Intel Solutions Summit: 6 Discussions Intel Technology Providers Want To Have

Partners Take The Front Seat At Intel Solutions Summit

It's been a big year for Intel -- the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company released its new sixth-generation Skylake processor in the fall, and has been also made advances in new segments, including new technology relating to the Internet of Things, memory and data center.

At the forefront of this innovation are Intel's channel partners, which drive sales and pinpoint unique business applications for Intel products.

Partners are eyeing new products and channel-related news at the company's Intel Solutions Summit, which kicks off Tuesday in Orlando, Fla. From Intel's small-form-factor PCs to vertical specialty benefits, here are the topics partners want to discuss at the Intel Solutions Summit this week.

Skylake, Windows 10, And PC Innovation

Partners are itching to hear more about Intel's innovation in the PC segment, particularly as the PC market continues to see sluggish growth -- despite the dual upgrade incentives of both Intel's new sixth-generation performance-enhanced Skylake processors and Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system.

Partners for their part want to engage in a deeper discussion about the innovative features enabled by Skylake processors and the Windows 10 PC experience.

"I hope to hear more talk about PCs, both traditional form factor PCs and small form factor," said Jon Bach, president of Puget Systems, a Kent, Wash.-based Intel system builder partner. "We've had a strong year for gaming PCs, with new features like [virtual reality] and 4K, and I hope Intel spends some time on that."

Innovation In Data Center

For Intel Technology Providers, data center covers technologies under the the server-networking spectrum, including cloud, HPC, big data and enterprise servers.

But this year, partners say, the focus should be on the idea of software-defined infrastructure as the channel looks to monetize optimized cloud platforms.

While it gets about 60 percent of revenue from its PC chips, Intel has been investing in its Data Center group -- during its fourth quarter 2015 earnings call, the company said its Data Center revenue rose 5 percent from the year before.

"We are always looking for ways to manage, store and back up data for all the different client devices," said Donna Shepard, senior vice president of Dallas-based M&A Technology. "Data is getting bigger and bigger, and the need for data center has become more urgent."

Small-Form-Factor PCs

Intel will also showcase its small-form-factor PC portfolio, including the NUC (Next Unit Computing) and Compute Stick.

Intel's newly unveiled Skull Canyon NUC, which will start at $650 and become available in May, will be available to the channel, and will contain better performance and graphics for the enthusiast and workstation segments, according to Intel.

Intel will also be showing off its Compute Stick, which the company dubs its "PC on a stick form factor."

Most recently, Intel lifted the curtain on new renditions of the Compute Stick -- this time sporting Intel's new, more powerful Core m3 and Core m5 Skylake processors. These new Compute Sticks, which will be available in May, tout higher performance and a more powerful computing experience.

The Channel's Role In The Internet Of Things

The Internet of Things is another focus for Intel Technology Providers -- partners are looking for ways to use their vertical expertise and skill sets to pinpoint innovative IoT applications for their customers' businesses.

Intel has been focusing heavily on IoT technology, with products like its IoT platform and IoT Commercial Developer Kits for gateways. During its fourth quarter 2015 earnings announcement, the company said its Internet of Things group revenue increased 6 percent year over year.

Updates On Vertical Specialty Benefits

Partners want to hear an update on Intel's specialty vertical benefits, which enable vertical market branding, technical resources to close complex deals, and highly specialized education and training for partners in certain segments.

The company launched its high-performance computing (HPC) data center specialty designations in the third quarter of 2015 for its North American partner base. Last May, the company also rolled out specialty benefits for the Internet of Things retail and education verticals.

As part of the specialty designation, partners will be able to tap into the expertise of Intel HPC specialists, receive the HPC data center specialty designation, and gain access to Intel HPC resources and case studies, as well as co-marketing opportunities.

HPC-Focused And Memory-Based Technology

Partners with a focus in HPC hope Intel will talk about its Omni-Path Architecture, a new HPC-optimized fabric technology that the company says makes the performance of HPC clusters more accessible to a broader variety of users.

Omni-Path Architecture, like Intel's Knights Landing co-processors, is part of the company's System Scalable Framework (SSF) ecosystem, which is an advanced architectural approach to enable more scalable, flexible and balanced HPC systems.

Partners say they would also like to hear more about 3D NAND products and 3D Crosspoint technology, a new form of non-volatile memory technology unveiled in August by Intel and Micron Technology.