I’ve been writing about Dell’s entrance into the manufacturing/industrial space since last October. It introduced its Internet of Things products, Edge Gateway, at Dell World. Recently its embedded computing line was announced. (Disclaimer: Dell is a client.) Several people wrote to me after that last announcement to say something like, “About time.”
Internet of Things Partners
Further expanding its efforts, Dell is launching the Dell IoT Solutions Partner Program for the advancement of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and solutions. The program builds an ecosystem of partners to help customers navigate the fragmented IoT landscape and identify the right technologies to develop their IoT solutions. Dell will offer participating partners access to its robust and reliable product portfolio, world-class support and increased opportunities for incremental business growth.
The program will combine a global, multi-tiered (Executive, Associate, Registered) network of experienced Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) with Dell’s broad portfolio of IoT assets, including purpose-built intelligent gateways, embedded PCs, security and manageability tools, data center and cloud infrastructure, and data integration and analytics software like Boomi and Statistica. These assets will help organizations develop, deploy and maintain leading-edge IoT solutions.
“Dell believes that opportunities increase when you help others win,” said Andy Rhodes, executive director, Commercial IoT Solutions, Dell. “We are passionate about collaborating with this strong group of companies and believe ISVs are critical in building the bridge between the exciting industry potential of IoT and profitable market reality.”
Dell works with Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT) organizations to create a unifying IoT strategy for bridging their differing business approaches. The IoT Partner Program will include companies across a wide range of industries that further strengthen Dell’s expertise in areas such as industrial and building automation and transportation. It launches with more than 25 partners including GE, SAP, Software AG, Microsoft, OSIsoft and others, many of which are utilizing the Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series to power their own IoT solutions. Dell also continues to build relationships with systems integrators (SIs) with vertical expertise and deployment scale.
Additional partners include Azeti, Blue Pillar, Datawatch, Eigen Innovations, Flowthings, Flutura, GE, Kepware, Lynx Software, Microsoft Azure, OSIsoft, Relayr, SAP, Software AG, and Thingworx.
Creating use case blueprints is one of the many ways Dell is working with partners to help customers speed up their Internet of Things projects and make sense of the vast ISV landscape. Dell, Kepware, and Software AG are collaborating to develop IoT enabled predictive maintenance models utilizing distributed analytics to address the industry’s biggest operational challenges, such as unplanned downtime, overall equipment effectiveness, maintenance cost and return on assets.
Specifically looking at Kepware’s role with the Partner Program and the Predictive Maintenance model, I had the opportunity to interview Eric Dellinger, Kepware’s IoT manager. We’ve met several times, most recently at the Industry of Things conference in San Diego last February. We caught up by phone this time.
Dellinger told me he had been talking with Dell for six or seven months about various partnership and collaboration opportunities. “One great benefit,” he said, “is getting access to hardware and being part of marketing initiatives. Another great thing with program has been ease of working with them. Sometimes companies hold you at more of an arm’s length. Dell is dealing in a more strategic manner. For example, our work with Dell on the predictive maintenance model where it outlines how to go to market. And it shows how various vendors can go together to create a solution. This is a really nice approach to collaborate on an initiative.”
There are other benefits to Dell’s approach such as sharing go-to-market strategies, leveraging training, and leveraging each other’s channel, continued Dellinger. “Then there is what it looks like to embed a solution in the IoT box. Maybe we can include ThingWorx (another PTC company) app development platform. Or we can go off-the-shelf with Software AG and SAP on a solution. This open program offers a way of thinking from customer’s perspective, bringing innovative solutions. There is less pushing products specifically and more on finding solutions.”
Part of joining the partner program is certifying products run on the platform. Dellinger said, “So on the certification process, we installed our product on the Dell IoT Gateway connecting to a Rockwell Automation PLC using the MQTT protocol to send data to the cloud and had it up and running in 10 minutes.