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#47 Looking Forward to 2021
on Wed Apr 21 2021 17:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Greg leads Intel’s US sales and marketing. Intel’s customers are primarily the system OEMs, and Intel’s sales force works daily servicing those accounts and helping them build systems around Intel’s compute and memory technologies. Currently, there is an unprecedented demand for compute. Intel’s teams work with software companies, cloud providers, Fortune 1000 businesses, schools, and government agencies to make compute accessible and help identify trends and apply use cases the solve business problems in a way that improves society. Intel, then, works as a trendsetter and identifies new trends to make sure customers have the right products.
Greg leads Intel’s US sales and marketing. Intel’s customers are primarily the system OEMs, and Intel’s sales force works daily servicing those accounts and helping them build systems around Intel’s compute and memory technologies. Currently, there is an unprecedented demand for compute.
Intel’s teams work with software companies, cloud providers, Fortune 1000 businesses, schools, and government agencies to make compute accessible and help identify trends and apply use cases the solve business problems in a way that improves society. Intel, then, works as a trendsetter and identifies new trends to make sure customers have the right products.
Currently, the trends all relate to the COVID pandemic. Organizations spent most of 2020 in crisis mode, with IT deploying technology to keep businesses running and then adapting to the new normal. Now, there is stabilization where IT departments can look forward rather than just responding to the crisis at hand.
One lesson is that IT can move much faster than we ever thought. For example, it’s amazing how quickly almost every industry was able to switch to remote work. Yet COVID worked as an accelerant rather than a catalyst. Most of the changes were already planned, but COVID compressed timelines. Instead of, say, an 18-month planned rollout of Office 365, it happened in a week and a half because it had to.
One of the main reasons for the speed of change is that a CIO couldn’t possibly make every decision that had to be made during the crisis, so the decision-making was pushed down to empower those at the front lines to work quickly and do what was best for the business.
One change that will take some time is figuring out the new hybrid work model. Intel, for example, is working on expectations for how often employees should come in to the office, after a large majority of employees have spent a year working from home. IT departments are preparing and investing in tools that enable collaboration with some employees in the office and some at home.
Organizations may not know what their model will look like for many months, so IT departments must be flexible in their approach.
Online projects that were set aside in 2020 are coming back now in this new hybrid work environment. Employees want to engage with their business in the same way that they do as consumers in software as a service. Consequently, there are many apps being developed around employee experience.
In addition, there has been much progress around the utilization of bots. For example, Intel just rolled out an HR bot to improve and automate employee experience, accessing all the HR services. This leads to the need for more AI and AI automation, which is driven by machine learning
Many of Intel’s customers are setting up for frictionless, contactless customer services in government, retail, and entertainment. One industry that accelerated during the pandemic is telco, which is going to make these frictionless deliveries much easier.
The capital investment to build out telco infrastructure and 5G is supporting more IOT, remote-type devices now that, pre-pandemic, were going to take years to materialize.
Intel has seen a huge spike in working with AI and protected data in areas such as medical discovery and in the financial markets. With Intel’s new third-generation Xeon CPUs, there are secure compute enclaves (SGX), protected memory, that cannot be accessed outside of the system. The use cases that are getting deployed are around AI and federated learning, where users’ and companies’ data can train global models, but the data is not shared in a central repository. With AI, the concept of federated learning, and Intel’s SGX, that data can be protected. Privacy and regulation roadblocks to data can be removed. For example, a hospital’s data, or an individual patient’s data can be protected, but still used to train a more global model with great benefits.
Many companies are finding ways to automate tasks, in some cases mundane tasks, to free up their employees to work on higher value projects. This trend has skyrocketed in the last six to eight months, with a lot of growth in the market. In the last five years, RPA markets have received over two billion dollars in VC funding, mostly from the New York City financial markets. Outside of RPA, there are a lot of automation frameworks that people are using to deploy infrastructure in their data centers and also seamlessly in the cloud.
Intel has started to build out reference architectures to help companies build out their edge compute. The important science here is connecting the edge compute all the way back to the cloud infrastructure and building both a hardware and software stack, a control panel, and automation. This is another area of incredible investment.
2020 was a year of chaos, unprecedented adaptation, and accelerated change. Now, in a more stable 2021, companies can build on the resulting lessons and trends.