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Dell unveils IoT strategy

Dell Technologies has unveiled its Internet of Things (IoT) vision and strategy, a new IoT division as well as new IoT specific products, labs, partner program and consumption models.

The company says the announcement underscores Dell Technologies’ commitment to helping customers realise their digital future by safely navigating the complex and often fragmented IoT landscape.

Dell Technologies provided the following information:

As more and more customers look to digitally transform their business, a new model of computing is emerging. For the last 15 years the IT industry has seen the rise of Cloud Computing, a highly centralised model for delivering IT services.  But in an age where every type of device, from phones to cars to light bulbs to thermostats to heart monitors are alive and intelligent, there is a requirement for distributed, real time, processing of information. These devices simply cannot wait for a response from centralised cloud infrastructure that may be ‘seconds’ away.

“IoT is fundamentally changing how we live, how organisations operate and how the world works” said Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Technologies. “Dell Technologies is leading the way for our customers with a new distributed computing architecture that brings IoT and artificial intelligence together in one, interdependent ecosystem from the edge to the core to the cloud. The implications for our global society will be nothing short of profound.”

Customers have expressed a growing need for one company to pull together complete IoT solutions that can be deployed within their organisations. Dell Technologies’ comprehensive approach to IoT is based on market leading technology and services and a carefully curated partner ecosystem designed to realise value for customers today and prepare them for the future.

New Dell Technologies IoT Division

The company’s new IoT Division will be led by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell, and is chartered with orchestrating the development of IoT products and services across the Dell Technologies family. The IoT Solutions Division will combine internally developed technologies with offerings from the vast Dell Technologies ecosystem to deliver complete solutions for the customer.

“Dell Technologies has long seen the opportunity within the rapidly growing world of IoT, given its rich history in the edge computing market” explained Ray O’Farrell, VMware EVP & CTO, and general manager for Dell Technologies IoT division.. “

“Our new IoT Division will leverage the strength across all of Dell Technologies family of businesses to ensure we deliver the right solution – in combination with our vast partner ecosystem – to meet customer needs and help them deploy integrated IoT systems with greater ease.”

Organic Investments in our IoT Future – Products, Labs, Partner Program

Over the next three years, Dell Technologies is investing $1B in new IoT products, solutions, labs, partner program and ecosystem.

Today Dell Technologies already provides Edge Gateways, which can be secured and managed by VMware IoT Control Center.  Dell EMC PowerEdge C-Series servers have been enhanced for batch training and machine learning as a part of the distributed core. Dell EMC Isilon and Elastic Cloud Storage provide file and object storage for massive amounts of data and enable analytics through HDFS. Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) and Pivotal Container Service (PKS) provide an ideal platform for developing new cloud-based analytics applications.  Virtustream’s PCF Service provides a managed Pivotal Cloud Foundry Service simplifying the deployment and operation of mission-critical cloud architected workloads in Virtustream Enterprise Cloud, while Virtustream Storage Cloud is available for off-premises cloud object storage. Finally, Dell Boomi rapidly connects relevant data to enhance cloud-based analytics and deep learning.

New product development initiatives include:

  • Dell EMC ‘Project Nautilus’: Software that enables the ingestion and querying of data streams from IoT gateways in real time.  Data can subsequently be archived to file or object storage for deeper advanced analytics;
  • ‘Project Fire’: a hyper converged platform part of the VMware Pulse family of IoT solutions that includes simplified management, local compute, storage and IoT applications such as real-time analytics. ‘Project Fire’ enables businesses to roll-out IoT use cases faster and have consistent infrastructure software from edge to core to cloud;
  • RSA ‘Project IRIS’: Currently under development in RSA Labs, Iris extends the Security Analytics capability to provide threat visibility and monitoring right out to the edge;
  • Disruptive technologies like processor accelerators will increase the velocity of analytics closer to the edge. Collaboration with industry leaders like VMware, Intel and NVIDIA and the Dell Technologies Capital investment in Graphcore reflect opportunities to optimise servers for AI, machine learning and deep learning performance.

