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Four key takeaways from Dell's industrial IoT play

Industry observers have often been critical about the hype built around the Internet of Things (IoT) bandwagon; some even call the notion of IoT impractical for its lack of foresight and need to “speed to market.” However, unlike the flashy consumer IoT realms such as connected wearables, the Industrial IoT (IIoT) is for real and it’s here today.

In many ways, the IIoT’s story isn’t new because it’s a natural progression of the legacy technologies like industrial automation and machine-to-machine communications (M2M) that are focused on localization and control, and they’ve been around for quite some time.

The IIoT phenomenon turns the M2M black boxes with little data and little control into an interconnected world of sensors, devices like edge gateways, and data analytics tools for optimizing processes and predicting anomalies. The real-time monitoring, control, and predictions enabled by the IIoT infrastructure offer tangible value to segments such as manufacturing, industrial, and building automation, transportation and fleet logistics, agriculture, farming and more.

1. IIoT is an evolution of the existing industrial automation systems.

Another way to look at industrial IoT is through the lens of the convergence of operational technology (OT)—localized control systems using data monitoring to improve safety, production yield, automation quality and efficiency—with the information technology (IT) in a standard and interoperable manner.

Here, at this intersection of the OT and IT worlds, Dell,, seeing an opportunity in the rapidly emerging IIoT space, is integrating the data needs of the OT playfield with its trademark IT manageability from enterprise and manufacturing sector, and is taking the resulting IIoT products to the embedded world.

Here’s a sneak peek at the unique value proposition that Dell brings to the crowded IoT marketplace. First and foremost, Dell has recognized the fact that IIoT embodies an evolution from the existing technologies like M2M, and therefore, it’s enabling system integrators and builders to upgrade their industrial control environments to more intelligent IIoT systems in a pragmatic and flexible manner.

Dell has been picking the digital brain from its OEM clients’ manufacturing, automation, and monitoring operations for some time, and the outcome of this effort has led to the development of industrial IoT gateways and embedded PCs that are seamlessly integrated with the cloud and data center infrastructure for data analytics and control.

The second key value proposition that Dell brings to the IIoT marketplace is shorter lead times enabled by the agile use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and the firm’s long heritage in manufacturing and supply chain. Unlike design-to-order IIoT systems, which typically have long lead times, Dell’s Embedded Box PCs—3000 Series and 5000 Series—have reduced the lead time from months to weeks with a configure-to-order approach. This also helps to offset the need to order large quantities to ensure units are in stock, then incurring warehousing costs while technology on the PCs grows stale. Cost-effective price points and fast delivery apply at quantities from one, to ten, to dozens to hundreds.

Third, Dell has utilized its expertise in creating rugged laptops, tablets, and servers to ensure that its Embedded Box PCs for applications like factory control systems, retail kiosks, and transportation can withstand environmental constraints such as shock, vibration, and a wide range of operating temperatures. Dell’s 3000 Series and 5000 Series industrial PCs are designed  to have resistance to extreme temperature, humidity, vibration, shock, and dust exposure, and can be deployed both as headless or with keyboards, mice, and monitors.

2. Smart buildings are a testament to the industrial potential of the IoT.

Finally, Dell, having earned expertise in the hardware, software and cloud/infrastructure worlds, is uniquely positioned in the IIoT marketplace that favors end-to-end solutions offering support for the entire product lifecycle. Dell, acknowledging the crucial importance of a complete ecosystem, has brought together a diverse portfolio of partners with expertise in leading industries and use-cases to further enlarge its ecosystem.

Dell’s 3000 Series and 5000 Series Embedded Box PCs will be available in select countries starting in June.