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The New Intel: Defining the future starts at the top

Rob Enderle | Sept. 15, 2014
Intel's executive leadership has stepped it up at this week's Intel Developer Forum. I used to do speaker reviews for Intel. After Andrew Grove left, though, poorly prepped speakers, sloppy presentations and missed opportunities defined IDF, with folks changing their presentations right up until they went on stage. Intel found my speaker reviews too critical, so I wasn't asked to continue.

Meanwhile, connectivity has been a huge issue for tablets and smartphones. While they increasingly offer PC-like performance, their small displays are too limiting, and their inability to connect to an external monitor or TV is painful. Intel demonstrated gigabit wireless technology that's simple to set up and solves that problem. With it, there's now an advantage to running Windows on a small device, as it can more easily step up to PC tasks.

Perhaps the most amazing, though, was inductive charging. Typically, this requires close contact between the device and the charging base. Intel can transmit the power some distance from the base, and through non-conductive materials such as wood, allowing folks to put the technology under desks and conference tables. Intel also announced a massive number of partners, which could make the charging brick a thing of the past in just a few short years.  

The magic extended to enterprise products, where Intel contrasted the tight limitations of servers connected with copper cable to its new high-speed optical cable technology. The guy doing the demonstration took his end of the cable and wandered out of the conference center. He appeared to be headed for another state.  

This level of performance can capture the imaginations of both buyers and developers. Creating passion drives new technologies to market, much more so than the failed "build it and they will come" Field of Dreams model.  

If You Set the Bar High Enough, Everyone Will Jump Up to Meet You

When far-reaching core vendors such as Intel and Microsoft step up, they can drive industry change better than can a close vendor such as Apple. The IDF audience was pumped, largely because Intel used good stagecraft, and the result should be a more rapid advancement of the technologies that Intel wants to drive into the market.

I want to leave you with this point, though. It isn't about technology or product. It's incredibly important for executives to step up during events such as IDF. By doing so they honor their people, investors and customers, and they set a level of excellence. That should help Intel perform at a very high level once again.

I attend a monthly lunch with Intel's founders. Some used to stage Grove's talks. They sometimes lament how far Intel has fallen. This week, they'd be very proud of just how well their descendants executed.  


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