I first learned about Dell entering the Internet of Things (IoT) market last October at Dell World. It introduced its first product—Edge Gateway 5000—and partnership with Microsoft. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the founding of the division. It has come a long way in a year.
The division not only has a couple of Edge Gateway devices, it also has released its first embedded computers. The significant partnerships have extended to Intel and, with the one-year press release announcement, VMware.
It also held a successful Think Tank session at Hannover Messe that showed off the commitment of several partners and the potential benefits to customers.
Dell not only has aggressively signed on technology partners, it also has enlisted a number of OEM and integrator partners. Considering only a year passed since the division started, there were enough applications implemented that Dell and Intel hosted a “Connect What Matters” IoT Contest from October 2015 to March 2016 to encourage businesses large and small to submit interesting, practical, data-driven ideas. There were many submissions leading to announcement of 16 winners with $600,000 in total prizes.
VMware, Nokia, Eurotech and others joined the program, while DGLogik , Exara, and FogHorn were promoted from Registered to Associate tier.
“We’re proud of the progress that we’ve made this past year,” said Andy Rhodes, executive director, Commercial IoT Solutions, Dell. “With the launch of the Edge Gateway and Embedded Box PCs, our quickly growing partnership program and now our successful IoT Gateway Contest, our efforts underscore Dell’s deep commitment to driving IoT adoption for real world use.”
IoT Contest Winners
The platinum winner is V5 Systems , a provider of portable, solar-powered security and Industrial IoT solutions. This technology can be deployed without being tied to power or data cables for applications from law enforcement to agriculture to other outdoor uses. The portable units contain analytics, multiple sensors (including video, acoustic and chemical detection), power, computing and Wi-Fi and cellular communications. V5 evolved its intelligent security platform to support more use cases and technologies by working with Dell OEM Services to provide intelligent gateways for use at the edge of networks expanding Industrial IoT applications.
Gold winners include:
- Eigen Innovations who built a video analytics solution that leverages thermal imaging cameras and PLC/sensor data for real-time process and quality control
- Iamus leveraged its IoT platform and facilities management expertise to build a unique smart streetlamp solution for various applications in smart city project.
- n.io applied its unique technology to turn a manually-dependent, subjective farming operation into a highly-instrumented and autonomous example of precision agriculture
- RiptideIO created a packaged software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution designed to scale in small retail building spaces
- Software AG built a predictive maintenance solution that includes in memory edge analytics for acting on collected machine data in real-time
Silver winners include AZLOGICA , Blue Pillar , Calibr8 Systems Inc, Daliworks , ELM Energy , Independent Automation , Onstream , PixController, Inc, , PV Hardware and We Monitor Concrete.
IoT Partner Program
Dell’s continued expansion of its IoT Partner Program , which now consists of almost 50 companies, is designed to offer customers a broad spectrum of industry-specific expertise in conjunction with Dell’s reputation as a global leader in computing technology.
Additionally, VMware has qualified its new Liota (Little IoT Agent) open-source software development kit (SDK) with Dell’s IoT hardware, providing customers with further choice for IoT gateway management and the ability to build apps on Dell’s gateway. LIOTA also acts as a bridge to VMware’s AirWatch and VMware vRealize Operations to allow customers to configure, monitor and deploy millions of things from one console, view device health and act on anomalies as they arise. With Liota open-source SDK, developers can write applications that interact with any data center component, over any transport, for any IoT gateway.
In the spirit of the program, three partners that have demonstrated differentiation have been promoted from the Registered to Associate tier. DGLogik offers an end-to-end platform for Industrial IoT and Building Automation applications with a particular focus on enabling the rapid creation of rich data visualizations with its DGLux offering. Exara is collaborating with Dell and Intel to deliver digital oil and gas production optimization solutions that leverage software-based edge data management technology. Exara’s software delivers machine data at any fidelity, any view and always on -demand to enterprise customers and applications without compromising existing industrial control system security or service levels. FogHorn’s platform is purpose-built to enable edge intelligence and analytics for gateways in Industrial IoT use cases, hosting high performance processing, analytics, and heterogeneous applications closer to control systems and physical sensors. Also joining the program as new Associate partners are KMC Controls, Eurotech, Nokia, and V5 Systems.
“Working with Dell h as allowed us the opportunity to expand our product offering and our product vision with the Industrial IoT as our primary focus,” said Mazin Bedwan, Co -Founder and President, V5 Systems. “We have integrated the Dell IoT gateway into our technology offering taking edge computing and Industrial IoT to the outdoors; where it belongs.”
