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Intel makes its mobile move

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Intel has announced its latest family of low-power system-on-chips codenamed Bay Trail. The CPUs are based on the company’s Silvermont micro architecture and will be used to power future tablets, 2-in-1s and other mobile devices.

The ‚”Bay Trail‚” family of processors is based on Intel’s low-power, high-performance microarchitecture ‚”Silvermont,‚” announced in May 2013. The Intel Atom Z3000 Processor Series (‚”Bay Trail-T‚”) is the company’s first mobile multi-core SoC and its most powerful offering to date for tablets and other sleek mobile designs. It delivers a fast and fluid experience and a powerful balance of performance, battery life, graphics and rich features.

The flexibility of the new microarchitecture allows for variants of the SoC to serve multiple market segments, including new Intel Pentium and Celeron processors (‚”Bay Trail‚”-M and -D) for entry 2 in 1s, laptops, desktops and all-in-one systems.

The family of ‚”Bay Trail‚” SoCs provides a wide range of options for Intel’s customers by enabling one hardware configuration that supports both Windows 8 and Android, ultimately offering people broader choice of form factors at a range of price points that meet the varied needs of consumers and business users.

‚”What we have delivered with our Bay Trail platform is an incredibly powerful SoC that delivers outstanding performance, long battery life, and a great experience for the way people use these devices today. It’s an incredible leap forward,‚” saidHermann Eul, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s Mobile and Communications Group. ‚”With Bay Trail as the foundation, our OEM partners are bringing a wide variety of designs at a range of prices to delight consumers, business users and IT managers.‚”

To bring this level of performance to a processor aimed at mobile devices, Intel developed a new platform that solves the contemporary technology challenges people have today, including the ability to multitask, the need for prolonged battery life and enhanced graphics, and the ability to have a more productive, enjoyable mobile experience. Video content and B-roll featuring Intel executives and developers on the making of Bay Trail and supporting images are available at intel.synapticdigital.com.

More Powerful Tablets, 2 in 1s with Intel Atom Z3000 Processor Series

The Intel Atom Z3000 Processor series delivers leading performance with all-day battery life. It is Intel’s most capable, best-performing platform to-date for tablets and other sleek mobile devices. It offers a smaller footprint and lower power usage while also enabling double the compute performance and triple the graphics performance compared to the previous-generation Intel Atom processor. The low-power SoC platform enables over 10 hours of active battery life and three weeks of standby withan always-connected mobile experience.

The Intel Atom Z3000 Processor series also includes Intel Burst Technology 2.0 with four cores, four threads and 2MB L2 cache. This performance allows users to multi-task, consume and create content, and enjoy a rich experience across either Android or Windows 8. People will also have a choice of form factors between tablets and 2 in 1s, with thin-and-light devices ranging from 8mm to 1 pound, and screen sizes ranging from 7-11.6 inches. Tablets based on this latest Intel Atom SoC will be available at prices starting as low as $199.

The Intel Atom Z3000 series also enables business-ready tablets that deliver the experiences and designs people want with the protection for the enterprise that IT requires. With robust security features, including McAfee DeepSAFE Technology, AES hardware full disk encryption, Intel Platform Trust Technology, Intel Identity Protection Technology and Intel Data Protection Technology, the platform offers a more secure computing environment. It also supports Microsoft Windows 8 Pro Domain Join and Group Policy, and delivers full application and peripheral compatibility.

Intel has been working with top application developers to ensure the best experience is available for Intel architecture platforms on both Windows and Android. Work with Cyberlink, Skype-HD and Netflix-HD, PhiSix, Arcsoft, Tieto, Gameloft, and many line of business apps are a few examples where Intel has focused on optimizing imaging, graphics, and overall performance that will ultimately improve the experience for consumers. Intel has a long history of optimizations for Windows and Andorid operating systems.

Intel will introduce 64-bit support for tablets in early 2014, delivering even greater value to IT managers. Devices built on this version of the SoC will offer enterprise-class applications and security, and with Intel Identity Protection Technology (IPT) with PKI, will not require a VPN password when used with systems optimized for IPT and PKI.

