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The death of the desktop has been greatly exaggerated, according to Intel’s Tom Rampone.

Rather, Intel partners should be excited about the market opportunities for small form factor desktop computers, Intel’s vice president of channel platforms told Channel Insider, and added that they should also look to VOIP (voice over IP) and high-definition video capability.

"Small form factor desktops are needed in markets where the need for mobility is questionable," he said. He cited corporate receptionists and administrative assistants at large enterprises as a horizontal market example, since employees in administrative capacities don’t often need the same kind of computing power as more specialized workers.

In the small and midsize business space, most companies are concerned about mobility as a security issue, he said, though they are also looking for a more robust computing capability than many notebooks can provide.

"SMBs are anxious when their data and all their intellectual property assets are wandering around on the streets" contained in a notebook PC, Rampone said. For that reason, many SMBs are still buying desktops for their employees.

For many, though, a mobile form factor just doesn’t allow them to perform crucial business functions. Solution providers who offer managed services that include remote monitoring and system management may simply need a more powerful processor, more memory and a larger display than can be achieved on a small notebook, he said.

Partners should also be looking to VOIP to capitalize on an incredible market need, Rampone said. The potential for ongoing revenue is enormous, he said, since most businesses, especially SMBs, are spending more money on telecommunications costs than on IT. 

"For consumers, VOIP is realizable, but for SMBs it’s very complex," he said. SMBs struggle to determine the best and most cost-efficient way to update their legacy telephone systems and integrate them with their IT networks.

Another trend for partners to watch is the Web-driven demand for creation and production of more HD content, Rampone said. While the technology has been targeted to the consumer market, there are applications in the business world as well.

"The ability to create HD, professionally created and produced presentations and video demonstrations for customers is going to be a huge differentiator for partners," Rampone said.


Related coverage from the Intel partner summit:

Intel, NaviSite Ink Managed Services Deal

For Intel, Desktops Aren’t Dead

Intel Channel Chief: Virtualization a Boon for Intel

Intel Partners Say Small Form Factor a Big Deal

Intel Jumps Into Managed Services Market