AUSTIN, Texas – At its annual Dell World conference, the PC giant took a bigger step into the Internet of Things. Dell announced a new IoT gateway with embedded analytics, initially for industrial automation and transit, and a new custom IoT engineering team.
“The explosion in devices is really just beginning,” CEO Michael Dell said during a keynote speech. “[Machine-to-machine] communications, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, drones, [and] enormous amounts of sensors are the next trillion dollar opportunity for growth in connectivity. The ability of business to compete will be its ability to process and analyze that application.”
The Dell Edge Gateway 500 series meant to aggregate IoT data is based on the Intel Atom processor E3800 family and runs at 1.3-1.75 GHz. It has expanded input and output interfaces, a wide range of operating temperatures, and access to data analytics capabilities along with a flexible choice of OSes.
The Dell Edge Gateway will be available in select countries in December 2015. Source: Dell
“Organizations are struggling to make the best decisions regarding the data volume and complexity created by the vast numbers of sensors, embedded systems and connected devices now on the network,” Andy Rhodes, executive director of Dell Commercial IoT Solutions, said in a release. “As more of the data is processed in real time at the edge of the network, the gateway becomes the spam filter for IoT.”
But the head of Dell’s OEM solutions believes gateways “are just a gap.” The tier one companies that traditionally make gateways have different ideas on process control and don’t have the scale to provide support to the 20+ billion connected devices expected by 2020.
“The value to the customer is all the stuff that happens post-gateway. It’s in the analytics, it’s in the insights in the connections, in the back office trend analysis,” said Joyce Mullen, general manager of Dell's OEM group.
The Edge Gateway has built-in analytics services that will allow companies to extend the benefits of cloud computing to the network edge. But it's still early days in IoT, said Mullen
“The instrumentation of new environments that have been previously out of reach is very new,” Mullen said, adding that data in existing M2M deployments is moving from analog to digital.
“The I/Os in legacy systems out there are really different," she said. "If you go into a utility today and put your gateway in there, how you suck info out of the sensors requires very different protocols, input devices, and contacts into a device -- there’s not a lot of standardization in the industry,” she added.
Dell aims to make connections less challenging by providing support and a 90-engineer customization team for new IoT players. Mullen hopes that the gateway, new servers, and a hybrid cloud platform developed with Microsoft will drive customers into Dell’s arms and away from other smaller vendors who may be able to provide a lower price but don’t have the same scale.
“The business is super fragmented so lots of people participate,” she said. “There’s a lot of little guys but our scale our global support and ability, cost of engineering, and custom services are pretty differentiated,” she said.
Dell also hopes to incorporate security and privacy on every level. Both goals require standardization, which Mullen said is slow coming and likely won’t shake out for another five years.
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times