MWC 2024: Intel Drives Network Modernization, Edge and AI Monetization Everywhere

During the MWC in Barcelona, Intel made a series of announcements covering at least two dimensions: one network and edge-related, and one business-like. The latter with the prominence of the so-called AI PC, which the company has been announcing since December last year, and which expects to sell more than one hundred million next year.

Intel aims to support AI (Artificial Intelligence / AI) services and take AI everywhere, adding to this crusade several major vendors, partners, ISPs, ISVs and other members of its ecosystem. “We have made significant progress in this commitment through the releases and enhancements of the fifth-generation Intel Xeon Core Ultra and AI PC, and a new family of software-defined vehicles enhanced with AI partners,” Sachin Katti summarized, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Networks and Edge group at Intel, during the pre-MWC conference for journalists and analysts.

“At MWC we’ll go further. We’ll show how Intel can help expand AI capabilities to the network, on the edge, and within businesses. Intel powers networks, clouds, PCs and businesses around the world. I am thrilled that you and the industry at large will learn more about the technologies that Intel will be presenting at MWC and see how more than 65 Intel ecosystem partners and customers are already benefiting from these innovations to help solve the challenges of Intel payloads work, as well as modernizing and monetizing their infrastructure, and taking AI everywhere,” he added.

Modernisation of networks and AI to the edge

Innovations in the networks and edge section include:

  • Two updates on Intel Xeon processors that will help network operators lower their carbon footprint and power consumption, as well as improve the total cost of ownership of their 5G cores. At the MWC, Intel showed (preview) next-generation Intel Xeon processors (code name Sierra Forest) with up to 288 e-cores (efficient cores). The promise is to achieve 2.7 times the performance per rack compared to the previous generation. To this was added the commercial availability of the software Intel Infrastructure Power Manager (IPM, announced a year ago) for 5G core, with the promise of achieving average consumption savings of 30%, while maintaining performance metrics. Service providers and vendors such as Dell Technologies, Ericsson, HPE and BT Group are working with Intel on these developments, which are installed on the opportunity that exists from the possibility of building 5G cores (part of a fifth generation cellular mobile network) not owners, based on servers and other standard equipment, more typical of the IT world.
  • Intel also announced its new edge platform (Edge Platform): an open and modular software platform that allows companies to develop, deploy, run, protect and manage edge and AI applications at scale, with a simplicity similar to that of the cloud. Together, these capabilities will accelerate implementation time at scale for businesses, contributing to improving total cost of ownership (TCO). This is an evolution of the solution first presented at the end of September 2023 at Intel Innovation under the key-name Project Strata.

Intel Edge Platform

“The advantage is the next frontier of digital transformation, further driven by AI. We are leveraging our strong customer base in the marketplace and consolidating our years of software initiatives to the next level to deliver a full edge native platform, which is necessary to enable infrastructure, efficient AI applications and implementations at scale. Our modular platform is exactly that: it drives optimal performance of the perimeter infrastructure and streamlines application management for businesses, giving them greater competitiveness and better total cost of ownership,” said Pallavi Mahajan, Intel Corporate Vice President and Chief Software Officer of the Networking and Edge group at Intel.

  • As part of its commitment to the virtualization of Radio Access Networks (vRAN) operators, the company introduced the Intel vRAN Developer Kit, which will allow developers and operators to build, train, optimize and deploy AI models for vRAN-related use cases. This includes software with AI capabilities and the fourth-generation Xeon processor that has built-in AI acceleration power management, plus enhanced telemetry capabilities. With all this, operators can use the kit to dynamically reconfigure their network on the fly, save costs, get more value from their infrastructure and support new revenue streams. As mentioned, all this should go to proprietary infrastructure, using general purpose servers.

Intel VRAN Developer Kit

Next year will be coming the next generation Xeon platform (another novelty in the MWC) codenamed Granite Rapids-D, which will offer significant improvements in vRANs performance and achieve greater energy efficiency, using built-in vRAN Boost acceleration and AI acceleration, along with other architectural and feature improvements. At the silicon level, Intel is testing Samsung and Ericsson. In addition, Intel is working with Dell Technologies, Lenovo, Red Hat, Wind River and other ecosystem partners to ensure that all of this will be ready by 2025.

A new enterprise PC

There were also developments on this front, with the Intel Core Ultra business portfolio and the vPRO Platform update. The first of these developments, which concerns upcoming notebooks, desktops and workstations, was catalogued by David Feng, vice president of the Computing Client Group and general manager of the Client segment, as the biggest architecture update in the last four decades. These processors are at the heart of the AI PCs, category that Intel is presenting since the end of last year, and then at the CES.

Anuncios Empresariales de Intel en MWC 2024

Feng says 2024 will be the best year to update the equipment park and be ready for AI, because there are not only the announcements of Intel but also the innovations that Microsoft has presented in the market, starting with its co-pilot and Teams. To this are added the ISVs that participate in the acceleration program the AI PC. Intel expects at least a hundred by the end of the year. “The new Intel vPRO platform with Intel Core Ultra continues to raise the level of productivity, security, manageability and stability, to ensure that IT organizations manage transitions with confidence. We offer new AI experiences with over 100 software vendors, Windows 11 and Copilot. 2024 is shaping up to be the best year to upgrade your fleet and prepare it for AI,” Feng said.

But if there is one component that will help ensure the transition is the vPRO platform. Its main features are:

  • Productivity: The Intel vPRO platform leverages all the benefits of the latest processors and platform technologies to improve the productivity of all users. You can expect significant gains of up to 47% more in office application productivity compared to a three-year PC.
  • Security: Enhanced Intel threat detection technology is designed to leverage the new NPU to improve anomaly detection efficiency and reduce power consumption. The new Intel Silicon Security Engine authenticates system firmware to help protect against cyber threats under the operating system (OS).
  • Manageability: Intel Device Discovery is a new way for cloud-based tools to receive the information they need to take the right actions on a given PC. Intel’s new Device Health with VMware and Eclypsium helps IT organizations gain visibility into fleet patch requirements and deliver end-to-end device management. Intel continues to invest in hardware-based remote management for both on-premises solutions leveraging endpoint management technology and cloud-native solutions such as VMware Workspace ONE.
  • Stability: Intel’s stable IT program aims to help IT organizations qualify once and deploy with confidence. For frictionless operating system transitions, Intel vPRO validates and ensures compatibility with Windows 10 and Windows 11. Intel’s developer program helped deliver 99.7% application compatibility on Windows 11.

NUeva vPRO Platform

An additional benefit of the Intel vPRO platform is sustainability throughout the PC product lifecycle. Currently, 94% of Intel vPRO devices are EPEAT Silver or higher, and a single use of Intel vPRO’s remote repair capabilities saves carbon emissions equivalent to two years of PC use, compared to sending a technician on your mobile.