MWC: Intel extends AI PC vision across enterprise with vPro news

Intel is not yielding the AI battlefield to Nvidia without a fight. As it looks to counter Nvidia's  ability to establish itself as an early and dominant generative AI pioneer, Intel at Mobile World Congress this week continued to claim the territory of AI PCs as its own.

At MWC, Intel announced its latest vPro enterprise processor platform, including the Intel Core Ultra processors unveiled last December and ARC GPUs to extend AI performance, productivity, manageability and security to “notebooks, desktops, and enterprise workstations,” according to David Feng, Intel vice president of Client Computing Group and general manager of Client Segments.

“We introduced the AI PC category and got overwhelmingly positive responses from the industry,” Feng said. He noted that Intel is working with Microsoft at the operating system level to support “the largest PC architecture update in 40 years… 2024 will be the year that enterprise IT will refresh their fleets and be AI-ready.”

James Howell, general manager of Windows at Microsoft, stated, “This is a pivotal time in enterprise technology, and we are extremely proud of the deep partnership between Microsoft and Intel. With the combination of Copilot and Intel Core Ultra silicon, we’re bringing improved efficiency, better graphics, and new AI experiences in productivity and creativity at scale with the AI PC.”

Feng added, “For commercial end users, Intel Core Ultra-powered AI PCs will deliver leadership performance, step function increases in power efficiency and new AI experiences.” 

The Core Ultra processors feature dedicated AI acceleration capability spread across the CPU, GPU, and the new neural processing unit (NPU), the company has indicated. As for the vPro benefits, Intel said users should expect up to 47% better office application productivity with new Core Ultra-powered PCs vs. a three-year-old PC. The company also said vPro supports Intel Threat Detection Technology, which leverages the new NPU to improve the efficiency of anomaly detection and reduce power. Meanwhile, the new Intel Silicon Security Engine authenticates system firmware to help safeguard against cyber threats below the operating system.

In terms of manageability, vPro features Intel Device Discovery, which allows cloud-based tools to receive the information they need to take appropriate actions on a given PC. Also, Intel Device Health with VMware and Eclypsium helps IT organizations gain visibility into fleet patching requirements and deliver end-to-end device management. Feng touted a Forrester study showing that these vPro capabilities will increase return on investment for enterprise IT teams, and also sharply reduce on-site visits for fixes and the need for ongoing maintenance.

The evolution of the AI PC is just one example of how AI is moving out of data centers and becoming more localized, Intel said. Also at MWC 2024, the company announced its new Edge Platform, which it described as a modular, open software platform enabling enterprises to develop, deploy, run, secure, and manage edge and AI applications at scale with “cloud-like simplicity.”

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Pallavi Mahajan, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Network and Edge Group Software, said the new platform addresses the fact that more AI capabilities are needed at the edge, but that hardware and software diversity, power constraints and other issues may make it hard to run AI there.

“Gartner predicts that by 2025, more than 50% of enterprise-managed data will be created and processed outside the data center cloud,” she said. “As AI drives more opportunities for automation, at least half of the edge computing deployments will actually go on to incorporate AI by the end of this decade.”