Intel believes connected devices present a very prospective future for retailers – so much so that it is making serious investments in the sector. PCR reports from the EMEA Intel Solutions Summit in Copenhagen…
“The Internet of Things is not just hype.”
These were the words that Rod O’Shea, EMEA director for Intel’s newly restructured Internet of Things (IoT) division – which covers internet-connected home appliances and automation devices – delivered to a room packed with over 1,000 of Intel’s Platinum partners.
“We’re not at 50 billion devices yet, but it is real,” O’Shea continued. “We’re now at a stage of maturity in the industry [required for IoT].
“This industry is just forming, and there is a massive opportunity [available for retail].”
O’Shea’s comments embodied Intel’s ‘lead the evolution’ theme for the 16th iteration of the Intel Solutions Summit (ISS) in Denmark.
Intel’s flagship channel event delivered three days of keynote speeches from Intel executives and special guests. There were themed sessions and the chance to meet and chat to nearly 100 hardware and software vendors including Microsoft, WD, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu and more.
This year, it was clear that Intel believes IoT to be at the forefront of the evolution it advises its partners to lead.
Intel VP and GM for EMEA, Christian Morales (pictured), outlined Intel’s investment in the sector during his keynote speech, promising “more and more announcements and developments” in IoT on the back of the company’s recent investments, including its acquisition of wearable tech specialist Basis Science.
Morales told PCR that Intel’s expansion into areas such as IoT and wearable tech was part of a ‘new Intel’, where the company hopes to provide hardware and software at every level – from miniaturised IoT devices to tablets and beyond to expansive data servers running cloud software.
Although a large amount of Intel’s discussion focused on developing tech such as IoT, wearables and ‘Big Data’, some love at the event was saved for its best-known market – the traditional desktop processor.
GM of Intel’s worldwide reseller channel Maurits Tichelman said that despite headlines about a desktop decline, enthusiast and high-end system sales were actually seeing growth of 20 per cent.
“It’s all about the PC,” Tichelman reassured delegates, announcing that Intel had shipped its five-millionth processor in 2013.
Intel also made it clear that leading the evolution isn’t solely about new products – Stiven Kerestegian of Danish toy firm Lego provided some wisdom on how to boost business by adopting a fresh perspective on the market (See ‘Bricks and Clicks’).
“Don’t look at the numbers all the time,” he said, referring to the unexpected success of a previously dismissed Lego set. “There’s a lot of value you can’t predict.
“Do it light. Have fun. Don’t take yourself so seriously.”
In an industry full of reports of shrinking markets, ISS provided refreshing proof that the tech market is more alive now than ever before.
BRICKS AND CLICKS
Intel is teaming up with Lego in order to crack the prospective education sector.
The collaboration will see Lego Education sets of bricks – such as the StoryStarter, and WeDo bricks boxes – and Mindstorms robotics kits bundled with a selection of Intel’s educational tablets and laptops.
The devices will come pre-installed with dedicated Lego software configured for children at different learning stages – Elementary, Primary and Secondary – as well as Intel’s own Intel Teach software to help teachers develop suitable lesson plans.
Intel also took the opportunity to unveil a brand new educational device at the event – the Intel Education 2 in 1 (pictured, above), a rugged two-in-one tablet/laptop hybrid which includes tools such as a snap-on magnification lens and a temperature sensor probe for use in schools.
Intel VP of sales and marketing and Intel Education GM John Galvin took a very hands-on approach to demonstrate the 2 in 1’s classroom-friendly rubberised design, suddenly dropping the hardy device on the ground to the shock of the gathered audience.