Building out the ecosystem
The path to IoT success will be laid out by collaborative efforts to build out a working ecosystem, in which well-designed products will be able to find a place
It's no secret that the Internet of Things (IoT) is garnering a lot of interest from enterprises. And in response to this interest, vendors are putting ever more efforts into building out an ecosystem allowing for the adoption of IoT technologies, as well as creating products that fit neatly into that ecosystem.
Such is the strategy being pursued by Dell, which last month announced the launch of its first dedicated Internet of Things lab in Europe. Based in Limerick, Ireland, the lab will be one of the bases for the new IoT division focused on bringing together end-to-end IoT solutions that span hardware, software and services.
Dell also used last month's announcement to launch its IoT division's first product release, a gateway designed to help customers kick-start their solution development and begin realising the value of IoT immediately. The gateway is robust enough for the rigours of current projects and can also be leveraged as a proof-of-concept for use with future specialised Dell gateways.
Following the successful opening of Dell and Intel's first IoT lab in Santa Clara, California, U.S. in November last year, the new IoT lab complements the existing Dell Solution Centre in Limerick. The lab bolsters Dell's portfolio by providing EMEA customers with a dedicated space to build, model, architect and test their IoT solutions - and get them to market faster.
The Dell OEM team has over 16 years of experience of working with customers to develop workable solutions to take to market and expertise spanning more than 40 industry verticals. At the lab, customers will be able to meet with a team of highly-skilled solution centre technicians and IoT specialists to discuss their ideas and collaborate to develop robust proof of concepts and innovative solutions.
"As a global end-to-end solutions provider, Dell can support OEMs throughout their entire product lifecycle, from endpoints, networking, compute, and storage to large scale data management, analytics software and services," said Dermot O'Connell, executive director and general manager, OEM Solutions, Dell EMEA. "In Limerick, customers will have a flexible and scalable foundation for developing market-ready solutions with a trusted, reliable partner. Our specialists in the lab can reduce the complexity of IT and help customers to bring their ideas to life."
Dell has been pursuing this strategy of collaboration when it comes to the IoT for some time now, recognising that partnerships will likely be the road to success with the IoT. This strategy came to a head last November, when Dell opened its first IoT Lab in the Dell Silicon Valley Solution Centre in Santa Clara, California.
The Dell IoT Lab is jointly funded by Intel and Dell OEM Solutions, a member of the Intel Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. Dell and Intel customers will be able to build, modify and architect new IoT solutions on active bench space within the new lab. Customers can demonstrate large workloads, connectivity, and data modelling and extraction on Dell's end-to-end solutions, including Dell storage as well as Dell PowerEdge servers and blade servers utilising Dell Software solutions.
The news was a milestone in the Dell and Intel collaboration on IoT. Earlier in 2014, the companies announced efforts to collaborate on IoT solutions for customer projects such as building automation for smart buildings. They are also both part of the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), which sets standards for connecting a multitude of household gadgets and appliances.
"We are excited to partner with our customers to offer a place where they can come and build new Internet of Things solutions. This lab will be staffed with highly skilled engineers and technicians and is designed to be an active space where our customers can validate and test their solutions on Dell hardware and software systems," said Joyce Mullen, vice president and general manager, Dell OEM Solutions, when the lab was announced. "We welcome all of our customers to come work with us to build their next generation of IoT solutions in our new lab."
However, Dell is not only setting the IoT industry up for collaboration on products and services - it also creating its own products that fit into the ecosystem. Gateways are the most recent addition to Dell's IoT solution stack. These small, wireless or connected devices collect, help secure and process sensor data at the edge of a network. Equipped with processing power, they provide customers with flexibility to perform analytics at the edge, reducing latency for data-based decisions, such as managing energy consumption or triggering a call for proactive equipment maintenance. This reduces the time and cost associated with transferring data to the cloud or data centre. Dell's new gateways are a solid foundation for an IoT edge solution that conserves valuable network bandwidth by relaying only meaningful data back to the cloud.
The new gateway has already garnered praise from a number of Dell's technology partners.
"Dell's gateway enables companies to build end-to-end IoT solutions based on Intel technology. Dell's newest gateway solution delivers the connectivity, security, and manageability needed to realize the value of Dell's IoT solutions," said Rose Schooler, vice president and general manager at Intel's IoT Strategy and Technology Office.
"The manufacturing industry has relied on Dell to deliver great hardware solutions and services for many years. With their new IoT gateways running Windows IoT, Dell is poised to bring new security, analytics and efficiencies to the field of automation that will be sure to delight our mutual customers," added Peter Han, vice president of Worldwide OEM Marketing at Microsoft.
Dell's end-to-end approach spans data centre solutions, analytics and leadership services and is built on Dell's bedrock of global availability, support and security options.
"Current IoT solutions offer lengthy implementations, overly ambitious scoping and complex proprietary designs that raise risks and costs," said Andy Rhodes, executive director of IoT Solutions, Dell. "We are helping customers build out their solutions pragmatically with a broad portfolio of IoT-enabling offerings including security, manageability, services, analytics, infrastructure, and endpoints."
As part of a Dell's IoT partnership ecosystem, Dell Services and ThingWorx also recently announced a collaboration aimed at helping customers on their IoT journey. The companies will leverage each other's capabilities to deliver a combination of technology and business expertise to help customers reduce the time, cost and risk required to build innovative Internet of Things (IoT) applications. As a part of the agreement, Dell's Digital Business Services will enter ThingWorx's Global System Integrators Alliance Program.