Much of the interesting activity in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) space lately happens at the edge of the network. IT companies such as Dell Technologies and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have built upon their core technologies to develop powerful edge computing devices. Recently Bedrock Automation and Opto 22 on the OT side have also built interesting edge devices.
I’ve long maintained that all this technology—from intelligent sensing to cloud databases—means little without ways to make sense of the data. One company I rarely hear from is FogHorn Systems. This developer of edge intelligence software has recently been quite active on the partnership front. One announcement regards Wind River and the other Google.
FogHorn and Wind River (an Intel company) have teamed to integrate FogHorn’s Lightning edge analytics and machine learning platform with Wind River’s software, including Wind River Helix Device Cloud, Wind River Titanium Control, and Wind River Linux. This offering is said to accelerate harnessing the power of IIoT data. Specifically, FogHorn enables organizations to place data analytics and machine learning as close to the data source as possible; Wind River provides the technology to support manageability of edge devices across their lifecycle, virtualization for workload consolidation, and software portability via containerization.
“Wind River’s collaboration with FogHorn will solve two big challenges in Industrial IoT today, getting analytics and machine learning close to the devices generating the data, and managing thousands to hundreds of thousands of endpoints across their product lifecycle,” said Michael Krutz, Chief Product Officer at Wind River. “We’re very excited about this integrated solution, and the significant value it will deliver to our joint customers globally.”
FogHorn’s Lightning product portfolio embeds edge intelligence directly into small-footprint IoT devices. By enabling data processing at or near the source of sensor data, FogHorn eliminates the need to send terabytes of data to the cloud for processing.
“Large organizations with complex, multi-site IoT deployments are faced with the challenge of not only pushing advanced analytics and machine learning close to the source of the data, but also the provisioning and maintenance of a high volume and variety of edge devices,” said Kevin Duffy, VP of Business Development at FogHorn. “FogHorn and Wind River together deliver the industry’s most comprehensive solution to addressing both sides of this complex IoT device equation.”
Meanwhile, FogHorn Systems also announced a collaboration with Google Cloud IoT Core to simplify the deployment and maximize the business impact of Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications.
The companies have teamed up to integrate Lightning edge analytics and machine learning platform with Cloud IoT Core.
“Cloud IoT Core simply and securely brings the power of Google Cloud’s world-class data infrastructure capabilities to the IIoT market,” said Antony Passemard, Head of IoT Product Management at Google Cloud. “By combining industry-leading edge intelligence from FogHorn, we’ve created a fully-integrated edge and cloud solution that maximizes the insights gained from every IoT device. We think it’s a very powerful combination at exactly the right time.”
Device data captured by Cloud IoT Core gets published to Cloud Pub/Sub for downstream analytics. Businesses can conduct ad hoc analysis using Google BigQuery, run advanced analytics, and apply machine learning with Cloud Machine Learning Engine, or visualize IoT data results with rich reports and dashboards in Google Data Studio.
“Our integration with Google Cloud harmonizes the workload and creates new efficiencies from the edge to the cloud across a range of dimensions,” said David King, CEO at FogHorn. “This approach simplifies the rollout of innovative, outcome-based IIoT initiatives to improve organizations’ competitive edge globally, and we are thrilled to bring this collaboration to market with Google Cloud.”
While at the Dell IQT kick off event in New York last month, I learned more about the breadth of Dell’s thinking about the Internet of Things.
It began with morphing embedded computer as a gateway (with memory and processing power and multiple connections).,
Added platform (EdgeX Foundry).
But that hardly seemed like something that warranted Michael Dell’s time during his past three Dell World / Dell EMC World keynotes.
Revealing the coming together of the various divisions of Dell Technologies, I learned about VMware Pulse IoT Center, an enterprise-grade Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure management solution that will enable IT and operational technology (OT) teams to have complete control of their IoT infrastructure and things.
Interestingly, the Internet of Things group has been promoted to division stature led by the VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell.
Here are a few details on the Pulse Center.
Solving the problems
Customers have challenges scaling from IoT proof-of-concept to production.
• on-board and manage of thousands to hundreds of thousands of connected devices;
• make sure those devices are working as they are supposed to; and
• keep the devices and data secure.
Dell cites core strengths of device and application management, infrastructure analytics, and security give us the IP and expertise to address these issues with an easy to use, single-pane-of-glass solution to help customers to more efficiently manage, operate, scale and protect their IoT projects from the edge to the cloud.
