Microprocessor giant Intel is developing a technology called Remote Wake that will allow users to remotely wake up their sleeping PCs via the Web on other PCs or mobile devices. The technology is aimed both at consumers and businesses, and can be used to remotely retrieve files or place Internet phone calls to PCs that would otherwise be unaware of the call.

Remote Wake requires new Intel chips that will be included on a number of PC motherboards that will hit the market beginning next month. Given the supplier, the technology is expected to become a standard component of most PCs over the next year or so. For it to work, the PC must be in "sleep" mode and not completely turned off. This allows users to take advantage of the power saving features of the PC but still access the device when they're on the road. Sleeping PCs consume about one-sixth the power of fully enabled PCs.

While remote access to PC files is of course useful, Intel sees the Internet phone call aspect of Remote Wake as being perhaps more important. Currently, one of the issues holding back Internet-based telephony is that sleeping or turned off PCs have no way of knowing that they've missed a call. With Remote Wake, PCs can be remotely awakened, and if the user isn't available, the phone application will at least know a call has been missed.

Intel is also working with partners on TV content services that could wake up PCs to deliver content overnight.