Intel brings NUC to New Zealand system builders

Chip maker sees 'a world of potential design applications' in its new, small form-factor

Intel late last year introduced its Next Unit of Computing product — essentially a box with a motherboard inside — designed to facilitate highly customised machine builds for everything from home PCs to digital signage.

The company has debuted four basic SKUs of its NUC product, built around the Core i3 processor inside a 4” x 4” x 2” box.

“Our channel hasn’t yet had the opporuntity to build their own all-in-one systems, and NUC is going to provide that opportunity,” says Raj Kumar, Intel national reseller channel manager for ANZ. “With the NUC, they can come up with a new media PC, and they can actually play into the digital signage area. They can extend it into whatever they want. NUC gives them opportunities to innovate and provide total solutions for their customers.”

The company is working with its distributors in New Zealand to get the word out to its 1000 or so reseller partners. The message is that Intel has a roadmap for the NUC programme, with Core i5 and Core i7 processors coming out later in 2013, and with modulations targeted at different customer segments.

“We are definitely going to position these as good-better-best,” Kumar says. “Resellers can position these in the business segment or the consumer segment.”

Kumar says Intel’s white box business — the vendor’s terminology for white-labelled PCs and server systems — has grown in New Zealand, but not “significantly”. But he expects the roadmap and customisation will provide more sales opportunities in the year to come.

“We see this product like the Intel SSD, which really helped the channel to sell up and sell more,” Kumar says. “It will provide a great deal of scope for the channel to sell.”

The basic unit ships for US$319, and includes Thunderbolt technology, HDMI and USB ports and options for other processors reported coming out in other markets, which will ship at a lower cost.

Intel is conducting marketing campaigns to get the message to resellers through its two New Zealand distributors, Ingram Micro and Synnex. The company is also employing its Intel Technology Provider programme to “educate and provide information and ability for the resellers to compete” with marketing materials and sales support.

Kumar, based in Australia, has been with Intel for 12 years and was formerly the ANZ distribution manager.

On the consumer side, Kumar says Intel believes NUC will stand up against other technologies as customers increasingly own multiple devices suited to different tasks.

“The average customer in Australia in the next couple of years is going to have 5.7 devices to their name,” Kumar says. “So I think there’s opportunity for all the prodcuts to co-exist, in Australia and New Zealand.”

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