VMware Pulse IoT Key Features
• Edge Device Management – Support for heterogeneous things and gateways with different hardware, operating systems, and communication protocols
• Real-Time Infrastructure Analytics – Ability to identify anomalies with real-time monitoring and infrastructure analytics
• Sophisticated & Flexible Rules Engine- Ability to granularly define what, where and when things are updated
• Single point console- A single point of monitoring and management for the IoT infrastructure (across private networks comprising of edge systems and connected devices) for both IT and OT users
• OTA updates – Ability to provide over-the-air, real-time updates to all things/gateways no matter how remote the location
• Smart Data Orchestration- Delivery of relevant data where and when it is needed across the edge and in the cloud by integrating into enterprise systems
• Security Across IoT Value Chain- Provides security at thing, network and user level with software updates and NSX and VMware Identity Manager integration
• Visualize thing – gateway relationships- Provides pictorial representation of the topology of the IoT infrastructure – 2 tier or 3 tier – in a parent child relationship diagram
• Highly scalable – Supports hundreds of thousands of edge systems and IoT connected devices such as sensors and actuators.
• On Prem support– Offered as an on-prem solution for deployment flexibility and security. Future versions will also be offered as cloud-hosted.
• Enterprise Integrations- Quick and easy integration with existing server systems through a comprehensive API abstraction layer
Chief Customer Officer
I also met with Jim Ganthier, a Vice President who works in the office of the Chief Customer Officer. OK, there are lots of “Chiefs” running around corporations today. Since I am most interested in technologies and their uses in manufacturing and industrial, I didn’t have lots of questions. It was interesting to see that there is a “voice of the customer” at the executive level of a major corporation. We talked a lot about whether it was difficult for a global technology company to meet the varying privacy requirements found from nation to nation. He assured us that they had the technology to comply.
Chief Marketing Officer
A comment stood out in our conversation with Jeremy Burton, the corporation Chief Marketing Officer. “The last 20 years has seen technology used for efficiency. Now technology is a differentiator.”
Hmm, sounds like what I heard at Emerson. Maybe it’s a meme.
Disclaimer: Dell pays my expenses to its events and an occasional fee for posts. The views are always mine, and they never review before publication.
Dell Technologies has moved its Internet of Things initiative from what was almost a “skunk works” group to division status. Michael Dell, CEO, Jeremy Burton, CMO, and Ray O’Farrell, VMware CTO and GM of the new division all spoke to a large group of international journalists, analysts, and influencers Tuesday October 10 to unveil the new division and a host of other news.
Since the “things” of the Internet of Things are generally smart, Dell Technologies dubbed the new initiative as IQT or the IQ of Things.
[Dell Technologies provides transportation and a room for me to attend its events and sometimes compensates me for some of the interviews and writing I do. However, what I write and say is purely mine.]
Takeaway: Dell is seriously approaching manufacturing along with other industries in its IoT push. It approaches the great IT/OT divide from the IT side of things rather than my usual sources who are from the OT side.
Dell introduced me to its IoT work about two years ago. I’ve watched the group grow. Then came the mega-acquisition/merger between Dell and EMC forming Dell Technologies. Read the press release below and the bulleted highlights carefully and notice that the merger is well along in optimization. Often these mergers consume management time for years. In this case, a mere year has passed and much integration has been accomplished.
By the way, Dell set up a “Newsdesk” before the event where they interviewed the six Influencers invited. Here is a link to my interview. Others included Bob Egan, William McCabe (who interestingly enough had just spent time in my hometown of Jackson Center, Ohio–how’s that for weird), Eric Vanderburg, Tamara McCleary, and Dan Newman.
- New IoT Era Heralds Return to ‘Distributed Computing’
- New “Distributed Core” computing model the basis of IoT strategy
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to work in concert with IoT infrastructure to deliver smarter, more predictive systems
- New Dell Technologies IoT Division to orchestrate development of products and services across Dell Technologies.
- New IoT specific products, labs and partner program help customers speed implementation of IoT projects
- Dell Technologies to invest $1B in IoT R&D over next three years
Rather than the usual marketing speak of a press release, this one is well crafted. So, I present to you the full press release from Dell Technologies diving into the announcements
Dell Technologies today unveiled 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. The announcement underscores Dell Technologies commitment to helping customers realize their digital future by safely navigating the complex and often fragmented IoT landscape.
IoT, a New Distributed Model for Computing
As more and 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.
New Dell Technologies IoT Division
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.”
Organic Investments in our IoT Future – Products, Labs, Partner Program
Over the next three years, Dell Technologies is investing $1B in new IoT products, solutions, labs, partner program and ecosystem.
Today 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.
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;
- ‘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;
- 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 industry leaders 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.
- 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.