“Working together with our customers and partners, including gateway vendors such as Dell, VMware is paving a way for IoT innovation across industries,” said BaskIyer, chief information officer, VMware. “Our Liota open source SDK provides the libraries to develop apps that connect and orchestrate data and control flows across things, gateways and the cloud.”
“As IoT moves from hype to reality, the diversity of applications an d use cases among the IoT Innovation contest winners clearly demonstrates the value developers and customers can capture by implementing real IoT solutions.” said Jonathan Ballon, vice president in the Internet of Things Group (IOTG) and general manager of the Markets and Channels Acceleration Division from Intel. “Through our partnership, Dell and Intel are able to provide re-usable building blocks that will help these applications scale in the future.”
During Hannover Messe in April, Dell and Intel sponsored a Think Tank session. I had the privilege to moderate the session. They brought in several partner companies to discuss Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. The first report from the session was reported here, Dell IoT Think Tank At Hannover Sees Bright Future.
[Update: The video clips are now available on YouTube.]
First we discussed whether the Internet of Things is really a disruptive force for industry. And why.
Josef Brunner, Relayr—an MES supplier, said, “For our customers it’s all about competitive pressure. They tell us they need protect their core—services, margins. That’s why predictive maintenance is important. They are also finding new business models around the IoT.”
Ole Borgbjerg of Kepware, noted, “Suddenly there are millions of devices. How do we connect them? Also, the data will be unstructured. Our challenge is how do we provide value to the customers?”
Chet Hullum, Intel, suggested that we don’t have to peer to far into the future. “What can you do now with the technology we have?” But he voiced a question on the minds of many in the automation community, “Is IoT going to disrupt automation and controls?”
To which Tom Burke, president of the OPC Foundation, responded that IoT is scaring the PLC people. For example, he added, “Look at the example of the ExxonMobil request for quote, ‘If the DCS vendor won’t do it, we’ll go out to someone else and look there’.”
Oliver Niedung Microsoft, said, “We couldn’t innovate IT before in many companies. Maybe they were too small. But with the cloud, now they can innovate and find new business models.”
Finally, the representative from ERP supplier SAP, Timothy Kaufmann, brought up still another disruptive possibility, “Look at pay-per-use. Customers don’t want to buy a machine, they want to buy its output. For this they need IoT.”
How disruptive is IoT to industry technologies and practices? The consensus of the panel held that IoT is truly a disruptive technology. The suppliers are laying plans and developing technologies and products to exploit this for the benefit of their customers—and their own success.
The IoT is going to enable a distributed control architecture. Placing lower-cost powerful computing and networking devices close to the edge suggests not only a new architecture but also interesting ideas for new uses.
Intel’s Hullum, suggested, “Ancillary equipment brings the IoT to fruition. We could cut network bandwidth. We don’t need the pump to report 2,000 times per second it’s on. We just need the anomaly. We can do that at the edge. But we will also need tools to find the experts and match to data we are collecting and analyzing at the edge.”
Niedung from Microsoft, countered, “Some customers want all the data just in case they need to analyze everything. Others just want the exceptions. So, we need to support both.”
Kaufmann from SAP taking the broad view noted, “Customers need to architect their system intentionally to allow for their needs and how they can/will collect data. We also must educate customers on what data they really need. It’s not big data, but smart data.”
Kepware’s Borgbjerg pointed out that the RTU people missed it. “We’re really talking about the old RTUs, but they didn’t keep up with the technologies and use cases. We need a platform, not just for communication but to make decisions.”
Jürgen Kletti, from MES supplier MPDV, reported that customers need the data to make better decisions faster.
Relayr’s Brunner, found that customers have much data locked in machines. Therefore, they build a very simple retrofit kit to get the information out of it.
No discussion of the near future trend for industry is complete without considering what is going to happen with all the retirements that will occur over the next 5-10 years.
Hullum pointed out the problem with talent in the plants. “We need help with workforce. We need technology to help bring new people up to speed. Somehow we must input knowledge quickly to the new people entering without an industrial background.”
Nicola Tsirigotis from Knapp pointed to a common perception of the new generation. “We need younger engineers, but they don’t read documentation. They watch YouTube.” The point being how we reach and educate them. Are we ready?
Collaboration for IoT
Dell’s Helmuth Schmidt, moving the discussion to the famous IT/OT divide, “Why still are not more companies not doing something about that problem?”
