Tech Innovation

Intel VPro and the no wires workplace of the (very near) future


It might be tempting to think that the future of the workplace will be all telepresence robots and holographic computing. It won’t be. At least not any time soon. Instead, companies like Intel are trying to solve smaller but more immediate problems, hoping to foster more collaboration, boost productivity and make technology easier to use.

The Intel VPro platform is almost 10 years old and in that time it’s brought a number of key innovations to business computing. These have included: Active Management Technology, Secure Key encryption, Virtualization and password-strengthening Identity Protection. Now it’s time for another upgrade.

Using Intel’s new fifth generation, 14nm Core VPro and Core M VPro processors, Intel is now working towards its vision of a ‘no wires workplace’. By adding Intel Pro Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, Intel Wireless Docking (using WiGig) and support for its new Solid-State Drive Pro 2500 Series drives, the VPro platform offers a better way to work.

We’ve already taken a look at WiGig wireless docking, which enables laptops to wirelessly connect with compatible peripherals using short range Wireless Gigabit networking. It’s an ideal, time-saving solution for mobile workers who want to plug into a desktop display or use a mouse/keyboard without fiddling around with wires and docking stations.

HP Elite X2 with docking station
An HP Elite X2 2-in-1 laptop with a WiGig-compatible HP Advanced Wireless Docking Station.

Intel’s Pro Wireless Display technology, aka Pro WiDi, aims to cut more cords. In this case, a VPro-powered laptop can quickly, securely and wirelessly share its screen with a compatible wall-mounted HDTV or projector. It means no more hunting around for a spare VGA cable or interrupting meetings when you ‘pass the dongle’. Usefully, existing display devices can become Pro WiDi compatible with a small adapter. In the future, the technology will come built-in as standard.

Speaking at Intel’s ‘A Better Way to Work’ event in London, Tom Garrison, Vice President and General Manager, Business Client Platform Division, introduced a number of new machines based on the fifth generation VPro platform. These included the Dell Latitude 13 7000, HP EliteBook (“the world’s thinnest and lightest business class notebook”) and the 2-in-1 HP Elite X2, plus the Lenovo Helix and the drop-proof, water resistant Panasonic ToughPad.

“Through our tools and our innovations,” said Garrison, “we are improving employee interaction; enabling workers to work they need to, whether that’s making them mobile within the office environment or whether that’s out with customers.”

These might seem like small improvements. But if a few minutes can be saved, per person, per day, it can add up to a significant time and cost saving over the course of a year. Forget the paperless office. The near future of the workplace is a collaborative space with fewer wires and fewer technical frustrations, where connectivity is satisfyingly, speedily automatic.


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