Intel plans Middle East platform push

Willy Agatstein, VP channel platforms group at Intel explains how its recently released new platforms will impact the Middle East and outlines the work carried out at its platformisation centre in Cairo, Egypt.

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By  Andy Tillett Published  May 2, 2006

|~|willya200b.gif|~|Willy Agatstein, VP channel platforms group at Intel|~|Willy Agatstein, VP channel platforms group at Intel explains how its recently released new platforms will impact the Middle East and outlines the work carried out at its platformisation centre in Cairo, Egypt.

CME: What specifically is the platformisation centre doing in the Middle East?

Willy Agatstein: A year ago when we started the platformisation centre, we doubled the size of Intel in Egypt. We’re looking at affordability with the ‘discover the PC’ initiative, to give people cheaper access to PCs, which went live at the beginning of April, and was codified between India, Brazil and the group in Cairo. We are also investigating entertainment in the home with the new ViiV technology.

CME: When will the ‘discover the PC’ scheme be running in this region?

WA: It is actually available in North Africa now, though not in every country yet, as it is still rolling out. One of the things that we are doing at the Intel conference with our Premier Partners is closing the deals on who will supply these PCs. For many it centres around accessibility and affordability. In the case of accessibility, we have the community PC, which, even though it was defined in India, we are bringing to Nigeria, mostly because they have a lot of similar conditions, such as the heat and the dust. Cost is only one issue; it’s about having a PC that can work in the given environment.

CME: You mentioned that you would be putting more emphasis on education through platofrmisation?

WA: We have started looking at the concept of, mostly, the educational needs. One thing that struck me in Egypt recently was the tremendous amount of educational software available. We are looking at educational aspects of religion, what the product needs are and what we can do. We are actually in the midst of defining the products.

CME: How much resource do you dedicate to software?

WA: There are two or three software people in each platform centre looking at what software is available and what we can enable. We are looking at how much we should develop ourselves, versus how much we should get done outside. Most of the software developed is for what I call the management of the platform, not the content. We firmly believe we are not the experts for content. We are working with other companies who have the knowledge, the relationship and the locality to develop software content.

CME: Does the platformisation group work with governments?

WA: Intel has a governmental assisted PC purchase (GAPP) programme. If a country invests in technology the wellbeing of its people goes up and governments recognise that. We ask governments what it is they are looking for. In many ways, some of the platforms we have developed have been the result of having this conversation. Our focus has been very much about asking governments what they want to achieve, then using our ethnographers to work towards it.

CME: Will government schemes offer the new platforms?

WA: In Brazil this is already happening. It’s the government’s choice. We provide a spectrum of platforms. When a government introduces a GAPP we show them the full range of platforms that we have and ask them what best fits their needs.

CME: How much research can you transpose from region to region?

WA: It’s more than I initially thought. There’s very interesting common threads across the world. Looking at education, in both mature and emerging markets, the needs are very much the same. The number and the qualification of teachers, their ability to teach and our ability to help them is number one. Number two is the ability to provide individualised or small group learning. Teachers across the world have the same problems. What is different is how you take that and localise it. For example, in Turkey they are very interested in small group learning, in India they are very much about individualised learning. If you go to China, they are more classroom orientated.

CME: Will the new platforms be supplied through the channel or through OEM?

WA: The answer is both. It’s a combination of who is most capable in that country as far as economic resources, reach and their skills related to what we are trying to accomplish. If you look at the companies that meet the criteria of local understanding, local reach, good financial resources and a specialised knowledge, it is generally [Intel] Premier Partners.
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