P2P computing, the concept behind the music file-sharing programme Napster, was the subject of the first P2P conference held in San Francisco last week.
Speakers described initiatives to harness the unused processor power of separate PCs on a corporate network and projects where P2P technology enables international collaboration with real-time updates.
Steve Chase, Intel's director of e-business and commutation solutions, said, "There's a lot of storage on the Internet and Intel is saving some $300m-$400m a year by using the storage and power of computers that are just not being used."
He said Intel achieved the cost savings by taking advantage of the different time zones to make use of idle processor power.
"When designers working in regions such as Russia go to sleep, they leave their computers on. This means they can farm out work to other engineers working in Oregon so the development can carry on overnight," Chase said. "P2P offers some real business benefits. It's all about storage."
Intel is working on a standard for P2P applications, Chase added.
Analysts estimate that all computers currently linked to the Internet represent 10,000 terabytes of storage, which users with P2P technology could access.