Intel Channel Chief: Desktop Innovation, Mobile Growth Crucial In Coming Year

Intel partners have been making strong headway in the traditional data center and desktop space, but still have many new opportunities to pursue as trends emerge in the mobile and Internet-of-Things spaces, said Intel's Todd Garrigues in his XChange 2015 keynote.

Garrigues, Intel's North American channel chief, said he is especially bullish on opportunities surrounding desktop innovation, mobile growth and the Internet of Things in the speech at XChange 2015 -- hosted in Washington, D.C., by CRN publisher The Channel Company.

"For two quarters now [PCs] have been much softer than in 2014. Despite that, we remain really optimistic that we can grow this business," he said. "We are excited about this business in the channel, we've seen some good growth and I'm very optimistic for the second half of the year."

[Related: Intel Unveils Specialty Designation For Partners Targeting High-Performance Computing]

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Garrigues said he hopes to grow double-digit growth in the channel through a slew of new initiatives, such as renewed drive in vertical markets and new mobile product opportunities. According to data collected by Intel, OEM-branded systems through distribution were up 11 percent year over year in the first half of 2015, while member revenue dollars grew 19 percent year over year in the first half of 2015.

However, Garrigues said, partners are also seeing many more opportunities with emerging mobile trends in Intel's client PC, mobile and IoT businesses.

At the helm of that opportunity are 2-in-1s, which Garrigues said heralded "tremendous growth" for partners. According to data collected by Intel, revenue growth from 2-in-1s shot up almost 268 percent for members year over year in the first half of 2015.

According to Intel, the 2-in-1 and notebook drive was capped by Intel's Core M processor, designed from the ground up to support ultra-thin, fanless products with user-experience innovation features. Vendors such as Lenovo -- which employs Core M in its Yoga and ThinkPad Helix products -- have embraced the Core M series.

Another lucrative market for partners involves desktop innovation, which covers the area of user-interface innovation and small form factors.

According to Garrigues, North America has an installed base of more than 200 million PCs that contain a large portion of the business environment. "There's a large opportunity to upgrade PCs," he said. Intel recently came out with its small form factor PC, the Compute Stick, a plug-and-play device that packs a full operating system to transform TVs and monitors into computers.

Lee Drake, CEO of Rochester, N.Y.-based Intel partner OS-Cubed Inc., said he is seeing many of the prevalent mobile trends in the workplace that Intel highlighted.

"What we're seeing is a client shift from desktops and laptops to the 2-in-1 products, and we're seeing tons of people going for those products," he said. "A large part of that is because in Intel developed technology to increase battery life and decrease the thickness of the product. The vision of things going wireless is huge and that will drive a lot of growth."

The Internet of Things is another area for growth for partners, as more partners tap into the opportunities from security, data center growth and other aspects of the IoT market. Partners have a lot of questions about moving forward with IoT, said Garrigues. In the channel, he has specifically seen progress with retail POS, digital signage, security and surveillance, he said.

"A lot of times it will be situations dependent on your customers, so my suggestion is to focus on your clients and how Internet of Things might help them and impact their business," he said.

OS-Cubed Inc.'s Drake sees the Internet of Things as a market that will soon explode and hold multiple opportunities for partners.

"IoT is kind of where tablets were two years ago," said. "Two years ago, companies were starting to understand how to leverage tablets, where now they have a grasp on them, and I think that's where IoT will be in a few years."