Compute continuum was the theme that Praveen Vishakantaiah, President - Intel India, Bangalore (http://bit.ly/F4TPraveenV) spoke at length during the recent VLSI conference in IIT-Madras. “Intel’s vision is to connect and enrich the life of every person on earth,” he declared, during the brief interaction with Business Line, post his presentation. And our conversation continued over the email.

Excerpts from the interview, with lots of ‘Intel’ inside!

What is compute continuum?

Computing is moving into a wide range of “smart” devices, driven by the Internet and the need and desire to be “always connected.” New device categories are emerging at a rapid pace to bring computing experiences into every aspect of our lives.

Consumers ultimately want to have consistency and interoperability across all of their devices, from phone to PC to tablet to TV to gadget, making computing a seamless experience regardless of where you are, what you are doing, or what your needs at the time may be.

Intel refers to this end-state as the ‘compute continuum’ and we are building out capabilities across our portfolio of products to deliver on this vision over the coming years. These trends create a wonderful opportunity for our company, as each new category for computing is an area of growth for Intel.

Why is it relevant to the IT industry?

While business productivity and cost reduction remain the number 1 priority for CIOs, business agility and speed-to-market remain top of the agenda, too. IT (information technology), perceived to be a cost centre, is expected to support multiple devices within the enterprise.

Knowing that diverse client compute devices are creeping into the enterprise, manageability will be a key attribute allowing IT to efficiently support different device types. Given that scenario, Intel architecture is well positioned to deliver the best performance and flexibility to provide optimised solutions for each key market segment – low-power computing (Atom), core computing (Core), and performance computing (Xeon) – and that will provide a seamless and integrated solution for any IT organisation.

What could be your steps going forward in this direction?

Intel’s compute continuum vision will ensure that computing devices ranging from embedded systems to handhelds to traditional PC clients to servers all work together in a seamless fashion. To achieve this, Intel works through its different channels, i.e. distribution channels, developer program and support, choice of operating environment and Intel architecture for every segment. Our endeavour is to create value by consistent user experiences across the “compute continuum” and we do this by various actions.

Our open source MeeGo operating environment provides content and service providers an opportunity to develop software not only for next-generation smart phones, but also for automotive devices, to netbooks, CE, and Internet-connected consumer electronics. Atom processors running MeeGo as the operating system will deliver the greatest benefit for consumers – a power-efficient, high-performance hardware platform, and optimised software platform that provides a common interface across multiple device types. This means customers can keep their favourite apps whenever they upgrade or even change devices and can communicate seamlessly from one MeeGo-based device to another.

How do you see the future?

We have a convergence of more people with devices, and not only more content but more complex content. For example, we’ll see in-car entertainment, home appliances, and TVs all connecting to the Internet.

More people, using more devices, will result in more than 10 billion connected devices by 2015−which is more than 2.5 times today’s rate. And, complex content such as 3D and video content continues to explode, increasing demands on all systems, from devices, to clients, to servers and the cloud.

Our strategy has been to ensure that consumers and developers have the best experience on devices based on Intel architecture. We provide the best in class silicon to run the operating system choices that our partners make. This is the “port of choice” approach that Intel will drive in the market place.

This robust compute continuum offering based on the best silicon technology, software solutions and wireless connectivity will allow the industry to drive high level of innovation across a wide range of device form factors. The technology and solutions we are building will enable computing everywhere; provide access to the Internet we never imagined was possible.

What are the challenges in achieving the continuum?

Understanding end users and how they use a device, what they do with it, the value that they receive in having it is key, to be successful and to capture the new areas of growth.

The vision of compute continuum is a consistent, seamless user experience across computing devices and an approach to make these devices interoperable while providing a great user experience. Intel wants to develop a compute continuum where an individual’s applications and data will move with that person as he or she engages in different activities through his or her day in a secure manner.

For us, the three pillars of computing include energy-efficient performance, security, and connectivity. To make this ‘compute continuum’ a reality, Intel architecture becomes the foundation, providing optimal performance and power for each segment from the data centre to PCs to handhelds and TVs.

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