[Intel is a sponsor of Silicon Valley Watcher]
On Wednesday I went to Intel's launch of its latest Centrino chipset for notebooks. Everything, of course, is a lot faster, but what caught my eye was a new technology embedded in the chips which, although aimed squarely at business users, would be a god-send for consumers.
Take a look:
Intel® vPro™ processor technology. IT departments will be able to reliably manage both desktops and notebooks and deal with what plagues them most – security threats, cost of ownership, resource allocation, and asset management – and do so wirelessly.
One of the key innovations designed in Intel Centrino Pro – Intel® Active Management Technology – provides business-class notebook PCs with wireless PC management, protection and remote repair work thereby increasing productivity, IT savings and uptime.
For example, if a virus or other type of malware gets into the notebook, the Intel technology will shut it off from the network, and the IT department is notified, downloads software to get rid of the problem and repair any damaged files. It's all done in a minute or two.
This technique can be used for other things too, installing software across hundreds of clients etc, etc.
At first glance it sounds like many other remote management software applications/utilities that provide similar capabilities, what's new here?
It turns out there is a microcontroller (a separate chip) that creates a wireless back channel to a central location. This back-channel remains unaffected and is used to deliver new software and repairs--even if the notebook is disconnected from its main network and has been completely taken over by hordes of malware!
This Active Management Technology is inside every one of the new Centrino chipsets, but it is only used in business-class notebooks. It allows the notebook vendors to charge corporations a premium. However, it is there in the consumer notebooks too, it is just not turned on.
But it could be turned on with the right software and it could become a platform to deliver repair and maintenance services to millions of consumers! It's potentially a massive business for some future companies. Who will be the first to do this?
Best Buy and its fleet of Geek Squads running out to people's homes to fix their machines might soon become a thing of the past...