Customers can also now visit one of the newly designed Dell Technologies IoT Labs.
New IoT services initiatives include:
- IoT Vision Workshop – identifies and prioritizes high-value business use cases for IoT data – essentially how and where to deploy IoT analytics that drive business.
- IoT Technology Advisory – 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 award-winning IoT Solutions Partner Programis 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 announcementthat 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. Dell Technologies Capital will be showcasing some of these startups and investments at the company’s New York IQT event, including:
- Edico Genome, creator of world’s first processor designed to analyze next-generation sequencing data
- FogHorn Systems, a leading developer of edge-device intelligence software for IoT solutions
- Graphcore, a developer of next-generation processors optimized to accelerate AI-solutions
- Moogsoft, a market leader in applying Artificial Intelligence to IT Ops (AIOps)
- Zingbox, a developer of IoT security solutions to enable the Internet of Trusted Things
Dell Technologies family consists of the following brands: Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, Secureworks, Virtustream and VMware.
Some interesting technology trends are developing concerning impact on the future workforce. Liam Quinn, sr. VP and CTO Dell Technologies, talked with me a couple of weeks ago about the results of research and a report with the Institute For The Future detailing these trends. The report is not specifically about manufacturing, but the ideas were all applicable.
Part of the discussion focused on a future workforce—what it will look like, what tools it’ll use, how it’ll use the tools, and so forth. That started a thought process about how we would train people for this new technological world. How do we get the maximum number of people (students) involved so that they do not get left behind.
Those thoughts led to my Dell Technologies contact sending me a link to a blog by Ari Lightman, Distinguished Service Professor, Digital Media and Marketing at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. He co-leads the Chief Information Security Officer Executive Education and Certification Program and is Commercialization Advisor for the Center for Machine Learning and Health. Ari is also Director of the CIO Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He teaches classes focused on assessing and measuring the impact of emerging technologies, including Digital Transformation.
How influenced are you by dystopian science fiction? Lightman begins his essay referring to how sci fi movies often depict future technology that is opposed to humans. Elon Musk is garnering headlines by talking about the evils of artificial intelligence.
Quinn discussed the future workforce of human-machine partnership in particular glowing terms with obvious excitement about the possibilities. I was curious about preparing for that positive future. So, we’ll dive into Lightman’s thoughts.
Says Lightman, “Questions we all should be thinking about: How will we interface with these emerging technologies? What are potential hurdles that need to be addressed? In the future, where human and machine interaction is seamless, does everyone benefit or are parts of society left behind? These secondary and tertiary impacts of an increasingly digitized world need to be examined and developed along with input not just from consumers and technologists but also from economists, regulators, ethicists, etc.”
Discussing conferences and colloquia at Carnegie Mellon, he states, “ The question is, what do organizations need to do today? When I look around the audience at these talks and get a chance to speak with participants, their enthusiasm often gives way to confusion and disillusionment when they try to reconcile where they currently are in this idealized future portrayed by the speaker.”
How do we cope with these thoughts, fears, and expectations in order to prepare for the future? Lightman suggests taking a pragmatic view.
The first step is to develop resiliency. – Remember the old saying “You have to get back on the horse that threw you”. Shocks will occur and they will become more frequent, so how do organizations adapt and learn how to minimize these disruptive shocks – become more resilient? Those who are complacent will become disenfranchised. The organizations my institution has worked with, and who we consider ahead of the curve, have put some of the following into place:
Build a Culture around Data
At Carnegie Mellon University, courses in Deep Learning, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and other ways to interpret data have exploded and will continue to grow in popularity. From an organization perspective, how do we operationalize data-driven discoveries; what are the appropriate governance structures; how do we prepare (understand, predict and organize) around new regulations concerning privacy (e.g. GDPR), how do we incorporate security (proactive and reactive) into the beginning of any development effort (not simply as a bolt on); how do we provide appropriate levels of education on different data types, stores, analytical methods and interpretation?
There is an explosion of data, coming from a multitude of different sources in a variety of forms resulting in a slew of possible interpretations. How do we explain this to various stakeholders with different objectives and levels of expertise? Hint: Learn how to tell effective stories.
Build a Safe Place for Experimentation
If disruptive shocks and complexity are increasing and the pace of technological innovations is accelerating; organizations will need to learn how to experiment. Too many unknowns leading to indecisiveness can be addressed through experimentation.
Embrace Uncomfortable Discussions
There is no covering up that disruption will lead to displacement. An open dialogue on how technological advance will impact industries, companies and employees needs to occur to level set expectations and prepare the workforce.
