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Intel Exec: Project Athena Offers New Refresh Opportunities For Partners

'It comes down to having a clear vision for A) what the laptop is good at and why it's so important in people's lives and then B) what's going to be new and exciting and different about the experience,' Intel executive Josh Newman tells CRN in an interview.

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Can you at all quantify how much research is going into this?

I can't quantify dollar amounts, but it is a really big focus to make sure we have an always-on research cycle going. I think the one thing I would qualify is, our research lead on this — and we've actually used a few different sources, we've used outside agencies and the like — but we have a social scientist on staff who is a published author on this. She's been writing about this and researching this for the past 10 years: this changing nature of work. And her name is Dr. Melissa Gregg. She's one of our senior principal engineers. And so she's published. She's got a couple books on this. So this is her passion project too, but she's really driving new research. She just did something [across multiple geographies]. And yeah, our intention is to have Melissa and her team and outside agencies going out on a regular beat rate for the next N years and just keep collecting more and more of these insights to fuel the program.

Are you doing both interviews and surveys for the research?

The research design, it's a lot of ethnographic work. So it's a lot of in-person, follow people around, look at what they do, really get to know them. So that's one of the really big primary research tools. There's certainly a lot of other quantitative online things we do to also test some of the qualitative insights we get. But it is a lot of that deep ethnography work that is really the basis for informing us.

With the scale of research you're doing for Project Athena, is this a first for Intel? Or has there been similar efforts in the past?

I would say it's the first we're doing at this scale. Chris and Melissa, who I mentioned earlier, they were actually working on different segments of Intel's business not too long ago, a smaller part of the market and because they were trying to enter the market, they took the approach of, "let's really know the customer, and let's figure out what the perfect product is." And it just turned out to be a market that didn't materialize to the point that we wanted to continue there. And so when they came in, and we started [and] said, "hey, we do it this way, and we've never done it that way in the laptop market," just because the sheer size and scale of it. So I would say it really is, it's a fresh approach in the laptop Market, which is obviously a very, very big part of our PC business.

 
 
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