Kepware’s Borgbjerg took the question an interesting direction, “What are we trying to sell? A total solution? But you can’t go to IT if you don’’t have support at lower level. We (suppliers) need to get all in the same room.”
We are now building IT protocols and ideas into OT networks, for example security. Now that the technology is beginning to resemble each other more, both IT and OT feel better about what’s happening. More problems have been due to lack of coordination of technologies than from organization.
Dr. Valentijn De Leeuw, ARC, summed up the collaboration discussion, “We need to bring people together. We need both strategy and structure. Then add some governance. We begin with what is available today that I can still connect and extend. Make it interoperable when I add more stuff so that it continues to work.”
This Think Tank idea was a new one for me. Dell’s hope was twofold—generate many ideas; foster collaboration among its partners (and Dell, of course). This brief summary of two hours of discussion exemplifies the breadth and depth of the discussion.
Faced with a declining market for desktop PCs and a burgeoning market for embedded PC, Dell has announced launch of its first purpose-built industrial PC (IPC) products. This release complements its entry into the Internet of Things market announced last fall at Dell World. [Note: I do some work with Dell on IoT issues, but that has no bearing on reporting this.]
Dell reckons its competitive edge moving into this market include supply chain expertise leading to short lead times, enterprise-class lifecycle, stability, service, built-in security, and global support.
“Customers have consistently told us that current embedded solutions do not meet the level of cost-effective sophistication, scale and support they need for these to be a critical, reliable component of their operations,” said Andy Rhodes, executive director, Commercial IoT Solutions, Dell. “Along with our new embedded products that can be ordered in quantities from one to thousands, Dell will bring our established business heritage to this new market: global scale, end-to-end IT and OT security portfolio, flexible payment solutions, strong customization and award-winning service and support.”
Embedded PC Highlights:
The new Embedded Box PCs offer wired and wireless input/output (I/O) options. The 3000 Series is powered by Intel Atom processors and designed for space-constrained applications, such as retail kiosks, automated vending devices and vehicles.
The 5000 Series is optimized for performance and I/O scalability. Powered by Intel Core processors, it includes two PCI/PCIe card slots for adaptability. It provides high-bandwidth for industrial PC and IoT use cases (multi-HD video streaming apps and high frequency sensor data sources) as well as manufacturing and automation control.
- Operating temperature range from 0°C to 50°C
- Designed to MIL-STD 810G specifications
- DIN-rail, VESA, or wall mount options
- 5-year lifecycle and OEM-ready options
- Global availability with Dell Support and Deployment services
- Microsoft Windows 7 Pro, Windows 7 Embedded, Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSB, and Ubuntu Desktop operating systems
Customers can take advantage of Dell’s global availability, trusted security and manageability options, and Dell Support and Deployment services including ProSupport which provides up to five years of end-to-end hardware support for the entire IoT product lifecycle, helping customers maximize their environment and minimize time spent on maintenance. Dell also provides flexible payment solutions to qualified embedded PC customers through Dell Financial Services, a full-service finance company that annually funds approximately U.S. $4 billion of IT equipment for Dell customers across consumer and commercial business segments.
The Embedded Box PC 5000 Series and 3000 Series will be available in select countries in summer 2016 starting at USD $1,099 and $1,699.
Anyone who thinks PCs when the company name Dell comes up (“Hey, Dude, You’re getting a Dell.”) has missed the company’s growth over the past decade. I’ve written about its new foray into Internet of Things with a product specifically targeted at manufacturing industries. The company has announced some advances in its High Performance Computing platform.
High Performance Computing
These advances include innovative new systems designed to simplify mainstream adoption of HPC and data analytics in research, manufacturing and genomics. Dell also unveiled expansions to its HPC Innovation Lab and showcased next-generation technologies including the Intel Omni-Path Fabric.
HPC is becoming increasingly critical to how organizations of all sizes innovate and compete. Many organizations lack the in-house expertise to configure, build and deploy an HPC system without losing focus on their core science, engineering and analytic missions. As an example, according to the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, 98 percent of all products will be designed digitally by 2020, yet 95 percent of the center’s 300,000 manufacturing companies have little or no HPC expertise.
“HPC is no longer a tool only for the most sophisticated researchers. We’re taking what we’ve learned from working with some of the most advanced, sophisticated universities and research institutions and customizing that for delivery to mainstream enterprises,” said Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager, Engineered Solutions and Cloud, Dell. “As the leading provider of systems in this space, Dell continues to break down barriers and democratize HPC. We’re seeing customers in even more industry verticals embrace its power.”