Customers can also now visit one of the newly designed Dell Technologies IoT Labs.

New IoT services initiatives include:

  • Advisory services including strategic consulting to set business goals, direction and strategy, infrastructure design, deployment and support services.
  • Implementation of ‘Worldwide Herd’, consulting services for performing analytics on geographically dispersed data – increasingly important to enable deep learning on datasets that cannot be moved for reasons of size, privacy and regulatory concern.

In addition, with the core focus on technology and services, Dell Technologies’ strategy is to grow the IoT footprint via a strong partner program and ecosystem.

  • Dell’s award-winning IoT Solutions Partner Program is a carefully curated, multi-tiered program comprising more than 90 partners from enterprises like Intel, Microsoft and SAP to start-ups like Action Point, IMS Evolve, FogHorn and Zingbox.
  • The program will now support partners across all Dell Technologies businesses, allowing for easier collaboration and implementation of blueprints.
  • An example of the partner ecosystem at work is the recent announcement that VMware and SAP are collaborating to create an integrated solution for IoT analytics and vertical applications. The solution utilises VMware Pulse IoT Center, SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Leonardo and is designed to help customers roll out IoT use cases faster and scale more easily.

Dell Technologies continues the commitment to openness and standardisation in IoT by participation in efforts such as EdgeX Foundry, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the OpenFog Consortium. Seeded by Dell source code, EdgeX Foundry is a vendor-neutral open source project building a common interoperability framework to facilitate an ecosystem for edge computing. Since launching in April 2017, EdgeX Foundry has grown to more than 60 member organisations. Recently the project announced its first major milestone with the ‘Barcelona’ code release, as well as an alliance with the IIC to collaborate on testbeds.

IoT is creating new revenue models for customers and, in turn, new financing options. Dell Technologies provides customers with cloud-like payment flexibility through Dell Financial Services flexible consumption models. These payment solutions are available across the Dell Technologies family of business and allow customers flexibility in technology acquisition and consumption.

Investments in IoT Future through Dell Technologies Capital

Dell Technologies Capital, the venture arm of Dell Technologies, is partnering closely with the new IoT division, providing industry insight and relationships to support its strategic agenda. Through its investments in promising startups and founders, Dell Technologies Capital provides a valuable link to the external innovation ecosystem, effectively accelerating the development and deployment of new IoT, AI and ML technologies and solutions. Dell Technologies Capital will be showcasing some of these startups and investments at the company’s New York IQT event, including:

  • Edico Genome, creator of world’s first processor designed to analyse next-generation sequencing data
  • FogHorn Systems, a leading developer of edge-device intelligence software for IoT solutions
  • Graphcore, a developer of next-generation processors optimised to accelerate AI-solutions
  • Moogsoft, a market leader in applying Artificial Intelligence to IT Ops (AIOps)
  • Zingbox, a developer of IoT security solutions to enable the Internet of Trusted Things

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Cisco gives pre-owned tech a Refresh

In a market of constant upgrades, Cisco Refresh aims to keep quality product away from landfills, writes BRYAN TURNER.

When one gets a new smartphone upgrade, the old device may be used as a backup or can be used by someone else. In business environments, equipment upgrades may not be conducive to keeping old equipment around, which may send older, working equipment to landfills.

This is where Cisco’s Refresh initiative comes in. At Cisco Connect in Sun City this week, Ehrika Gladden, VP and general manager of Cisco Refresh, lifted the lid on a little-known aspect of the company’s strategy. 

“Refresh is Cisco’s global pre-owned equipment business unit,” said Gladden. “It is certified to meet the quality and engineering standards of Cisco. It is licensed for software and it’s also inclusive of a services warranty.

“Our responsibility in 80 countries around the world is tied to both the recovery of assets and the ability to leverage those assets at a lower price point. This ensures our sustainability and proper usage of the Earth’s resources while providing access to small and medium businesses. The products are typically in the range of 20-40% cheaper. The products represent the entire portfolio for Cisco in some part, the majority of that product set is 2+ years in terms of generation.”

