Intel gears up for enterprise push with next-gen Ultrabooks

Lenovo Ultrabook

Intel remains confident that there is space for the Ultrabook platform in the enterprise, despite intense competition from hybrid devices and tablets.

Speaking with IT Pro, Rick Echevarria, vice president of Intel's Architecture Group accepted that Ultrabook uptake has been sluggish in the enterprise. However, he maintained the form factor is still a priority for Intel.

"When we first launched Ultrabooks, we focused on the consumer market and this impacted business uptake. There was a lot of confusion with CIOs as to what Ultrabooks were, so that delayed the ramp up a little bit. Although you still saw execs buying them," he said.

"Now that we have UltraBooks with vPro, we are seeing an accelerated uptake."

The firm is planning a big push in 2013, when it releases devices with the 4th Generation Core (Haswell) processor technology. Not only are Haswell chips expected to deliver a huge boost in performance and efficiency, but they will also enable enhanced collaboration, management and security features.

A core software feature - Intel's Small Business Advantage (SBA) suite, which is designed for firms with up to 99 employees - is set to be improved and will start to ship with Ultrabooks such as the Lenovo Twist.

"We will integrate our Smart Connect technology with SBA and ship it within Ultrabooks. This means devices will be able to wake up, refresh and update applications such as email and social media, then go back to sleep," he continued.

Business users will also be pleased to hear that Intel will introduce WiDi Pro technology next year. This wireless technology will pack encryption and could do away with the need for businesses to install projectors.

"Let's say for example, there is a meeting between colleagues in a room with no projector. We would still be able to share content, collaborate screen-to-screen, machine-to-machine, by creating our own network using WiDi Pro.

"Another example would be if colleagues were on a plane in different rows. Using WiDi Pro, they would still be able to collaborate."

With the launch of the touch-optimised Windows 8 operating system, Intel also expects touch panels to become a standard part on Ultrabooks, although the timing of this remains to be seen.

"We are really putting the pedal to the metal to drive touch. We believe it should be standard. Through the launch of Windows 8 and through our data, we are seeing that it is a highly desired capability," Echevarria added.

"We'll be bringing a lot more capabilities on the platform too. At IDF we talked a lot about perceptual computing - voice and gestures are some of the features which will become baseline."

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.