Bay Trail Processors to Power Entry 2 in 1s, Notebooks, Desktops and All-in-Ones

The ‚”Bay Trail M‚” line will be available in four SKUs: Intel Pentium N3510 and Intel Celeron N2910, N2810 and N2805 processors. This series will power a number of innovative 2 in 1 devices in addition to notebooks enabled with touch capabilities, bringing them to new audiences at lower price points.

With the microarchitecture flexibility and graphics improvements across all of the ‚”Bay Trail‚” SKUs, the Pentium N3000 Processor and Celeron N2000 Processor series also boast three times faster performance in productivity applications and up to three times improvement in graphics compared to 3-year-old Intel-based value notebooks. Designs powered by these processors can be fanless, can measure less than 11 mm thick and weigh just 2.2 lbs. Intel expects the systems to start at $199 for a clamshell device, $250 for a notebook with touch and $349 for a 2 in 1 device.

The ‚”Bay Trail D‚” line will be available in three SKUs: Intel Pentium J2850, Intel Celeron J1850 and Intel Celeron J1750. These offerings are Intel’s smallest-ever packages for desktop processors, making them ideal for fanless and smaller form factor systems for entry level desktop computing. The processors are also ideal for vertical uses, including intelligent digital displays, with the power savings and up to three times faster performance than similar products from Intel just three years ago. Full systems based on these SKUs are expected to start at $199.

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Prepare for Wi-Fi 6

From traffic to healthcare, the applications of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard are set to transform how we connect.

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20 years ago, with the release of 802.11b, Wi-Fi began its conquest of the world networking scene in earnest. Wi-Fi can easily be called out as one of the most popular technologies of the last two decades. Just as mobile telephony and mobile internet, it has become a part of everyday life. And with the advent of IoT and the introduction of 5G, the time has come for the new standard – Wi-Fi 6.

Beyond being significantly faster than the previous generation, Wi-Fi 6 delivers up to four times greater capacity. Latency is vastly improved, allowing for near real-time use cases. Wi-Fi 6 is also easier on connected devices’ batteries.

So what impact will Wi-Fi 6 have on business in the coming years?

Digitisation, mobility and IoT are driving the need for connectivity. By 2022, more IP traffic will cross global networks than in all prior ‘internet years’ combined up to the end of 2016. In other words, more traffic will be created in 2022 than in the 32 years since the internet started. In 3 years, 28 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, many of which (robots, production lines, medical devices) will communicate over a wireless network. Against this background, it is easy to understand why we need a redesigned wireless standard that is more responsive to present and future challenges.

Wi-Fi 6: The business impact

“In the first phase, we expect the new wireless standard to gain a significant foothold in the B2B field, where it brings important innovations,” said Garsen Naidu, Country Manager, Cisco South Africa. “We will see it, together with other technologies, penetrate significantly into manufacturing, into the logistics industry. The technology is also more effective in high-density settings like large lecture halls, stadiums and conference rooms, so we are likely to see significant penetration in these settings too. And, with its extremely low latency, Wi-Fi 6 also promises to open up new opportunities in AR/VR, healthcare, and self-driving vehicles. ”

Ever since the launch of the Internet, every leap in network speed has had a major impact on technological innovation: 4G has brought along the age of smartphones, whilst 5G and Wi-Fi 6 will transform the business world. According to Cisco experts, these two technologies – 5G and Wi-Fi – will be widely adopted at the same time, complementing each other.

A short history of Wi-Fi

In 1999, half a dozen technology companies, including Aironet, which was later acquired by Cisco, formed the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance. The standard announced that year, 802.11b, which gained significant commercial traction, was the first to emerge under the ‘Wi-Fi’ brand. As such, 1999 marks the year in which Wi-Fi really began.

Solutions that carry the official Wi-Fi logo work consistently with the IEEE 802.11 data transfer standard. These solutions are certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which guarantees compatibility between various wireless devices. In addition, networking manufacturers have done a lot to improve compatibility. Launched as early as 2002, Cisco Compatible eXtensions is a free licensing program that has enabled other vendors’ Wi-Fi products to be securely deployed on Cisco wireless networks.

Subsequent developments in Wi-Fi technology included managing interference and increasing data stability. Cisco is supporting these with the Cisco Flexible Radio Assignment and Cisco CleanAir technologies. The latter is capable of identifying and graphically displaying radio interference, identifying the source of the problem, and directing users to other, less crowded, channels.