Accelerating Mainstream Adoption
Dell HPC System Portfolio, a family of HPC and data analytics solutions, combines the flexibility of custom systems with the simplicity, reliability and value of a preconfigured, factory-built system that includes:
- Simplified design, configuration, and ordering in a matter of hours instead of weeks;
- Domain-specific design that’s designed and tuned by Dell engineers and domain experts for specific science, engineering and analytics workloads using flexible industry-standard building blocks; and,
- Fully tested and validated systems by Dell engineering with a single point of hardware support and a wide range of additional service options.
New application-specific Dell HPC System Portfolio offerings include:
- Dell HPC System for Genomic Data Analysis is designed to meet the needs of genomic research organizations to enable cost-effective bioinformatics centers delivering results and identifying treatments in clinically relevant timeframes while maintaining compliance and protecting confidential data. The platform is a result of key learnings from Dell’s relationship with Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) to help clinical researchers and doctors expand the reach and impact of the world’s first Food and Drug Administration-approved precision medicine trial for pediatric cancer. TGen has been able to improve outcomes for more patients by creating targeted treatments at least one week faster than they could be accomplished previously.
- Dell HPC System for Manufacturing is designed for customers running complex manufacturing design simulations using workstations, clusters or both. Applicable use cases include Finite Element Analysis for structural analysis using ANSYS Mechanical & Computational Fluid Dynamics for predicting fluid behavior in designs utilizing ANSYS Fluent or CD-adapco STAR-CCM+.
- Dell HPC System for Research is designed as a foundation, or reference architecture, for baseline research systems and numerous applications involving complex scientific analysis. This standard cluster configuration can be used as a starting point for Dell’s customers and systems engineers to quickly develop research systems that match the unique needs of research customers requiring systems for a wide variety of research agendas.
Accelerating HPC Technology Innovation and Partnerships
Dell announced a new expansion of its Dell HPC Innovation Lab in cooperation with Intel specifically for support of its Intel Scalable System Framework. This multi-million dollar expansion to the Austin, Texas, facility includes additional domain expertise, infrastructure and technologists. The lab is designed to unlock the capabilities and commercialize the benefits of advanced processing, network and storage technologies as well as enable open standards across the industry.
Beyond becoming the first major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to join the Intel Fabric Builders program, Dell is working closely with Intel to support its Intel Scalable System Framework, which includesIntel Omni-Path Fabric technology, next-generation Intel Xeon processors, the Intel Xeon Phi processor family, and the Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre. Announcements include:
- New Dell Networking H-Series switches and adapters for PowerEdge servers featuring the Intel Omni-Path Architecture. These provide a next-generation fabric technology designed for HPC deployments. The architecture includes advanced features such as traffic flow optimization, packet integrity protection and dynamic lane scaling allowing for finer-grained control on the fabric level to enable high resiliency, high performance and optimized traffic movement.
- Dell and Intel support for the Linux Foundation’s OpenHPC community. The community is designed to provide a common platform on which end-users can collaborate and innovate to simplify the complexity of installation, configuration and ongoing maintenance of implementing a custom software stack and easing a path to exascale.
“We’re excited to collaborate with Dell to bring advanced systems to market early next year using the Intel Scalable System Framework,” said Charles Wuischpard, vice president and general manager of HPC Platform Group at Intel. “Dell’s position as our largest and fastest-growing customer for Intel Enterprise Edition for Lustre, their work on Omni-Path Architecture and next-generation Intel Xeon Phi, and their initiatives to expand the Dell Innovation Lab demonstrate their commitment to rapidly expanding the ecosystem for HPC.”
Dell and Mellanox announced additional investment in Dell’s existing HPC Innovation Lab to provide an end-to-end EDR 100Gb/s InfiniBand supercomputer system. The system is designed to showcase extreme scalability by leveraging the offloading capabilities and advanced acceleration engines of the Mellanox interconnect as well as provide application specific benchmarking, and characterizations for customers and partners.
“With this new investment, Dell’s HPC Innovation Lab will now enable new levels of applications efficiency and innovative research capabilities. Together we will help build the solutions of the future,” said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing, Mellanox Technologies.
- The Dell HPC System for Genomic Data Analysis is available today.
- The Dell HPC Systems for Manufacturing and Research will be available in early 2016.
- The Dell Networking H-series switches, adapters and software based on the Intel Omni-Path Architecture will be available in the first half of 2016.