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Apr 19 2017

Intel Buries Developer Forum

After 20 eventful seasons, the world's biggest chip manufacturer has decided to not only cancel their Beijing show in spring, but also its San Francisco counterpart that had been scheduled for August this year. This is more than a temporary pause – the IDF is now a thing of the past.

Hosts, exhibitors and attendees have long debated the question whether it still makes sense to organize IT trade fairs and related events on a regular, at best annual basis. Following a boom that started in the mid-90s and lasted until the early noughties, shows like the Vegas-based CES and Hanover's CeBIT had to struggle with political instabilities, waning customer interest and the fact that the very technology they promoted was about to make them obsolete – after all, who needs to travel to the North German Plain or the U.S. desert when they can placidly watch all keynotes and presentations online? That's why leading ICT vendors soon opted to trade the international stage for the more productive and rewarding inhouse events some of them had begun to host in the days before the dotcom bust. Launched in 1997, the Intel Developer Forum or IDF was among the earliest and most successful of these meetings and soon extended its reach across the entire globe, with two or even three shows in different American, Asian and European locations each year.

So it was all the more surprising to learn that after 20 eventful years that had seen the introduction of the NetBurst and Core microarchitectures or the Pentium 4 and Core® processor families, Intel has not only canceled the IDF Beijing, but also the follow-up event in San Francisco that was due in late summer. The somewhat premature demise was first reported by Anandtech's Ian Cutress and Ryan Smith on Monday morning EST. As may be easily imagined, the duo reached out to Intel for an explanation – and here's what they had learned the same afternoon: According to an Intel spokesperson, the company is trying to transform itself from a "PC-centric" into a "data-centric" outfit, which basically means it now dabbles in more, and more diverse areas than ever before, ranging from classic processor technology through memory (3D XPoint/Optane) and storage to fashionable fields like IoT, AI, and driverless cars. These are just too many topics to be covered in a single show, or so Intel's execs think. "As a result, the decision has been made to find new ways to communicate with [...] media, developers and companies and the ecosystem with targeted events," Cutress and Smith explain. "These will be like the recent AI Day or Manufacturing Day, or be connected to partner events, or involve separate geocentric events." In other words, instead of organizing one or two big events per year, Intel will now try to arrange a number of theme-oriented and/or 'location-based' meetings and conferences that are supposed to strengthen the bonds between the company itself and what it considers to be important groups in the developer community. Needless to say, some of these will still deal with the latest developments in processor technology, albeit at a smaller scale. However, so far it remains unclear where or when this series of 'replacement events' will start or which R&D aspects they will center on. Until all of that is sorted out, developers with ties to Intel should turn to its Resource and Design Center or reach out to local representatives for help and advice.


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