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Dell creating an IoT ecosystem at the intersection of the Internet and things

Geoffrey Moore has chronicled in his bestseller book Inside the Tornado how Intel and Microsoft hugely benefited from partnerships in the PC era and also made a lot of companies rich on the way. He says, “The market’s goal is to serve the broadest number of customers possible by reducing cost and eliminating distribution friction.”

Then, there was redux in the next electronics industry boom—smartphones—when Apple and Google won the market by first creating overarching platforms and then building an entire ecosystem of hardware, software, applications, and services around them.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is inevitably the next electronics frontier, and here, partnerships are even a greater necessity due to the complexity of architectures and the need for end-to-end solutions. Moreover, these are still early days in the development of the IoT world and what we have right now is a highly fragmented landscape.


1. IoT encompasses various engineering stacks to cater to diverse use cases.

Now, as Moore wrote in his book, building a technology platform and creating an ecosystem around it requires the industry clout, and few companies have that clout. Dell, which entered the IoT market in 2015, is one such company with the clout to launch a multi-tiered ecosystem of technology providers and domain experts.

Dell, for its part, offers IoT gateways and embedded PCs along with datacenter and cloud infrastructure. Furthermore, the IT firm provides security and manageability tools as well as data integration and analytics software packages like Boomi and Statistica.

Dell has also unveiled the following five new accessories for its Edge Gateway: CAN bus card, IP65-rated rugged enclosure, ZigBee module, and I/O and power expansion modules. Next, Dell launched the cloud-based manageability software, Edge Device Manager (EDM), that offers centralized reporting and control of edge gateways from a single cloud-based console.

However, Dell as a platform owner, acknowledges the fact that IoT technologies and services need to be integrated more closely. So, instead of falling to the temptation of creating a one-stop shop, it’s cobbling an ecosystem of partners that includes independent software vendors, and system integrators.

2. Different partners can contribute to different IoT uses cases.

Take VMware, for instance, a leader in cloud infrastructure and business that works closely with Dell to build mature, tightly integrated solutions at each level of the IT ecosystem. Dell recently announced a series of solutions across its enterprise portfolio that optimize and simplify management and productivity within customers’ VMware virtualization environments. By extending the relationship between the two companies, developers receive a deeper product integration which leads to an accelerated adoption of network virtualization and open networking in the software-defined data center.

3. Dell combines with partners to ensure that every level of the IoT infrastructure is covered, providing an end-to-end solution.

Then, there’s Microsoft with its Windows 10 IoT operating system, formerly known as Windows Embedded, and Azure IoT suite for cloud services. Other industry luminaries that are part of the Dell IoT Solutions Partner Program include GE and SAP. More than 25 companies from multiple technology disciplines have joined Dell’s IoT partner program.