Developing for Intel Smart Connect Technology

If you are an app developer and you are interested in how you can take advantage of the Intel Smart Connect Technology (ISCT) in your Desktop and Windows Store apps, this blog will provide the following information:
  • What is Intel Smart Connect Technology
  • How does an application take advantage of Intel Smart Connect Technology
  • What are the System States that are applicable to this technology
  • What applications are best suited for Intel Smart Connect Technology
  • Guidelines for application developers 

What is Intel Smart Connect Technology

Intel Smart Connect Technology brings a fresh data experience to Intel Architecture based platforms, including Ultrabooks. Apps that are network-based such as email and social networking applications can maintain up-to-date information even when the platform is in standby. This is made possible using a combination of hardware and software that enables the platform to periodically wake up from standby, sync data from a remote or cloud-based server, and return to standby.

Intel Smart Connect Technology is made up of the following main components:

  • The Intel Smart Connect Technology Service
  • An Intel Smart Connect Technology Applet/ OEM GUI
  • Intel Smart Connect Technology Driver

The figure below shows how the Intel Smart Connect Technology is supported.

 

How does an application take advantage of Intel Smart Connect Technology?

Currently the ISCT service (1.0) does not expose any API's for applications to use.   Applications can take advantage of ISCT by monitoring the system for the Intel Smart Technology wake cycles.

What are the applicable System States 

  • Unattended Active State (S0ISCT).  Similar to S0 (standard power on) except that the system looks and sound like it is still in standby – display off, audio off, fans off or muted, etc.. The user will not be interacting with the platform during this state. The platform will periodically enter this state and remain there for a specific duration determined by the ISCT service. There is full network connectivity (if available) in this state. The service will put the system back to sleep within a predefined interval. The exceptions to this activity are when the ISCT agent decides to disable the service and remain in standby (S3) in order to protect the platform from overheating or running low on battery. Should this occur, the platform will not wake up from this state until the user presses the power button.
  • Intel Smart Connect Standby (S3ISCT).  This is a low power state that is almost identical to the standard standby state (S3) with the exception of the state of the networking and communication subsystem. The network adapters (Wi-Fi or wireless broadband) remain powered, but in a low power state. This enables the platform to be connected to a network quickly on resuming from standby. In this state the platform periodically wakes up from this state and moves into the unattended active state (S0ISCT). The frequency is controlled by the ISCT agent and the BIOS.  

Applications best suited for Intel Smart Connect Technology

Clearly, this technology is best suited for applications that consume information that is constantly updated in the cloud or on a remote server. Typical applications are email clients, social networking applications, news aggregators, podcast aggregators, software updaters, etc. These applications are usually written to periodically connect to remote or cloud-based servers and check for updates at a set frequency. These applications can be easily enabled to work with Intel Smart Connect Technology.  

Guidelines for Application Developers

  • Working in Cached Mode: If the application requires a login to retrieve data, the application should be able to cache the credentials so it can retrieve data without user interaction in the unattended mode.
  • Refresh Data Upon Reconnection: To ensure that the latest updates are received, an application needs to recognize a new network connection and connect to the server to synchronize meaningful updates. Applications can use applicable OS supported events that provide a notification when network connectivity changes. Please refer to the MSDN website for events and methods available in Microsoft Windows OS for determining the state of the system and network adapters.
  • Notifications: The application should batch the visual and audio notifications that would alert the user about updated information (until the system is woken up from standby.

Summary

Hopefully you now have a fairly good understanding of what Intel Smart Connect Technology is, what apps are most likely to benefit from it and how to integrate it into your app. If you have further questions, please post them as comments to this blog.

 

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