Intel opts for 'vertical focus' to strengthen tablet footprint

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 12, 2014 06:41 hrs

In a bid to expand its base in the computer tablet market globally, chip maker Intel is exploring vertical-specific opportunities in India where the company will offer Intel-based tablets customised for industry sectors.

The firm will offer these tablets in partnership with the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), initially for sectors such as banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), education, hospitality and pharmaceuticals.

The initiative is part of Intel's efforts to catch up in the tablet segment, where it entered much later than peers. The company is estimated to have shipped some 10 million units of tablet microprocessors globally in 2013, and it expects to grow this number four times this year.

Under this focused vertical approach', Intel launched the Pentium Processor A1018, a tailor-made solution for laptops targeted at tender-based government deals in the country, last year. This was the first time Intel developed a product customised to the needs of a particular market segment.

For the tablets segment, Intel recently tied up with the Goa government to sell customised microprocessors for tablets, which would run particular syllabus for students.

"We have a global mandate to grow our tablet base four times this year, and in south Asia, I think we have a very good potential to do that," said Anand Ramamoorthy, director (consumption sales) at Intel South Asia. "We find tablets showing up in a lot of focused vertical applications; we just won an order from a tutorial services company. We are also focused on the BFSI segment, where this can be of great benefit for field workers to consolidate data. We have a whole team focused on targeting this vertical-specific opportunity," he added.

For the hospitality sector, Intel is keen on replicating a project it executed for an American restaurant chain called Applebee's.

In December 2013, Intel announced it would be providing 100,000 E la Carte Presto tablets for over 1,800 Applebee's restaurants across the US by the end of 2014. These rugged tablets are powered by Intel Atom processor and feature all-day battery, an illuminated credit card reader, and are designed to withstand the spills and bumps of a restaurant environment.

"Hospitality is a very diversified segment, and we can't go after each restaurant or each hotel on our own. So we will have specific channel partners to work with us in this segment," said Ramamoorhty. "Hospitality has been one of the early adopters of tablets, and the good brands in this sector want to use branded products like ours."

According to the company, several government departments are looking to leverage from the tablet for specific needs, which also throws additional opportunities for the company. "A government department is looking at tablets as scanning device, and Intel would also look to participate in such tenders," said Ramamoorhty.

"We are seeing at least 10 such large potential clients interested in exploring specialised tablets; these are clients with around 100,000 users," he added. "Clearly, there are ministries, departments and investment officers who are wondering how to play with the tablet. We are seeing a very unique vertical-specific, use-specific demand and we are going to react to all of that."

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