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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.
Anurag Agrawal

AI PCs Poised for Takeoff in SMB and Midmarket Segments, But Snapdragon Faces Hurdles

A new type of computer is gaining traction: the Artificial Intelligence-powered PC, or AI PC for short.  At Microsoft Build 2024, Microsoft and its leading PC partners, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, unveiled a new class of laptops, Copilot+ PCs, explicitly built for artificial intelligence (AI).  These laptops are powered by powerful Snapdragon® X Plus processors, exceeding 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS), and deliver long-lasting battery life and access to cutting-edge AI models. 

The personal computer market is undergoing a significant shift, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and upper midmarket companies are paying close attention.  A recent study by Techaisle, covering 1410 SMBs and Midmarket firms in the US, suggests a potential surge in demand for these innovative machines within these business sectors. 

High Awareness Paves the Way for Adoption

The study reveals a high level of awareness and purchase intention among SMBs and midmarket firms, painting a promising picture of the market potential of AI PCs. A significant 77% of SMBs and an impressive 86% of upper midmarket firms are already familiar with AI PCs, demonstrating a high level of awareness and understanding of the potential benefits of AI technology for their productivity and operations. This awareness is not just passive, as the study reveals that a substantial 32% of SMBs and a much higher 64% of midmarket firms are actively planning to purchase AI PCs, indicating a strong market potential and the confidence these businesses have in the technology. This robust purchase intention signals a significant market shift and underscores the potential for widespread adoption in the near future. Moreover, 40% of SMBs are considering evaluating AI PCs before making a purchase decision, hinting at the possibility of even broader adoption in the coming years.

AI PCs are projected to dent the PC market within 3-5 years substantially. SMBs, known for their agility in responding to market trends, will likely mirror this trend. With 54% of SMBs planning to invest in new PCs in the next 12 months, AI PCs could become a decisive factor in purchasing decisions.

The study also uncovers some intriguing insights into SMB priorities. While 14% of SMBs view AI PCs as a crucial upgrade, and another 12% are considering a strategic shift towards them, a substantial portion (24%) see no compelling reason to adopt this new technology. However, 58% of SMBs report that their employees are actively requesting AI PCs. This highlights a potential disparity between management and employees regarding the perceived benefits of AI technology, suggesting the need for better communication and alignment.

The study identifies potential early adopters of AI PCs within the employee base. These are the content creators, tech-savvy departments, and executives in corner offices. Creative and design professionals top the list (45%), followed by IT development (27%) and sales and marketing teams (26%). These departments will likely benefit most from AI PCs' enhanced processing power and AI-powered features.

Copilot Gains Traction, But Snapdragon Faces Recognition Hurdle

The Techaisle study delves deeper, exploring the potential for Copilot, a new software solution designed to unlock the true power of AI PCs. Awareness is high, with over half (54%) of SMBs and a staggering majority (89%) of upper midmarket firms recognizing the name.  Despite its recent launch, nearly half of these businesses already know about Copilot+ PCs.

However, adoption intent dips regarding Copilot+ PCs powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. This hesitation stems from a few key factors. Limited brand awareness compared to the established giant Intel is a significant hurdle. Concerns about compatibility with existing applications and potential issues with peripherals further dampen enthusiasm. Many SMBs are adopting a wait-and-see approach, holding out for the announcement of Intel-based Copilot+ PCs, hoping these systems will offer similar features and impressive battery life.

Despite the growing hype around AI PCs, the study reveals some interesting realities regarding PC selection criteria for SMBs. While GPU/NPU might be a consideration, it does not reign supreme. For SMBs, the top five priorities when choosing a PC remain long battery life, a processor with built-in security features, ample storage capacity, a high-resolution display, and biometric login options.

Anurag Agrawal

Dell AI PCs: Powering the Future of Productivity and Innovation

On March 12th, Dell unveiled its updated commercial lineup featuring AI-powered PCs. The lineup includes the Latitude 5000 (5340, 5450, 5550), 7000 (7350, 7450, 7650), and 9000 (9450) series, along with the introduction of the new Latitude 7350 Detachable, set to be available in Q2. Inspired by Concept Luna, the Latitude 7350 Detachable is likely the most serviceable commercial detachable. Dell is also enhancing its headset lineup with the Dell Premier Wireless ANC Headset (WL7024). This headset features AI-powered noise-canceling microphones that intelligently differentiate human speech from background noise and dynamically adjust the noise cancellation level based on the user’s surroundings.

Beyond the Hype: A Look Inside Dell's AI-Powered PCs

The computing landscape is rapidly evolving, and artificial intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of this transformation. Dell, a leading technology company, is at the forefront of this movement, offering a range of AI-powered PCs designed to empower users and businesses to achieve more. In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, Dell Technologies has once again pushed the boundaries with its latest innovation: a new line-up of commercial AI Latitude laptops. These cutting-edge devices are designed to enhance productivity, security, and collaboration for business professionals in the hybrid work era. Predictions about the “AI PC” have been enigmatic, but Dell is already showing how these computers can be genuinely helpful. Windows operating systems may soon incorporate AI-driven features, making everyday tasks more proactive and efficient. Imagine a PC that anticipates your needs, adapts to work patterns, and enhances the overall experience.

