The evolving world of wireless mobility
Don MacDonald is worldwide director of marketing for Intel Corporation's Mobile Platforms Group. He has been with Intel since 1987. In March, Don sat down with Barry Jacobs, publisher of The Mobile Imperative. The following is an excerpt of their conversation.
The penetration of wireless LAN technology into the professional mobile PC installed base will grow from the 20 percent achieved in late 2001 to more than 90 percent by the end of 2007.1
Laptop usage and wireless laptop usage are growing so quickly because companies and employees value the productivity and ease-of-use benefits. Although laptops cost slightly more to buy and manage than a desktop PC, the reality is that the productivity benefits are tremendous. And when you add the benefits of wireless on top of the benefits of laptops, you see that it's actually cost-effective to equip employees with wireless-enabled laptop PCs.
At work in the air
Wireless laptops can enable some impressive gains in productivity. For example, if you travel from San Francisco to New York, you probably will spend more than an hour hanging around the airport. With a wirelessly enabled laptop and wireless access, you can take your office with you and be productive while waiting.
In conjunction with Connexion by Boeing, Intel recently demonstrated wireless LAN connectivity while flying at 30,000 feet. Even while you travel midair, you will be able to use your wirelessly enabled laptop to stay connected and make decisions faster. In-flight connectivity is happening today on a limited number of airplanes. British Airways and Lufthansa are demonstrating the service now, and more airlines plan to roll out in-flight wireless connectivity in 2004.
Not just for the execs
In the past, corporations typically gave laptops to sales and marketing workers and to executives. But this pattern is a thing of the past. In most companies, laptops are used by a broad range of business users. Analyst research shows that if companies have not deployed laptops to at least 35 percent of their employees, they are not using resources optimally.1
At Intel, we have deployed laptops to approximately 70 percent of our employees. Several of our enterprise customers have deployed to 85 percent of their employees, and they say they see productivity gains when they convert a desktop employee to a laptop user. Increased productivity has led IT departments to extend the laptops to "office warriors"—people who move from meeting room to office room within a campus but don't necessarily travel a great deal. Wireless LAN laptops provide them with access to their business-crucial data at all times.
As a result, Intel architects came up with some micro-architectural features that actually deliver more performance—while enabling longer battery life—than the Mobile Intel Pentium® 4 Processor-M that we were shipping. This new technology is designed to fit into all of today's mobile PCs, whether it be a tablet, convertible, sub-laptop, mini-laptop, or full-size laptop.
The wireless age dawns
We hope software will be designed to run on any Intel CPU, whether it's in a phone, a PDA, a laptop or a desktop. The software should determine the type of device and screen size you are using. It also should know what type of network is available. In the future, you will be able to customize the formatting of the content depending on the network and the device that you use.
Similarly, if your laptop is stolen and it contains your valuable personal data, you should be able to send a signal through the Internet that will find the laptop and erase, encrypt, or lock the hard disk.
Or perhaps you will be in a strange town and searching for restaurant. Location-based services can be used with other technologies to do some pretty interesting things above and beyond what we do with today's laptops.
Start your engines
Given the tremendous productivity and ease-of-use benefits corporate IT managers are finding with wireless-enabled laptop PCs. It is such an efficient product, and it takes advantage of the infrastructure other companies have constructed. In fact, Intel has invested $150 million in other companies to encourage them to bring wireless infrastructure into the marketplace worldwide.
Also, the vast majority of the installed base of laptops is pretty old and sluggish, and growing more and more expensive to support. There has never been a better time to buy laptops. They are price competitive; the benefits to your workforce offer tremendous productivity advantages; and more important, the infrastructure is ready and available today.
*Wireless connectivity and some features may require you to purchase additional software, services or external hardware. Availability of public wireless LAN access points limited. System performance measured by MobileMarkTM 2002. System performance, battery life, wireless performance and functionality will vary depending on your specific hardware and software configurations. Performance tests and ratings are measured using specific computer systems and/or components and reflect the approximate performance of Intel products as measured by those tests. Any difference in system hardware or software configuration, as well as system use patterns including wireless connectivity, may affect actual test results and ratings. For more information on performance tests and the performance of Intel products, visit www.intel.com/performance/resources/limits.htm
For more information about the evolving world of wireless mobility, visit www.intel.com/ebusiness/mobile.
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