We spend an inordinate amount of time and money on understanding consumers and little on our own employees. Effective use of technology is predicated on understand motivation and incentives, utilization requirements, and adoption patterns. We are approaching the most inter-generational workforce ever, resulting in different behavior patterns, learning modalities and preferred ways of working. Knowing your employees can help with smoother technical adoption, understanding of consumer behavior and the four other initiatives mentioned.
I suggest reading the entire essay, but I like these ideas. A lot of wisdom there.
Human-Machine Partnership. I love that phrase. It is in the title of the recent research report from the Institute for the Future and Dell Technologies. I wrote about the technology side of the report in my last post. This post will highlight the human and partnership sides of the report.
Takeaway: The way we work with technology in the near future will evolve into a partnership that can enhance human training and education building a workforce that is effective and focused on continual learning.
Challenge: The optimism in the report needs to be tempered by the question—will this only benefit the few self-motivated youth and those whose parents push them? How can we remake our institutional education (which is now global) such that we can provide mentors and a different way of motivating kids and young adults (as well as us old guys) into continual and self-paced learning?
From the report:
Recent conversations, reports, and articles about the intersection of emerging technologies and society have tended to promote one of two extreme perspectives about the future: the anxiety-driven issue of technological unemployment or the optimistic view of tech-enabled panaceas for all social and environmental ills. Perhaps a more useful conversation would focus on what the new relationship between technology and society could look like, and what needs to be considered to prepare accordingly. By framing the relationship between humans and machines as a partnership, we can begin to build capacity in machines to improve their understanding of humans, and in society and organizations, so that more of us are prepared to engage meaningfully with emerging technologies.
However, it would be a fallacy to assume that technology is making human effort redundant. It’s doubtful that computers will have fully mastered the fundamental, instinctive skills of intuition, judgment, and emotional intelligence that humans value by 2030. Over the next decade, partnering with machines will help humans transcend their limitations.
Human-machine partnerships will enable people to find and act on information without interference of emotions or external bias, while also exercising human judgment where appropriate. They’ll learn to team up with technologies integrated with machine learning tools to help activate and deactivate the resources they need to manage their daily lives. And they’ll partner with AR/VR technologies to develop necessary work skills, blending experiential media with human judgement to perform well at work.
Their ability to evaluate talent will also be bolstered by VR/AR technology, which will increase managers’ ability to evaluate a worker’s aptitude for gaining new knowledge or learning new skills and applying this knowledge to a new scenario.
By 2030, populations’ needs and resources will be orchestrated by self-learning, digital technologies, allowing humans to take the role of digital resource conductors. Technology will work as an extension of people, helping orchestrate, manage, and automate many day-to-day activities. And because the technology will be woven into everyone’s lives (some will even be implanted), and personalized to the individual, some needs will be met often before people even realize they have them. These digital technologies will be integrated with machine learning to create a population of digital orchestration systems, harnessing technology to arrange and direct resources to produce a desired result.
By 2030, many will be savvy digital orchestra conductors, relying on their suite of personal technologies, including voice-enabled connected devices, wearables, and implantables; to infer intent from their patterns and relationships, and activate and deactivate resources accordingly.
By 2030, expectations of work will reset and the landscape for organizations will be redrawn, as the process of finding work gets flipped on its head. As an extension of what is often referred to as the ‘gig economy’ today, organizations will begin to automate how they source work and teams, breaking up work into tasks, and seeking out the best talent for a task.
As the transfer of knowledge will be increasingly offloaded to emerging technologies, individuals will shoulder the burden of using these new technologies to acquire necessary skills to demonstrate proficiency. As a result, people will need to know how to access information and learn through immersive and experimental media such as AR and VR. (Big fear, can we restructure education so that we lessen the divide between digital haves and have nots? Or do we continue to stratify society?
INDIVIDUAL SKILLS & TRAITS
- Contextualized intelligence: nuanced understanding of culture, society, business, and people
- Entrepreneurial mindset: applying creativity, learning agility, and an enterprising attitude to find workarounds and circumvent constraints
- Personal brand cultivation: a searchable and favorable digital identity as basic work hygiene
- Automation literacy: the nimble ability to integrate lightweight automation tools into one’s own work and home life
- Computational sensemaking: ability to derive meaning from blended machine and human-based outputs
ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS & TRAITS
- Business-driven security: embed security as a business strategy
- Eliminate latencies: exceed consumer expectations for real-time delivery
- Algorithmic branding: ensure algorithms align with organizational values
- Diversifying value of work: reset assumptions behind the value of work
- Inspire innovation: incent workers to deviate from machine-learned systems