Over the last few weeks I've been laying out a technical vision for Dell Technologies. The vision is intended to make clear an industry direction for the technology divisions that make up Dell Technologies: Dell Client, Dell EMC, SecureWorks, VMware, and Pivotal.
After describing the two industry benefits that this vision will bring (infrastructure optimization and innovation enablement), the follow-on post identified two important layers in the Dell Technologies portfolio: endpoint technologies and cloud infrastructure technologies. I then explained that these layers can be combined together through a set of rich cloud services. The diagram below highlights these three layers.
This visualization indicates that both Dell and EMC (pre-merger) contribute to each layer. For example, in a previous post I used the picture below to show both companies' contributions into Endpoint Technologies.
In this post I'd like to focus on the specific endpoint technology contributions made by Dell. I worked closely with Dell technologists Gaurav Chawla and Lee Zaretsky to understand as much as possible about the existing breadth of the Dell Client portfolio and potential future directions. In particular I asked Lee to propose a view into the Dell Client portfolio in the context of the left-to-right color scheme being used to describe the vision (blue is second platform optimization and green is third platform innovation). The product groupings shown above indicate the following:
These type of products have long represented the sweet spot of Dell's innovation efforts and will be a continued focus for Dell Technologies going forward. While some of these products are targeted towards the consumer market (e.g. XPS, Alienware), in this post I will emphasize the commercial market, where a high degree of manageability, security, and robustness are required. Each device can be deployed in a variety of business verticals: industrial, automotive, health, and oil and gas (to name a few). These endpoint technologies can be deployed in any use case where visualizing and generating data (be it graphical or textual) is required. While it is true that these client devices "grew up" in the client/server era (the blue shading in the diagram), they will continue to drive emerging use cases (green shading) for newer markets such as augmented reality and IoT. The data that they generate and display in conjunction with edge computing and upstream data centers makes these endpoints a critical part of the go-forward vision of a Digital Business Platform that spans all the way from the downstream endpoints (IoT&P) to the upstream cloud infrastructure.
In summary, these devices allow any commercial business to interact seamlessly with their employees (known as the "P" - people - in IoT&P).
I/O expansion products are wired or wireless docks that support a distributed computing model in a variety of differing environments.
The gateway solutions are not just interfaces that pass data (upstream) to cloud infrastructure for processing. The gateways can also implement rules based on some level of rudimentary machine intelligence, and they can facilitate local decisions made with very low latency happening at the gateway and locally (downstream) between controls and sensors. Certain data will be sent to upstream fog computing or cloud computing infrastructure for big data analytics, decision making, and policy definition/enforcement. Consider the following use cases where both gateways and I/O expansion products would be relevant:
- Building Security
- Environmental control systems
- Camera/sensor systems and video surveillance
- Predictive maintenance in industrial environments
The products listed above give full, bi-directional access to the Internet of People and Things. As I described in a previous post, a strong interplay between downstream (client/endpoint technologies) and upstream (enterprise fog and cloud computing infrastructure) interactions can be combined (along with the cloud services layer in between) to form a next-generation Digital Business Platform that can programmatically (and automatically) influence business outcomes by interacting with both people and things.
In order for Dell Technologies' endpoint products to be run in this type of environment, each device must go through a rigorous design process. This process will result in devices that are best-in-class for qualities such as best display capability, best power characteristics, best wi-fi functionality, etc. Additionally, these devices will satisfy a set of anchor usages while also enabling Dell Technologies to pursue new markets. I will address many of these issues in an additional drill-down post.
Dell Technologies Fellow