Partners Should Place Bets On All-In-One PCs, Digital Signage, Intel's Dallman Says

Steve Dallman, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Worldwide Reseller Organization, pegged the consumerization of IT as being a major growth opportunity for the channel at this week’s XChange Solution Provider event.

But the Intel spokesman also said that partners should start placing their bets on digital signage, all-in-one desktops, and the server market.

Once narrowly focused on the installation of hardware, digital signage has recently taken on a much broader meaning, Dallman told CRN. Digital displays are now relied on not only for projecting information, but for capturing it. With solutions such as Intel’s Audience Impression Metric (AIM), for example, digital signs can gauge a reader’s gender and age to cater on-the-fly messages best suited for that particular demographic.

[Related: Intel’s Dallman Says BYOD, Mobility Offer New Opportunities For Partners ]

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The introduction of tools such as AIM has made content management and analytical software a staple in digital displays. And, because of this, Dallman said that demand for solution providers who can offer the integration and networking services needed to run these applications is on the rise. But many VARs are reluctant to get involved in digital signage, he said, most likely because they still view it as a more traditional hardware, rather than service-based, offering.

"Most of the guys [solution providers] that are already in-the-works, don’t really want to get into it," Dallman said of digital signage. But those who do step up to bat, will find the market a lucrative one.

"Margin is where the mystery is," he said.

All-in-one desktops were also pointed out by Dallman as being another up-and-coming space for solution providers to eye. These multi-function PCs present an opportunity to system builders as well, who can provide customization services to meet the niche needs of vertical markets, such as health care or education.

"It [the all-in-one market] is an invigorating place to be because all of the innovation," he told CRN.

Dubbed by Dallman as the "rebirth of the PC," all-in-one desktops such as Lenovo's IdeaCentre B540 and B340 essentially serve as multiple devices in one. Lenovo’s offerings, for instance, double as a desktop PC and full HD TV that users can toggle between with the simple switch of a button.

The server space, and especially microservers, was the third market segment given a channel-friendly shout out by Dallman. The company’s Data Center Group saw 17 percent year-over-year growth in 2011 -- the same as its claim-to-fame PC Unit Group. And with the launch of its new Sandy Bridge-based Xeon E5-2600 chips this week, which are said to save 50 percent of the power consumed by their predecessor the Xeon 5600 and boost performance by a massive 80 percent, Intel seems to be placing a new emphasis on the low-power server space, and is urging its partners to do the same.

Dallman said that Sandy Bridge has been the company’s "fastest ramping product ever."