Think of it as the moment ethnography came into the processing arena. When social engineering and hardcore engineering work side by side with the consumer experience in mind. With Project Athena, Intel is creating a new kind of specification for ultra-thin laptops that is based on how people actually use their devices rather than benchmark tests that don’t adequately reflect everyday use.
For Intel to get to this point, the chipmaker had to dramatically rethink how laptops are designed and engineered, starting with how the company determines specifications. That meant going back and looking at how everyday people use laptops in the first place.
At Intel’s Technology Open House ahead of IFA 2019 in Berlin, I had the chance to chat with social scientist Dr. Melissa Gregg who leads Project Athena. She mentioned how ethnographic research, combined with quantitative research methods, is helping inform Intel’s new specifications for modern laptops as part of Project Athena. She mentioned how Intel is targeting a demographic of people that exemplifies emerging trends in the workforce: the gig economy, freelancing, remote work and other modes of work where mobility and connectivity are key.
These mobile go-getters use their laptops for both work and pleasure or both, thus not necessarily fitting the 9-to-5 office worker mould. Project Athenas focus points are divided into six categories: performance and responsiveness, adaptive intelligence, worry free day of battery life, continuously fast and reliable connection, form factor and interaction and “ready to go before you are.”
Laptops verified through Project Athena will feature the “Engineered for Mobile Performance” identifier in signage and product marketing efforts from Intel and its partners.
Post IFA 2019, Intel will be joined by more than 800 members of the PC ecosystem on Sept. 5-6 in Taipei, Taiwan, and Sept. 9-10 in Shanghai, China, for its Ecosystem Symposium series to share insights on the program and discuss future innovation efforts.