The author would like to thank Ismet Bachtiar of GameAxis for his contributions to this article.
Gaming just isn't about games anymore. For the World Cyber Games (WCG) tournament, the underlying theme has always been about building global harmony, friendship and fostering a healthy multi-cultural society on-line and off. So what has this got to do with Intel? The Singapore leg of WCG 2006 was officially launched just moments ago with a strong presence from the chip maker giant. Intel's John A. Antone, Vice President of the Sales and Marketing Group and general manager in the Asia-Pacific region presided the launch with a short keynote speech on how Intel technologies have helped shape many technological revolutions for nearly four decades. Just like gaming isn't all about the games, Intel isn't just about Pentium processors (in case you didn't know that yet). Antone's keynote touched on some key topics of Intel's work in the region such as technology enabling, education development and of course entertainment in gaming.
Digital technology has been the key factor in transforming the way we work and play. On what level had Intel played in helping accelerate technology growth throughout the world?
While speaking Intel's role in changing the world, Antone gave examples on how Intel technology and architecture has been embraced in countries like China, where researchers in Wolong Nature Reserve use Intel-based wireless architecture to extend research efficiency and improve communication. In Israel, Intel Centrino technology enables doctors to access patient records wirelessly at Schneider Children's Hospital, reducing administrative time and cost while patient's benefit from more responsive diagnosis and Intel technology is helping digital enabled community learning centers raise literacy levels in Mexico.
High-speed broadband is so common today and wireless is everywhere. Is there a need for WAN-type wireless networks like WiMAX?
Intel thinks it is very much important. In fact, with a 6 billion population, Intel's numbers show that only around 4% of people in the world have broadband access. Antone predicts that 100 million people around the world will discover digital for the first time in 2006 and 150 million more people will become part of the wireless world.
This is one of the reasons why Intel has played a leading role in enabling wireless access globally. Intel's Centrino mobile technology can be credited for raising WiFi acceptance and usage and Antone has mentioned that there is more than 70,000 verified public hotspots around the world and even in diverse places like the Mount Everest base camp, the catwalk at London Fashion Week and Cannes beach. WiMAX is but the next logical step. As part of Intel's Asian Broadband Campaign, Southeast Asia will be one of the first regions to see WiMAX deployment. In addition to what we have already reported in our recent IDF Spring 2006 coverage, Sri Lanka Telecom has also begun testing and deploying WiMAX throughout the island nation.
Intel's recent corporate reorganization, we saw the creation of the Digital Health Group with a focus on health care technologies. What about Intel's involvement in education?
During his keynote, Antone stressed that Intel has a very strong presence in education, with yearly investments of US$100 million in education initiatives around the globe. Not only is Intel products used to bring technology into the classroom, Intel also provides programs, tools, project resources and professional development to improve both teaching and learning. An interesting tidbit to know is that Intel holds America's prestigious Science Talent Search competition in which actor Natalie Portman was a semi-finalist before.
Other Intel education initiatives include the Intel Learn program, which is part of the global Intel Innovation in Education initiative. The Intel Learn program teaches technology literacy and collaboration skills among youth in a community-based setting. This program is currently available in eight countries including China, India, Israel, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey and Russia. Intel also has an outreach program to under-served communities as part of their Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. With the opening of their 100th clubhouse in May 2005, Intel has reached more than 50,000 youths worldwide.
Besides primary and secondary education, Intel is also transforming higher education by working with governments and universities. Intel has a Mobile Initiative for Learning in Education which is helping to accelerate rollout of wireless networks at more than 300 universities throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including 100 universities in China alone. This includes future high-speed WAN networks through WiMAX technology. Their Teach to the Future program has so far trained more than 3 million teachers in over 35 countries on how to integrate technology into their lessons and align education for the future.
This is the launch of the 2006 World Cyber Games in Singapore. How has Intel helped to develop technology that benefits gaming and push the boundaries of digital entertainment?
This shouldn't be something new to any of you who's into gaming or consider yourself a PC enthusiast. Intel has been evangelizing their dual-core technologies for a while and with the recently announced Core microarchitecture, Intel is set to deliver "a new era in ultra-realistic video games". Antone concluded his keynote speaking on how Intel technology-based gaming PCs will "increasingly blur the distinction between the game world and reality". Not only that, Intel's Viiv will usher in a new generation of living room entertainment enjoyment, freed from the current stigma of gaming on a PC stuck to a chair at a desk. "When you've got Intel Viiv technology, gaming and other home entertainment are at your finger tips from the comfort of your couch.", said Antone.
Intel will be one of the premier sponsors of this year's WCG competition in Singapore, which would span from March to October 2006 (preliminaries included) and in that time-frame, we have been told to look out for various joint gaming activities Intel will be conducting in-line with WCG.