Dell Technologies unveiled on Tuesday its Internet of Things (IoT) vision and strategy, a new IoT division as well as new IoT specific products, labs, partner program and consumption models. This announcement underscores Dell Technologies commitment to helping customers realize their digital future by safely navigating the complex and often fragmented IoT landscape.
The company’s new IoT Division will be led by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell, and is chartered with orchestrating the development of IoT products and services across the Dell Technologies family. The IoT Solutions Division will combine internally developed technologies with offerings from the vast Dell Technologies ecosystem to deliver complete solutions for the customer.
“Dell Technologies has long seen the opportunity within the rapidly growing world of IoT, given its rich history in the edge computing market” explained Ray O’Farrell, VMware EVP & CTO, and general manager for Dell Technologies IoT division. “Our new IoT Division will leverage the strength across all of Dell Technologies family of businesses to ensure we deliver the right solution – in combination with our vast partner ecosystem – to meet customer needs and help them deploy integrated IoT systems with greater ease.”
As more customers look to digitally transform their business, a new model of computing is emerging. For the last 15 years the IT industry has seen the rise of cloud computing, a highly centralized model for delivering IT services.
But in an age where every type of device, from phones to cars to oil rigs to robots to heart monitors are alive and intelligent, there is a requirement for a “distributed core” focused on real time processing of information. These devices simply cannot wait for a response from centralized cloud infrastructure that may be ‘seconds’ away.
“IoT is fundamentally changing how we live, how organizations operate and how the world works” said Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Technologies. “Dell Technologies is leading the way for our customers with a new distributed computing architecture that brings IoT and artificial intelligence together in one, interdependent ecosystem from the edge to the core to the cloud. The implications for our global society will be nothing short of profound.”
Customers have expressed a growing need for one company to pull together complete IoT solutions that can be deployed within their organizations. Dell Technologies’ comprehensive approach to IoT is based on leading technology and services and a carefully curated partner ecosystem designed to realize value for customers today and prepare them for the future.
Dell Technologies already provides Edge Gateways, which can be secured and managed by VMware Pulse IoT Control Center. Dell EMC PowerEdge C-Series servers have been enhanced for batch training and machine learning as a part of the distributed core.
Dell EMC Isilon and Elastic Cloud Storage provide file and object storage for massive amounts of data and enable analytics through HDFS. Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) and Pivotal Container Service (PKS) provide an ideal platform for developing new cloud-based analytics applications. Virtustream’s PCF Service provides a managed Pivotal Cloud Foundry Service simplifying the deployment and operation of mission-critical cloud architected workloads in Virtustream Enterprise Cloud, while Virtustream Storage Cloud is available for off-premises cloud object storage.
Finally, Dell Boomi rapidly connects relevant data to enhance cloud-based analytics and deep learning.
The new product development initiatives include Dell EMC ‘Project Nautilus’ software that enables the ingestion and querying of data streams from IoT gateways in real time. Data can subsequently be archived to file or object storage for deeper advanced analytics; and ‘Project Fire’: a hyper converged platform part of the VMware Pulse family of IoT solutions that includes simplified management, local compute, storage and IoT applications such as real-time analytics. ‘Project Fire’ enables businesses to roll-out IoT use cases faster and have consistent infrastructure software from edge to core to cloud.
It also includes RSA ‘Project IRIS’: Currently under development in RSA Labs, Iris extends the Security Analytics capability to provide threat visibility and monitoring right out to the edge; disruptive technologies like processor accelerators will increase the velocity of analytics closer to the edge. Collaboration with vendors like VMware, Intel and NVIDIA and the Dell Technologies Capital investment in Graphcore reflect opportunities to optimize servers for AI, machine learning and deep learning performance, and Project ‘Worldwide Herd’ for performing analytics on geographically dispersed data – increasingly important to enable deep learning on datasets that cannot be moved for reasons of size, privacy and regulatory concern.
New IoT services initiatives include IoT Vision Workshop that identifies and prioritizes high-value business use cases for IoT data – essentially how and where to deploy IoT analytics that drive business; and IoT Technology Advisory that develops the overall IoT architecture and roadmap for implementation. In addition, with the core focus on technology and services, Dell Technologies’ strategy is to grow the IoT footprint via a strong partner program and ecosystem.
Dell’s IoT Solutions Partner Program is a carefully curated, multi-tiered program comprising more than 90 partners from enterprises like Intel, Microsoft and SAP to start-ups like Action Point, IMS Evolve, FogHorn and Zingbox. The program will now support partners across all Dell Technologies businesses, allowing for easier collaboration and implementation of blueprints.
An example of the partner ecosystem at work is the recent announcement that VMware and SAP are collaborating to create an integrated solution for IoT analytics and vertical applications. The solution utilizes VMware Pulse IoT Center, SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Leonardo and is designed to help customers roll out IoT use cases faster and scale more easily.
Dell Technologies continues the commitment to openness and standardization in IoT by participation in efforts such as EdgeX Foundry, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the OpenFog Consortium. Seeded by Dell source code, EdgeX Foundry is a vendor-neutral open source project building a common interoperability framework to facilitate an ecosystem for edge computing.
Since launching in April 2017, EdgeX Foundry has grown to more than 60 member organizations. Recently the project announced its first major milestone with the ‘Barcelona’ code release, as well as an alliance with the IIC to collaborate on testbeds.
IoT is creating new revenue models for customers and, in turn, Dell Technologies is offering new financing options to support those customers. In particular, Dell Technologies provides cloud-like payment options through Dell Financial Services flexible consumption models. These payment solutions are available across the Dell Technologies family of business and allow customers flexibility in technology acquisition and consumption.
Investments in IoT Future through Dell Technologies Capital
Dell Technologies Capital, the venture arm of Dell Technologies, is partnering closely with the new IoT division, providing industry insight and relationships to support its strategic agenda. Through its investments in promising startups and founders, Dell Technologies Capital provides a valuable link to the external innovation ecosystem, effectively accelerating the development and deployment of new IoT, AI and ML technologies and solutions.
“AeroFarms is redefining agriculture combining world-class expertise for horticulture, engineering, food safety, nutrition, and data science to set a new standard for product quality and production. We are as much a capabilities company as we are farmers, utilizing science and technology to achieve our vision of totally-controlled agriculture,” said David Rosenberg, co-founder and chief executive officer, AeroFarms. “We have worked closely with Dell Technologies to develop the tools to wirelessly track and monitor our product throughout the growing process from seed to package. Dell Technologies understands our IoT infrastructure and integration needs, and we see the opportunity to collaborate on additional solutions as we build our indoor vertical farms in major cities around the world.”
“Emerson is focused on helping manufacturers transform their businesses through digitization with our Plantweb digital ecosystem. We help manufacturers deploy precision sensor technologies, then securely deliver data to advanced analytics tools on premise or in the cloud to enable nimble, confident decision making,” said Peter Zornio, chief technology officer, Emerson Automation Solutions. “Part of our ecosystem includes connected service offerings which provide 24/7 Emerson monitoring of customer assets and proactive guidance to onsite teams to maximize performance. We’ve been working on the development of these services and alternatives for secure deployment together with the Dell Industrial IoT (IIoT) team. We’re excited to see Dell Technologies making additional investments in its already strong IoT portfolio and support organization.”