Dell AI PCs are not a distinct product category; they represent a designation for Dell laptops and workstations equipped with features and hardware optimized for AI tasks. Essentially, a Dell AI PC is an accelerated computer. Dell has been integrating purpose-built accelerators into its PCs for over two decades. Initially, this involved using GPUs in Precision workstations, which acted as accelerators, enabling local execution of AI workloads. There’s a new option: the NPU (Neural Processing Unit). While the NPU is gaining attention, Dell defines an AI PC simply as a computer capable of efficiently handling AI workloads or AI-optimized applications through a GPU or an NPU. This definition applies to desktops, laptops, and workstations alike.

Dell Latitude AI PCs feature robust Intel Core Ultra processors with Intel vPro at their core. These processors are built on Intel 4 process technology (7nm). The system harnesses various compute engines, including P-cores, E-cores, Intel Arc GPU, and Intel AI Boost, to accelerate AI inferencing at the edge. This collaborative approach reduces reliance on separate accelerators, ultimately streamlining system complexity and cost.

Dell has not only enhanced system configuration with AI but also offers AI-optimized software to elevate the computing experience. Dell Optimizer utilizes AI to enhance system performance, prolong battery life, and enhance overall user satisfaction. Furthermore, My Dell, another AI-powered tool, provides personalized recommendations and support for consumers and small business users.

dell latitude ai pcs

 

Beyond Awareness: SMBs Show Strong Purchase Intent for AI PCs

The PC market is poised for a refresh, and AI-powered PCs will significantly impact the industry in the next 3-5 years. According to Techaisle data, SMBs and midmarket companies are not only embracing this trend but may even lead it. A recent survey by Techaisle, covering over 4500 SMBs and midmarket firms, reveals that awareness of AI PCs is remarkably high: 70% among small businesses, 82% in core midmarket firms, and 86% in upper midmarket firms. While smaller SMBs show healthy interest, with 24% planning to purchase AI PC units, core midmarket businesses are even more enthusiastic, with 38% intending to invest. The upper midmarket segment demonstrates the highest intent, with 64% planning to explore AI PCs.

Anurag Agrawal

2024 Top 10 SMB and Midmarket business issues, IT priorities and challenges

Focused on growth and committed to new solutions that expand business horizons – the SMB market is on the brink of a multi-year growth trajectory.

They are here - Techaisle's annual SMB, Core Midmarket and Upper Midmarket Top 10 IT Priorities, IT Challenges, and Business Issues infographics, 13th year of Techaisle tracking at a WW level, and is sought after by IT vendors, channel partners, and media. Techaisle surveyed nearly 5000 SMBs and Midmarket firms, quota sampled to ensure adequate coverage of four small businesses (1-9, 10-19, 20-49, and 50-99 employees), three core midmarket (100-249, 250-499, and 500-999 employees) and two upper midmarket (1000-2499, 2500-4999) segments. As a result, the data represents a robust and reliable sampling of the market segment for IT products and services.

Techaisle surveys thousands of small and midsized businesses (SMBs) to understand technology imperatives and directions. The annual survey establishes context by asking respondents to identify their top business goals, technology priorities, and IT challenges for the upcoming year.

2024 top10 smb it priorities business issues techaisle infographic

Redefining the art of the possible

The SMB market is a study in contrasts: the tension between boundless aspiration and a constrained reality. However, data shows that a market that has mastered the cloud and is excited by AI will dedicate itself to growth in 2024.

Anurag Agrawal

2024 Top 10 SMB and Midmarket Predictions

In 2021, we predicted that AI would permeate small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and midmarket firms, not as an independent solution but as an integral feature within other products. As SMBs fully comprehend the inherent nature of AI, they will increasingly seek AI-powered solutions to prescribe actions that mitigate risks and enhance decision-making, business agility, and innovation proactively.

We also predicted that AI technology would evolve so rapidly that by the time SMBs become comfortable with data-driven decision-making, AI would be executing decisions that might be beyond the comprehension of business executives. The challenge with AI would shift from trusting data over intuition to trusting AI when insights into its decision-making process are not readily available in the cloud applications used by SMBs and midmarket firms. We expect this trend to continue into 2024.

After surveying over 3000 SMBs and midmarket firms, Techaisle has announced its top 10 SMB and midmarket predictions for 2024. There is intense market pressure on SMB and midmarket executives to deliver tangible progress towards – and benefits from – application innovation and digital business. At least some of this results from a worldwide fascination with Generative AI and its anticipated potential to transform nearly any function it might apply to. Gen-AI offers significant potential for SMBs and midmarket firms to enhance their operations and drive innovation. By leveraging this technology effectively, these businesses can improve efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

techaisle 2024 top10 smb midmarket predictions

In 2024, SMBs and Midmarket business and technology leaders will maintain a practical perspective as they move into the digital future powered by AI. SMBs will invest in AI-infused, AI-embedded, tailor-made technology solutions to streamline operations and expand their customer base. To improve manageability, reduce complexity, and limit sprawl, pragmatism will overtake progressiveness. Technology choice and deployment complexity will create purchase inertia, empowering SMBs to seek suppliers capable of supporting a roadmap from the current state to a future-ready organization. SMBs will look for proof points in AI solutions that deliver tangible benefits within their environment. SMBs will adjust their own pricing strategies and implement cost-control measures. Labor shortages will prompt them to invest in employee training and retention initiatives to ensure smooth operations and efficiency. Additionally, SMBs will opt for proactive supply chain management and diversification strategies to minimize disruptions and exploit growth opportunities.

Here are Techaisle’s top 10 SMB and Midmarket predictions for 2024.

Research You Can Rely On | Analysis You Can Act Upon

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