Intel strengthens partner ecosystem with new partner Accelerator initiatives and Partner Activation Zones

The two new Accelerators cover the edge and networking, joining an existing one around AI, while the Activation Zones, which are different from, but highly complementary to the Accelerators, are around Networking, Intelligent Edge, and Manufacturing.

Trevor Vickers, VP/GM of Global Partners and Support.

Intel has made a major initiative to strengthen the Intel Partner Alliance, adding two new components designed to enable and empower members of the Intel Partner Alliance [IPA]. They have announced that they have launched two new partner Accelerator initiatives, the Edge Accelerator and the Networking Accelerator. These join the AI Accelerator , which was announced in 2022 and enhanced in 2023. Intel also announced the first of what will be multiple Partner Activation Zones, which are curated, task-focused workspaces with a digital-first approach centered around a market opportunities.   The first set of Partner Activation Zones focus on the Networking, Intelligent Edge, and Manufacturing market opportunities. The Intel Partner Alliance will continue to add to the portfolio of Activation Zones throughout 2024.

“We are expanding our Intel Partner Alliance Accelerators and introducing new Activation Zones, which are designed to help partners bring new solutions in designated areas to market quickly,” said Trevor Vickers, VP/GM of Global Partners and Support. “The Activation Zones are different from the Accelerators, but they are highly complementary.”

Vickers has been at Intel more than two decades in many different roles, and replaced John Kalvin in this one when Kalvin was promoted to a new role at the beginning of the year.

“We have thousands of partners in our IPA program,” Vickers said. “The Accelerators are like a layer beyond that. We are focused as much on quality as quantity. We want a piece of software from an ISV partner. It’s new so it’s hard to put a number on the value, but we do consider it to be more of a premier benefit.”

While much of the industry is focused on AI in its current releases, Intel’s AI Accelerator was announced in Fall 2022 and was the first of these Intel tools to market. The two new ones being announced now are for the Edge and for Networking.

“The Edge Accelerator is for qualified edge and IoT solutions,” Vickers indicated.  “We want partners to work together on a solution. It doesn’t work like ‘it costs X amount and you get into the Accelerator.’ We want to be able to do matchmaking, where we bring together say an ISV and a GSI, to produce a catalogue of new solutions.”

To support this, the Edge Accelerator will provide qualified IoT and edge solution providers with both financial and non-financial benefits.

“The financial benefits include points that can be deemed for benefit, such as MDF funds for Go-to-Market,” Vickers said. “The other benefits include access to engineering development kits, and the amalgamation of financial benefits and technical resources.”

The Networking Accelerator is based on similar premises, but covers a different area. Partners get access to Intel technologies and development tools around innovative networking solutions in 5G wireless core, vRAN, and security. Intel is also offering expanded benefits such as high-touch technical support, customizable training, and access to MDF for qualified partners.

“These cover the things that are germane to the networking space,” Vickers said.

Finally, the new Partner Activation Zones, which are delivered through the IPA portal, are curated, task-focused workspaces that enable a digital-first approach, with a one-click approach for partners to access critical information, resources, and benefits aligned to support their business needs. The first set of Partner Activation Zones focus on the Networking, Intelligent Edge, and Manufacturing market opportunities.  Intel says it will add new Activation Zones throughout 2024.

“The Activation Zones help partners build and sell solutions that they need to get to market, and are organized around vertically-specific use cases,” Vickers said. “They are curated spaces that think digital first – and are almost like a digital white board.”

Vickers emphasized that these new partner tools are different from collaborative initiatives that Intel has run on the past.

“With manufacturing, you would work together on designing a solution,” he said, “We want to be more focused and more purpose built. We have our sellers working with their partners to best work with MDF. It can come out of a proposition,  but it’s usually a collaboration.”

Vickers also noted that the Accelerators and Activation Zones are particularly well suited to the Canadian market.

“We love doing business in Canada,” he said. “It’s a unique market, with a lot of  SMB, which makes it agile to experiment.”