Challenges of the present and opportunities for the future

One of the most widespread business applications of wireless technology is office Wi-Fi. Using Wi-Fi, employees can move freely and access the network from anywhere where there is a hotspot. Wi-Fi-based analysis and location services are also becoming increasingly popular. And with the spread of IoT, Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous, and is today found everywhere from agricultural fields to production lines.

“We see promising business opportunities and a wide range of new applications. At the same time, with hundreds and thousands of new devices connecting to wireless networks, IT teams are facing increasing complexity. So we need to rethink IT architectures from the ground-up,” added Naidu.

Much of this need to rethink network architectures is driven by the enormous growth in wireless connectivity.

Wi-Fi has driven growth in general IT use, which in turn has led to the need to provide and run bigger and more complex networks with a greater variety of endpoint device types on them. This complexity ‘feedback loop’, driven in no small part by Wi-Fi, requires that new solutions are developed to deal with this complexity.

Cisco has pioneered in this area, using AI, machine learning, and machine reasoning, via products such as Cisco DNA Assurance to eliminate manual troubleshooting and reduce the time spent resolving service issues.

The latest Wi-Fi 6 developments introduced earlier this year make a consistent, efficient and seamless wireless connectivity experience a reality.

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Now for hardware-as-a-service

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Integrated ICT and Infrastructure provider Vox has entered into an exclusive partnership with Go Rentals to introduce a Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) offering, which is aimed at providing local small and medium businesses (SMEs) with quick, affordable, and scalable access to a wide variety of IT infrastructure – as well as the management thereof.

“Despite an increasingly competitive business environment where every rand counts, many business owners are still buying technology-based equipment outright rather than renting it,” says Barry Kemp, Head of Managed IT at Vox. “The problem with this is that the modern device arena has grown in variety and complexity, making it more difficult to manage, and to reduce the overheads of controlling these devices.”

According to Kemp, there is a global trend being observed in businesses moving away from owning and managing IT infrastructure. This started with the move away from servers and toward cloud-based subscription services, and now organisations are looking to do the same with the remaining on-premise hardware – employees’ desktop systems.

The availability of HaaS changes the way in which local businesses consume IT, by allowing them to direct valuable capital expenditure toward the more efficient and competitive operation of their organisation, rather than spending on hardware products. 

“The rental costs are up to 50% lower than if they buy these products through traditional asset financing methods. Furthermore, using HaaS gives businesses the ability to scale up and down depending on their infrastructure requirements. Customers on a 12 month contract can return up to 10% of the devices rented, while those customers on 24 and 36 month contracts can return up to 20% of the devices – at any time during the contract,” adds Kemp.

More than just a rental

HaaS gives business access to repurposed Tier 1 hardware from vendors such as Dell, HP and Lenovo, equipped with the required specifications (processor, memory, and storage), and come installed with the latest Microsoft Windows operating system, unless an older version is specifically requested by the customer.

Kemp says: “Where HaaS is different from simply renting IT hardware is that businesses get full asset lifecycle management, such as having all company software pre-installed, flexible refresh cycles and upgrades, support and warranty management and transparent and predictable per user monthly fees.”

The ability to upgrade during the contract period means that businesses can keep pace with the latest in technology without needing to invest on depreciating equipment, while ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency for employees. Returned devices are put through a decommissioning process that ensures anonymity, certified data protection, and environmental compliance. 

Businesses further stand to benefit from Vox Care, which incorporates asset management and logistical services for customers. This includes initial delivery and setup in major centres, asset tagging of all rented items, creation, and the repair and/or replacement of faulty machines within three business days – again in the main metropolitan areas. 

Vox Care also assists in the design, testing and deployment of custom images, whereby HaaS clients can have the additional programmes they need (security, productivity tools, business software, etc) easily pre-installed along with the Windows operating system, on all their machines.

Kemp says HaaS customers can get further peace of mind by outsourcing the day to day management of their desktop environment to Vox Managed Services, as well as leverage the company’s knowledge and expertise to manage and host workstation backups to ensure business continuity.

Says Kemp: “Hardware-as-a-Service allows businesses to reduce the total cost of ownership of their hardware and ensure they only pay for what they use. Making the switch to a service model helps them take advantage of the global move in this direction, and to turn their business into a highly functional, flexible, low cost, change your mind whenever you want workplace.”

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