BELOIT — Imagine a world where you don’t have to remember computer passwords, lug around chargers or squeeze into undersized jeans.
That world is coming soon, according to the Beloit-raised Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group (CCG) at Intel Corporation.
At Intel, Skaugen formulates strategies to improve phone, tablet and personal computer platforms. In a telephone interview Friday, Skaugen discussed the latest emerging technologies and how his education in Beloit helped him shape the future.
“We change the world by selling more than 300 million computing devices a year. If you have an idea and go for it, you can change the world,” Skaugen said.
This holiday season, Skaugen said, marks a watershed moment in technology. With about 600 million computers in the world reaching four to five years old, Intel thinks it’s the best time for a new PC. Aging computers will be traded out in favor of newer ones with a powerful sixth generation Intel Core chip inside.
With Intel’s processors being the brains for 90 percent of the world’s notebooks and personal computers — and as the number two chip supplier in tablets — there won’t be many people not touched by Intel this holiday season.
While older devices took minutes to turn on, the computing devices loaded with sixth generation Intel Core chips have three times the battery life, added touch screen capabilities to wake up the screen, voice recognition and more.
With Intel’s newest chip installed in personal computers, users will be able wave their hands to turn on their devices. Using the Intel RealSense 3D camera available in some personal computers, users will be able scan themselves and insert themselves in some of their favorite video games.
Intel’s “2-in-1” devices will be especially big sellers, he predicted. Able to be used as both a tablet and laptop, the devices feature the power of a laptop with the mobility of a tablet.
With a “no wires vision” for the future, Skaugen said Intel is already making devices which can be charged via wireless devices on desk and table-tops. Thanks to other wireless technology from Intel, people will be able to automatically connect their devices to a TV or projector sans wires.
The wave of the future, Skaugen explained, is for computers to become more like personal assistants. For example, Google Maps might warn users of impending traffic jams and 3D cameras will scan people’s bodies to assist them in buying the perfect-fit pair of jeans online. Thanks to the Intel RealSense 3D camera technology, users in the future can upload 3D photos to Facebook or dating site profiles.
Skaugen is the son of Borg and Gayle Skaugen of Beloit. He attended Morgan Elementary School, Aldrich Middle School and graduated from Beloit Memorial High School in 1988.
Shortly after he graduated from Purdue University he was hired by Intel in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He was one of six alumni receiving Purdue's Outstanding Electrical Engineer recognition in 2014.
With his father being an engineer at Beloit Corporation, Skaugen said he got interested in math. He also credited his Beloit teachers and the school district’s advanced placement offerings in math and science for propelling his interest in engineering. Growing up, Skaugen loved and was in Beloit Memorial High School varsity soccer and tennis.
In addition to a sound education in math and science, he said a basis in economics has helped him to run his side of the business. He said the social sciences, culture and history have also been a strong influence on his career, as the products are sold to more than 100 countries around the world.
“I think people underestimate what history means in business. There is still a lot of legacy between cultures that affect business to this day,” he said.
Skaugen said he’s a strong believer in giving young people access to technology early in life, as there are endless opportunities for students to Skype with other children around the globe.
“At Intel, we are trying to get a computer, personal computer or tablet in the hands of every child on the planet. We really believe that computing and teaching can be improved with computers,” he said.
Skaugen credits good values learned growing up in the Midwest for forming the foundations of his business acumen.
“I have this belief called ‘People First,’” he said. “If you really understand people, your customers and employees, that’s where it all starts.”
Although he’s lived all over the world, Skaugen currently resides in Portland, Oregon, with his wife Christen, and sons, Cole, 8, and Beckett, 22-months-old. He often returns to Beloit to see lifelong friends.