Intel isn’t just pushing Avoton as as low-power solution that’ll compete with products from ARM and AMD, but as the linchpin of a system for software defined networking and software defined storage capability. In a typical network, a switch is programmed to send arriving traffic to a particular location. Both the control plane (where traffic goes) and the data plane (the hardware responsible for actually moving the bits) are implemented in hardware and duplicated in every switch.
Software defined networking replaces this by using software to manage traffic (OpenFlow in the example diagram below) and monitoring it from a central controller. Intel is moving towards such a model and talking it up as an option because it moves control away from specialized hardware baked into expensive routers made by people that aren’t Intel, and towards centralized technology Intel can bake into the CPU itself.