The Intel of Things

Intel regional director, Middle East and North Africa Taha Khalifa, on the Internet of things (IoT) opportunity and why he expects the company and channel partners to lead in the era of connected devices and intelligent systems.

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The Intel of Things
By  Manda Banda Published  August 22, 2015

The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing new—it’s just an another name attached to a steadily evolving ecosystem, one that took root in network computing, sprouted into pervasive computing and barely blossomed into something called convergence.

Along the way, solution providers, VARs, resellers and their vendor partners have laid the foundation for what consumer-oriented technology companies are now building upon with increasing speed.

This latest buzzword evokes images of self-regulating thermostats, health monitors and refrigerators that let you know when the milk goes bad. But it’s more than that: IoT is projected to be a $7.1trn market worldwide by 2020, according to research house IDC.

And it’s a market that will encompass all corners of industry, from consumer to high-end manufacturing and just about everything in between. Which means plenty of opportunity for the channel in myriad ways.

For Intel channel partners though, in order to understand what is happening in the Middle East, they need to look at the big picture in terms of what is happening with the chip designer and where it’s headed.

“Where we are now, our vision is very clear and if it’s smart and connected, it is best on Intel,” said Taha Khalifa, regional director, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Intel.

In this regard, added Khalifa, Intel is expanding beyond the traditional PC and server business to other form factors of the business. “The whole frame of products that we have right now includes IoT and there is a bigger opportunity, which I believe it’s not just Intel that’s seeing it as the ecosystem in IT and technology in general is starting to see the IoT opening,” he said.

Khalifa said the interesting part about IoT, which is helping Intel is that IoT by default generates a lot of data and this data will require storage, processing and data centres to be able to get insights and intelligence that IoT promises. “I think this is very critical for Intel. This covers not only the edge devices but the back end infrastructure that is very critical and important for us and the entire channel ecosystem,” he pointed out.

While there is no denying the IoT opportunity for partners, it is the strategy Intel develops that will help it to reach out to a broader partner base across MENA.

Khalifa explained that Intel’s strategy aligns with a couple of things when it comes to helping partners make that transition from selling traditional PC and server offerings, to identifying the opportunities in, mobility, wearables and the IoT segment. He reiterated that key for Intel is a robust channel strategy in MENA and that was also the key message from the Intel Solutions Summit (ISS), which this year was held in Abu Dhabi. “Our strategy in MENA is to transform the channel and we have three pillars that are guiding the team to achieve this transformation objective,” he said.

The first, according to Khalifa is the traditional PC and server business, and Intel wants to ensure that it continues driving and growing this business with systems integrators, resellers and system builders in the region. Secondly, he said Intel has started to look at the branded business and a lot of resellers and distributors are already dealing with the branded business and the company works with them to promote and provide support. “The support comes in the form of helping them to accelerate the technology adoption, technology transitions and the new products,” he said.

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