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Bringing corporate management technology into the home

by Steve Kerrison on 29 September 2006, 15:15

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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Intel's Active Management Technology could be making its way into the home, it was revealed at IDF on Thursday.

Brendan Traw of the Digital Home Group gave a technology insight presentation, during part of which he covered how the management technology found in vPro could be a key component in future Viiv platforms.

One of the biggest problems for service providers, PC retailers and e-tailers and in fact anyone selling product to consumers, is support. There are now so many variables that it's hard to troubleshoot issues without the consumer returning the product, or the seller sending somebody out to fix it.

Traw explained how the manageability engine in IAMT could be used to solve this problem, particularly as the amount of technology within the home increases.

The mysterious 'Don' then came onto the stage to give a demo of how management technology could be applied to the Viiv platform. The first example was in creating policies that protect a computer in much the same was as a corporate PC would be protected from viruses and security breaches.

Don emulated the cunning of his son by attempting to disable the NetNanny (Internet filter) service on the machine. Management technology picked up on this and severed the system's Internet connection until NetNanny was up and running again. The same principal would apply if a hacker or virus attempted to disable security software.

In the second and more exciting demo, the home PC was intentionally blue screened (that must be a first...). A second computer, say one at a service provider's support center, was shown to be able to connect to the PC, even in this crashed state. The home machine's disk was mounted on the 'remote' support PC and a diagnostic OS booted, with terminal access provided to the support PC so that text-mode display of the home PC was available to the 'support staff'. The diagnostic OS identified the problem (corrupt boot sector in this case), fixed it and rebooted the PC back into Windows.

The ability to repair a computer remotely, even when it can't boot, is without a doubt a potentially very cost effective support approach for a great deal of companies. Obviously there are security concerns, but it was said that the connection must be initiated by the faulty machine, so support staff won't be able to snoop on PCs at will.

Once again we're seeing technology from one Intel platform making its way into others. Perhaps we won't be ringing India for support in a couple of years... we'll be having them remotely repair our PCs for us.

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