4 Real-World Ways Intel Investments Are Paying Off For Partners

Ahead of this week's Intel Solutions Summit, CRN spoke with four solution providers about how they are finding success working with Intel in different market segments. Here's how they say investments Intel is making in hot technology areas are helping them close deals.

Data Center

Intel has been putting more resources into its Data Center Group and into the channel ecosystem surrounding it as part of its restructuring efforts over the past year, and partners like Fremont, Calif.-based ASI are reaping the rewards.

ASI works closely with Intel around various levels of integration in the data center — from providing parts and components all the way to working with customers to deliver completely customized, integrated solutions.

Sponsored post

"Between its Omni-Path technology and Intel turnkey servers, the whole data center category is still growing," said Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI. "We expect data center to be a growth category for a long time."

[Related: Intel Solutions Summit 2017]

Over the past year, Tibbils said ASI has been pleased by Intel's level of investment in its Data Center Group.

In June, the chip manufacturer began shipping its second-generation 14-nanometer Xeon Phi processors targeting high-performance computing capabilities. In addition to supercomputers, the processors can be used for deep learning systems and artifi cial intelligence in data centers. Intel also released its Omni-Path host fabric integrated in the processors, which Tibbils said "fits nicely with the server business."

"We're picking up incremental sales in the Omni-Path product — it provides lots of performance and throughput for high-end data centers," he said.

In September 2016, Intel also unveiled the availability of turnkey servers for partners — fully integrated, tested, validated and warrantied servers that can be customized by the channel.

"There's a lot of value for the reseller to ship a server completely validated and tested by Intel. … There are cost-savings opportunities there too," said Tibbils.

Internet of Things

Since its official foray into the Internet of Things in 2015, Intel has been providing its partners with the bare-bones parts for Internet of Things solutions — including reference architectures, access points and sensors. However, Stephen Monteros, vice president of sales at Ontario, Calif.-based Sigmanet, said the vendor provides a lot more for its partners developing and implementing IoT solutions: access to training, marketing resources and connections to other vendors in the Internet of Things market.

Sigmanet has been working over the past year to plan and deploy a people-tracking solution along parts of the 21-mile Pacific Electric Trail in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The solution is a dual-surveillance tracking system, with a complementary app that's run by the city. "So when people are on the trail, and a winery is just off the trail, the app says you can detour to the winery for a happy hour," said Monteros.

For the solution, the company used Intel's Wi-Fi access points, which can store, manage and distribute digital content. However, Intel also helped Sigmanet pull together different technologies from other vendors, including cameras from Bosch, technologies from CradlePoint and products from Cisco.

"Intel provided us with connections to the resources [for this project]," said Monteros. "Because we don't really sell cameras — we just talk about what we need — and because they work across the entire platform, from devices to infrastructure, they were able to connect us to the people that built the products that we need at the right level. They were the glue that connected the group together."

Monteros hopes Intel continues to build an ecosystem around IoT for partners to tap into and build solutions. "Intel recognizes that for partners, it's not so much about the technology as it is about the business outcomes," he said. "They're really enabling the channel with IoT."


Intel's Optane memory module has been the star of the show over the past year in the company's storage segment. On the client compute side, Randy Copeland, president and CEO of Velocity Micro, a systems builder and Intel partner based in Richmond, Va., said the new technology is giving Velocity Micro lots of opportunities to supercharge PCs.

"I'm excited about Optane … it will be helpful in the mainstream and higher end; it's a big improvement," he said. "Anything that Intel can do to make a snappier, more responsive computing experience is a good thing. Customers want a more satisfying experience."

Velocity Micro's customer base includes gamers in the enthusiast market and media professionals — all "power users" who would benefit from the performance enhancements of Optane, said Copeland.

"Optane is a fast, snappy memory platform, and Intel integrated it into the architecture of its memory board. It cuts out latency with computers that don't have an SSD drive array," he said.

Client Compute

Although Intel has been pushing into new areas beyond personal computing, the company's client compute business continues to be the biggest sales generator. Intel has seen success by zeroing in on small form factors, 2-in-1s and enthusiast-targeted products.

Martin Smekal, president and CEO of Torrance, Calif.-based Intel partner TabletKiosk, said partners play an essential role in customizing solutions for customers in areas such as gaming or small-form-factor businesses. "As we look at it, the future of computing will be in areas we don't think about today," he said. "From a channel perspective, it's exciting. This goes back to the core competencies that channel partners have."

TabletKiosk builds tablet PCs for vertical markets, including health care, hospitality, point of sale, and casino gaming, as well as selling tablet accessories. The company traditionally has used Intel's Core and Celeron chips in its tablets, but is now starting to look beyond PCs at small-form-factor products. One such product is Intel's 5mm-thick Compute Card, which will be released in mid-2017 and helps power the next generation of Intel-based Internet of Things devices.

"Small form factor is important … it's a new frontier, it's an expansion of the total available market as opposed to an absorption," said Smekal.

"We saw the desktop market struggling as far as five years ago, and it may not be a growing market, but it's still a huge piece of Intel's core business," he said. "We're trying to help customers complement their desktops with 2-in-1s or multiple devices.

"We're picking up incremental sales in the Omni-Path product — it provides lots of performance and throughput for high-end data centers," he said.