusion From Sandy Bridge

Kenyon said that AMD's Fusion is significantly different from other integrated graphics platforms that have come to market this year, in particular Intel's Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 integrated graphics processors. "The product is fundamentally designed differently from what Intel is providing with integrated chips," Kenyon said. "We've got discrete graphics, which are different, and we've got the CPU and GPU communicating together in a very efficient way on the die -- and, really, nobody else has that."

Kenyon said AMD's marketing will help separate its Fusion integrated graphics platform from that of its competitors in the burgeoning market. "We'll differentiate Fusion around the different applications for the technology," Kenyon said. "We're really driving the product into places where high-performance graphics and parallel processing applications require the capabilities we put on the chip."

Kenyon said somewhere between sixty and seventy percent of the end-user applications he saw at Embedded World this week were graphically-driven, and that applications such as medica-image scanning will start to change the semiconductor space. In addition, he said, as the technology continues to get smaller, use less power, and generate less heat, X86 core technology will become more applicable in embedded solutions such as casino gaming, and other devices that require low power consumption levels. "You can't have a fan inside one of those slot machines," he said. "As the power and heat envelopes get compressed over time, you have to tolerate that. It's one of the design points in Fusion."

Kenyon said embedded single-board digital signage computers such as airport terminal monitors that display flight information are now networkable, rather than functioning as stand-alone systems as was the case in the past, and runs on x86 as well. "Embedded is a fascinating part of our business," he said. "It doesn't get much coverage, but as more and more devices on the market get smarter and smarter, they're doing it mostly through silicon."