The world is changing fast. To stay competitive, businesses must be ready to embrace IT transformation in their operations, tap into business data in new ways, and rethink IT system management. The future of IT brings with it unprecedented opportunities for businesses that are well prepared.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
Businesses are just starting to truly realize the value of AI and automation, whether it’s in their supply chain, product development process, or operations. Artificial intelligence can help businesses predict—and improve—outcomes by finding patterns in massive volumes of previously untapped data, both structured and unstructured. These insights help decision-makers identify new markets and products, optimize pricing, improve forecasting accuracy, and much more.
Many businesses think about AI happening in the data center, analyzing information and trends over the long term. While this practice is certainly valuable, a growing number of businesses are also using AI at the edge—in their field equipment, on manufacturing lines, in their infrastructure—to enable automation and other real-time processes. For example, machine vision can make it possible to identify defects in a production line, streamlining quality assurance. Autonomous virus-killing robots are being used to disinfect surfaces in hospitals, helping patients and healthcare workers avoid dangerous pathogens.
At Intel, we’re using AI to streamline our own supply chain, which includes 600 facilities in 63 countries. Here’s how AI and advanced analytics are helping us fulfill one million orders and ship one billion units each year:1
- Forecast modeling helped optimize our parts inventory, reducing our time to decision from six months to one week and increasing savings by USD 58 million.
- Big data and machine learning improved our decision-making earlier in the design process to reduce our bill of materials (BOM) costs. One pilot project generated USD 23 million in savings in one year.
- A machine learning algorithm improved our space planning by delivering 95 percent forecast accuracy.
Intel IT uses AI to optimize our business processes in many other ways, from embedding machine learning algorithms into our CPUs to boost performance, to reducing the overall test time for products at our fabs, to enabling autonomous sales.
Outside our own operations, Intel IT applies AI to challenges that have a global impact. For example, the Sheba Medical Center in Israel hosted a hackathon to explore how data analytics can be used to treat COVID-19. Intel’s team of volunteers developed a system to help predict which patients would experience life-threatening deterioration and who might need ventilation assistance. In June 2020, Intel’s team was named first-place winner. Sheba announced that Intel’s solution will be implemented both at the Sheba Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
Putting AI to work at scale can be complex. Alongside our global partner ecosystem, Intel offers a diverse portfolio of optimized AI hardware, software, and solutions that can help businesses deploy AI quickly and cost-effectively.
IoT and Edge Computing
The Internet of Things (IoT) has connected millions of new devices to each other and the cloud. Now, thanks to the latest high-performance, low-power processors, analytics and AI are coming out of the cloud and directly to these endpoints. With the addition of edge computing, IoT has become truly intelligent.
For example, smart cameras equipped with vision processing units (VPUs) can analyze video feeds in real time to “see” what’s happening at a busy event venue, on a factory floor, or at a traffic intersection. An edge server in a retail store can perform advanced analytics on customer data while keeping it on location, complying with data locality requirements. Edge computing is a fantastic complement to cloud computing for data that is best stored locally, accessed quickly, and analyzed with low latency.
Intel offers a wide portfolio of edge computing technologies designed to support high-performance, cost-effective solutions. Our ecosystem of partners makes deployments more efficient with proven and prevalidated solutions designed especially for IoT.
In 2020, Intel put the best of our IoT technologies to work with a smart building blueprint for our design and development center in Petach Tikva, Israel. Our goal was to create a state-of-the-art office space that was user-friendly, operationally efficient, and cost efficient. The resulting blueprint includes systems for smart parking, smart lockers, smart lighting, and digital touch signs throughout the building to help with wayfinding, dining options, and more. When choosing technologies, we selected several Intel® IoT Market Ready Solutions (Intel® IMRS) designed for smart buildings and visual communications. With this model, we realized a lower CapEx through a single integration platform, consolidated cloud licensing through a single supplier, and better economics with off-the-shelf solutions.
Edge computing is a fantastic complement to cloud computing for data that is best stored locally, accessed quickly, and analyzed with low latency.
In the early days of the cloud, deployments were clearly split into two categories: public and private. Today, businesses can have the best of both models with a hybrid, multi-cloud environment. This approach allows IT teams to more seamlessly migrate data and applications between multiple private and public cloud service providers. As a result, they can choose the best cloud resource depending on the location, cost, service-level agreement (SLA), and other requirements of the workload.
With Intel® architecture as a trusted technology foundation for their cloud infrastructure, businesses can handle the unpredictable turns of the digital age with easy migrations and operational efficiency. Intel’s data-centric portfolio builds on decades of optimizations across applications, OEM hardware, and cloud service provider offerings. That means businesses can have confidence in a smooth experience, no matter what combination of cloud services they adopt.
Applying Advanced Analytics to Vast Pools of Data
There’s a major transition happening in the world of advanced analytics. It used to be that analytics simply looked at historical data for a better understanding of what’s already happened. Today, some of the most exciting possibilities in interpreting data involve predictive analytics—in other words, solving problems before they happen. Advanced analytics is also helping businesses tap into data sources that were previously inaccessible, such as images, audio, video, and IoT sensor data.
Predictive analytics allows businesses to understand prospective outcomes and optimize those outcomes for change. For example, telematics data fed into predictive analytics software can notify a fleet manager when preventive maintenance is needed on a vehicle. Augmenting analytics with AI offers even more: retailers can get a better idea of where customers move throughout a store; manufacturers can identify malfunctioning or defective products; and healthcare systems can better evaluate which patient populations need follow-up care.
Today’s IT teams are facing a sophisticated generation of cybercriminals. Hackers are attacking more layers of the hardware-software stack, and with new connected devices being added to corporate networks, there are a growing number of potential entry points to target.
One of the most important information security and risk management strategies is to emphasize protection at every point in the network. Intel IT has taken their information security (InfoSec) practices to a new level with a Cyber Intelligence Platform (CIP). CIP ingests data from hundreds of sources and security tools. With access to real-time data, streams processing, machine-learning tools, consistent data models, and orchestration and automation capabilities, Intel IT can detect and respond to incidents within hours or minutes, instead of days or weeks. CIP infrastructure is based on Intel® Xeon® Platinum processors, Intel® 3D NAND solid state drives (SSDs), and Intel® Optane™ SSDs.
It’s also important to employ both hardware- and software-based security technologies. For example, for business PCs, the Intel vPro® platform provides enhanced protections against attacks below the operating system (OS) and advanced threat detection capabilities with Intel® Hardware Shield.
IT Delivery and Support for Business PCs
Business runs on PCs, and to keep productivity high, IT administrators must troubleshoot any issues as quickly as possible. However, a large portion of the workforce is now working remotely, out of reach of the help desk.
Remote management capabilities are a must-have in the future of the IT industry. To deliver the IT support users need, administrators should be able to remotely diagnose, configure, and update PCs, as well as install new software and patches. Designed for business PCs, the Intel vPro® platform includes Intel® Active Management Technology to let IT administrators remotely manage and repair PCs, even if they are powered off or out of band. Not only does this improve IT system management and help reduce IT support costs, but it also can minimize downtime for users.
IT Transformation with Intel
Preparing for the future of business means more than chasing the latest IT trends. It calls for strategic investments in your IT infrastructure, as well as organizational alignment on best practices. Learn more about how Intel can offer guidance and support for IT transformation that readies your business for what lies ahead.