Intel Canada’s David Allen said that before the release of the Centrino chip, less than 10 per cent of all notebooks were wireless. Today, more than 90 per cent of all notebooks have wireless capability.
Allen, the vice-president of distribution sales for Intel of Canada Ltd, based in Toronto, believes Intel’s latest chip, Viiv, can make the same impact with the digital home market.
Currently, the digital home market is at best emerging in Canada. In a national survey conducted by Decima Research, 68 per cent of Canadians were unable to define the concept of digital home networking.
In developing Viiv, which is pronounced “viv” (rhymes with the word five), Intel focused on making online services, software and accessing movies, music, photos and games easier with a remote control rather than keyboard. Viiv technology includes a dual-core processor, chipset, platform software and wired networking capabilities.
“Viiv technology delivers the connection to entertainment,” Allen said.
According to him, the same Centrino model was used in developing Viiv for connected devices such as personal video recorders, MP3 players, gaming devices, and services from Rogers such as movies on demand.
Allen believes the time is right for Intel to release this kind of chip. He said that 65 to 70 per cent of the North American economy is based on consumer spending. “Consumer electronics in North America is a US$126 billion business with PC content such as music, movies, news and it is all going to be networked together,” Allen said.
However, in Canada the market is still in its infancy, Allen said. According to his research, the Canadian population that can connect devices in a home is under 0.5 per cent.
Allen reiterated the success the Centrino mobile chip had in booming wireless notebook market saying Viiv could have a similar effect in the digital home market.
“It is stunning (Centrino’s impact on wireless notebooks) because it was a solution and you can do so much more with it and it created the whole hot spot phenomenon,” he said.
Allen also believes Viiv can help system builders and resellers who cater to small and medium-sized businesses extend its reach into the home. “SMB customers are consumer electronics customers as well and they will need help,” he said.
Best Buy’s Geek Squad is a good example of a retailer that can help customers with digital home projects, he said. But, he added that it will be the local reseller in small towns that will provide the bulk of the services over major brands such as Dell that sell direct.
Intel Canada is embarking on Viiv training with the channel and with distributors. Currently, there are three distributors ready to provide Viiv: D&H and Synnex US in America and one other in Canada. Allen was unable to name the distributor because all the paper work is still not completed.