Centrino Scores with Business

TORONTO — With an eye on corporations and mobile business users, Intel of Canada Ltd. is hoping to entice enterprise users to go wireless with its Centrino mobile technology.

The chipmaker aligned itself with several partners to kick-start its latest line of chips developed exclusively for

mobile computing.

The goal for all concerned is enabling business travellers to connect to high-speed Internet services via their portable device in public locations such as airports, train stations, and hotels.

“”For us, this is the icing on the cake,”” said Pierre Bourbonniere, manager, airport products, design and strategy for Air Canada, one of several companies that has embraced Intel’s wireless vision. “”By simply having this technology in our lounges and by promoting its existence . . . we think automatically by default it will . . . ensure that we are the leading edge all the time and we’re providing what our customers want.””

Air Canada partnered with Bell Canada to establish Bell’s AccessZones WLAN hotspots in six of its 25 Maple Leaf lounges at airports across Canada.

Bourbonniere said he anticipated the remaining 19 lounges will be outfitted within the next three months. The introduction of the AccessZones in its airport lounges comes at no cost to Air Canada.

Insofar as promoting the service to its customers, Bourbonniere said the airline has taken a careful, soft launch approach thus far.

However, he said he expected most users would enjoy being able to work in a non-traditional business setting.

“”Now they can sip Scotch, socialize,”” he said, adding wires are the natural enemy of mobile computing.

Calling it the “”most significant technology announcement Intel has made in the last decade””, Intel’s country manager Doug Cooper said Centrino is his company’s No. 1 priority for 2003. “”The benefits of wireless are clear to a customer when you talk to them, but often they haven’t had the actual experience of using it in a public setting,”” Cooper said.

Intel will try to capture the inexperienced but curious mobile computing business user by employing up to 28 mobile messengers, dressed in hot pink and touting notebooks, at Toronto’s Union Station over the next four months.

For George Atis, after joining the Toronto office of the law firm McMillan Binch in June 2001, he told his management team they needed to introduce WiFi technology to its staff. This would be something Atis, now a senior partner at McMillan Binch, was already accustomed to at his former home and office in California.

“”They said, ‘Then you should go back to back to California,'”” Atis said. “”They didn’t want to be on the bleeding edge.””

Herein lies the primary hurdle for mobile computing: convincing companies to embrace the technology.

Centrino, which includes the Pentium-M microprocessor, the Intel 855 chipset and a WiFi module, represents the processor company’s quest to dominate the emerging market.

Notebook manufactu

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