Kathy Gibson reports – End users and partners need to prepare for what’s coming in the technology world – and artificial intelligence (AI) is going to being driving a lot of the changes.

Intel South Africa’s Kobus de Beer, speaking at a Pinnacle SME Windows 11 event, explains that users want to save time, uncover insights and deliver exceptional work. But 64% of them struggle to find enough time to do their job.

Many companies and users find that hybrid working suits them, but they need tools that deploy faster, minimise touch and quickly reduce incidents.

“Seventy percent of business leaders say device quality needs to improve in order to support hybrid work more successfully,” De Beer says.

Security remains the top priority for all businesses, and remains the primary trigger for a device refresh cycle – and with the average security breach costing upwards of $8-million it’s becoming more imperative than ever.

AI has taken the world by storm: 50% of edge deployments will involve AI by 2026, and 70% of employees say they would use AI to lighten their workload.

Today, the majority of AI compute happens in the data centre, because many edge devices are still unable to handle it. “Yes, some happens on the device, but it consumes a lot of power,” De Beer points out.

In December 2023, Intel launched its Intel 14th Gen CPUs, the Core  Ultra devices, which will be available in scale in about six months’ time.

These chips enable OEMs to build AI PCs.

Some of the Core Ultra features include:

  • Next generation power management, with 40% lower power for AI enhanced collaboration.
  • New built-in Intel Arc Graphics, giving up to 82% better graphics performance.
  • A new, integrated AI engine providing 2,5-times Int8 AI power efficiency.
  • New security and manageability features for vPro delivered through the Intel Silicon Security Engine and Intel Device Discovery.

There is still widespread concern the AI will take people’s jobs, but De Beer says Intel believes AI is not a substitute for human intelligence; but rather a tool to amplify human creativity and ingenuity.

“An AI PC unlocks new usages and experiences,” he points out.

For instance, AI assistants know the user’s daily context; when videoconferencing, AI can focus and track their movement; it can create images and articles using text input or previous activities; it can offer automatic control of a smart-enabled home; and it can give shopping recommendation based on likes and searches.

Intel Core Ultra Processors  include a CPU (central processing unit) that delivers fast response that is ideal for lightweight single inference low latency AI tasks.

An onboard GPU (graphics processing unit) offers performance parallelism and throughput ideal for AI infused in media/3D/render pipelines.

And the NPU (neural processing unit) is a dedicated low-power AI engine that is ideal for sustained AI and AI offloads.

“Together they offer the right balance of power and performance for AI,” De Beer says.

AI is particularly useful with Intel’s vPro processors, which offers enhanced security and manageability on the chip. “The Intel vPro with Intel Core Ultra processors is a versatile service-ready platform with built-in security.

“Intel vPro Enterprise helps customers to easily deploy and manage their fleet, minimise security threats and increase employee manageability,” De Beer points out.

Intel partners to deliver powerful protection by default, he adds. The company has 15 000 software developers, ensuring that Intel is compatible with ISVs and enhances the features they offer.

“This includes enhancing the Microsoft security features, and more,” says De Beer. “At the end of the day, when it comes to vPro, we are not just protecting the OS, but also below the OS at the bare metal level.”