The Intel Pandemic Response: How A Processor Company Struggled To Make A Difference

Solutions providers have an advantage when it comes to trying to do something to offset a natural disaster.  They have complete offerings which they can donate, where they make sense, to help make a leveraged difference.  But parts companies want to help as well, and giving the effort a bunch of processors wasn’t going to make much of a difference.  So, they stood back, looked at the difficulties forensically, and crafted a path forward that could both use Intel’s resources and its people to help the world find a path forward.  

By looking at the problem against their resources analytically, they crafted a path to a leveraged difference that is insightful and may help other companies find their way forward to making a meaningful difference.  Intel, as it turns out, isn’t crippled by their nature, but empowered by it, and they are making an impressive impact as a result.  

Let’s chat about how Intel is making a difference this week.  

The Power Of A Powerful Parts Vendor

What we often forget when talking about companies like Intel and Microsoft is their power doesn’t come from themselves, but from their partners.  While a solutions vendor does have the ability to deliver complete offerings, they are still limited by their breadth and capabilities.  A company like Intel, if they choose to use their leverage, isn’t so constrained because they have a host of partners that extend their reach to solutions that encompass the total capabilities of Intel and its partners.  

For instance, they realized they could respond to the immediate crisis by working with SonoScape, Medical Informatics, Siemens Healthineers, LifeMech, alfabeta, PowerLeader, and GIGAIBC.  With their help and assistance, Intel was able to improve diagnostic testing materially, the use of AI in imaging (for faster diagnosis), the availability of critical equipment like ventilators, and dialysis (the virus is particularly hard on those already compromised), and improve multi-modality screening.  This part of their effort was mostly focused on diagnosis and care, but they went well beyond that.

Partnering with Banner Health, Orchin, Liedos, Akara, Providence, Purdue University, and G-Core Labs, they were able to help prepare hospitals for the latest spread. This extended effort allowed hospitals to more effectively deploy care at a distance (telehealth) which was both better for containing spread within hospitals and protecting the practitioners,  improving contact tracing (critical for mitigating virus spread), analyzing disease mutations and trajectory (developing a defense), and applying robotics (robots don’t get sick) for disinfection, and logistics (moving stuff around). 

Intel also worked with, Sensormatic, Merdian, the British Institute of Health, cStor, Insilico Medicine, and UMass-Amherst on accelerating prevention.  This effort included speeding up the development of vaccines, automation to assist with population health (we are dealing with millions of people), improving and expanding clinical trials, and preventative testing.  

But they went beyond healthcare into education, which was particularly hard hit during the pandemic.  Parents were freaking out having to do their jobs while trying to play teacher, and teachers were trying to teach while trying to play IT support.  Intel partnered with firms like CDW, Lego, FirstBook, CBS/Viacom, HIDS, Microsoft, and T-Mobile to address some of the critical issues.  These issues included having 325K+ devices donated to students across 24 different countries, reimagining content to fit remote learning conditions better, and new Cloud services to allow teachers to go back to teaching and to provide more reliable appliance-like solutions requiring minimal support.  

Wrapping Up:  A Powerful Tool For Progress

This effort goes well beyond what any one company could have accomplished and showcased the power that a significant component company can have when addressing a world crisis.  But they are also looking into long term changes that need to be made in healthcare, education, business, and society to not only deal with this crisis but the next one.   

They recognized that the world has changed and now remote care, rather than an exception, is the new standard.  Intel has identified that one of the big remaining problems is the inability to share data timely to deal with massive issues like a Pandemic and that how we balance security and privacy need to change to keep people safe.  Intel and its partners now realize that the systematic issues concerning inequality in healthcare and education need to be addressed and that the fixes go beyond devices and must include innovative ways to engage and keep remote students and employees connected. 

In the end, Intel has used what seemed to be a disadvantage and turned it into a massive advantage, and, as a result, they are truly making a huge difference.  Others could learn from their hard word and example.