Intel adds cloud support for Unite collaboration platform

Company reduces barriers to entry and expands integration of apps like Cisco's Webex and Skype

Intel will target small and medium-sized business (SMBs) with a significant cloud upgrade to its flagship Unite communications platform.

The four-year-old system has traditionally required customers to install physical hardware at a cost to integrate Intel’s collaboration and video conferencing tools. From Wednesday 12 June, however, the firm is hoping to eliminate these barriers and pave the way for smaller companies to take on the platform.

The firm is also seeking to infiltrate new areas such as schools and hospitals. One example may be a doctor taking advantage of pre-installed screens to communicate information to a patient instead of relying on handwritten notes or a tablet device.

The Unite platform itself is built on the Intel vPro PCs, CPUs, chipsets and Wi-Fi components, which allows for a secure hardware encryption engine, as well as remote management. It will also support a wider array of integrated apps, ranging from unified communications tools like Cisco Webex to AV systems such as Panacast.

Fundamentally, Intel wants to introduce a baseline level of technology across an organisation, in rooms of varying sizes, to ensure workflows are continuous and colleagues can collaborate anywhere. These areas include huddle spaces, medium collaboration space and the board room.

The largest change involves adding a cloud-powered rotating PIN service that provides managed security and login between the Unite hub PC and a device running the Unite app. This has been designed to ensure that only people meant to attend a meeting hosted by Unite are allowed access to it, and bypasses the need for an on-premise server to handle PIN orchestration.  

“This is going to obviously give more deployment choice for existing customers,” said Tom Loza, the company’s global director for sales of Unite. “It will provide potentially, for those customers that are on-prem to move to the cloud, a lower maintenance cost of the solution. And just give a broader, more simple managed solution to our small business customers.”

Launched as a wireless sharing platform in 2015, Unite has since added a host of additional capabilities over time, including full client device support and moderator controls. Intel said these changes are all the result of user feedback, as is the cloud launch.

The upgrade not only opens new markets to Intel, Loza noted, but enables further scaling through channel partners, and expands the capabilities of these firms by signing them up to dedicated training programmes.

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