In my modeling I came to this same conclusion several years ago now, that consciousness is the pre-requisite of intelligence. If true -- and I do think it is -- then the implications are most profound, especially in light of how we as humans treat our fellow living creatures. I'm quite sure that piggy you ate for breakfast knew he was alive, knew he was a distinct entity from other piggys, etc.
But the real kicker is the definition of consciousness itself. Most want to over-define or overload the concept and so end up having all sorts of extraneous elements mixed into their definitions, when at its most simple definition it is the ability to use time to advantage by acquiring and manipulating memories (observation and experience.) Once this ability is in place, rule sets become possible and it's off to the races.
Our human consciousness is so very obvious and apparent that almost everyone overlooks it even though they are using it when thinking about their own consciousness: The short-term memory loop which is used by the internal dialogue, where songs loop over and over, where you receive and acknowledge the message from your stomach that you're hungry -- that is your point of consciousness: A short-term memory loop is all it is. The tricky part is that I suspect humans at least have two point of consciousness and to some extent they either like each other and get along or are in conflict, but this is beyond the point I wanted to make here, which is that I think you're right.
Anyway, I ramble.