Cisco’s Circular Economy initiative ensures a sustainable loop through businesses willing to pay a premium for the latest, cutting-edge solutions, while Cisco markets older, working equipment for resale to those who don’t require the latest solutions. This ensures far less new components need to be used in a product range.

“We are leveraging the model of remanufacturing, refurbishing, recycling, and reusing,” said Gladden. “Depending on the product set, there is a certain set of product yield that we expect. They vary from product to product, but we do have a percentage that doesn’t make it through.

“Those are always reused, meaning we will look at those products and decide to use them completely differently, leveraging the components, remanufacturing back into the overall build process. If that can’t be done, we will go into a recycle process where we melt those products down to reuse them.”

Repairing and refurbishing older products isn’t just that. Cisco is creating repair centres that are owned by third-parties to uplift local ownership.

“The repair centres, as a global manufacturer, is Cisco’s entree into local ownership,” said Gladden. “I want to be precise about what I mean by local ownership. It’s critical for us to have a localised presence, but doing that through ownership. When you look at inclusive economies, those that are participative, to be sustainable – not in the product set, but generationally.

“The ability as a global manufacturer through a local ownership model  isto create a repair centre where a product can be returned, screened, tested, and repaired, leveraging the talent that the Networking Academy is creating.”

Cisco is working closely with local governments to understand where it operates and how to leverage the skills in the market.

Gladden said: “We are also super excited about the National Development Plan and African Union statements which with we align: eradication of poverty, job creation, ownership, healthcare, education, it all fits in the model. So we were very excited to have the opportunity to come to Africa first to announce this. Over the next twelve months, we want to establish our first repair centres, and in the next 3 to 5 years, build that vision into a reality.”

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Why Data Privacy has become a Pipe Dream

If you’re active on WhatsApp, Facebook or any other social platform, you’re not as safe as you thought, writes
AARON THORNTON, MD of Dial a Nerd

As you begin to read this, let’s perform a quick experiment! How many active conversations are you engaged in – right now – on WhatsApp? When was the last time you shared a picture or video on Instagram? Is Facebook currently open and active on one of your devices? And how many internet- connected devices are you using at this moment? Chances are, you have multiple devices running multiple applications most of the time. So what’s the problem, you ask? Since when did checking in with a high school buddy in Australia via Facebook become a dangerous act?  

In reply, we say, read on if you can stomach it!  

Nation-State Hacking & You  

It might seem like a laughably long shot to say that you are a key player in the increasingly sinister and sophisticated world of nation-state hacking. Well, you are. Given that individuals, businesses and governments are now constantly connected, round the clock, consumers and businesses have become fair game in cyber espionage. And as we create and share more and more data, both the value and accessibility of that data increases. According to a report by McAfee, IP theft now accounts for more than 25% of the estimated $600 billion cost of cybercrime to the world economy.    

With data having become the ‘new gold’, nation states are naturally pouring investment and key resources into building advanced cyber warfare tools. Indeed, entire divisions of armed forces as well as the upper echelons of corporate leadership are devising ways to harness data to gain economic, political and social power. At the highest level, tools and platforms are being developed with the specific aim of perpetrating cyber espionage and data theft. No surprise then, that the consumer and business environments are rife with increasingly advanced malware, ransomware and many other malicious hacking tools and methods.  

Still not convinced? Yes, we can smell the scepticism from here! So let’s take a moment to see how this has already played out, beneath our noses.  

Remember the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal of early 2018? For many, this was a watershed moment in the emerging war for consumer data – and the ensuing tensions between privacy, power and profit. Need a refresh? Well, in 2018, Facebook exposed data on up to 87 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign. In essence, the data was harvested without user consent and used for political purposes.  

Another chilling but less direct example can be found in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. According to Politico, Russia launched a massive social media campaign to ‘sow discord’ leading up to the elections. The website reported that as early as 2014, an infamous Russian “troll farm” known as the Internet Research Agency – a company linked to Russian president Putin – developed a strategy using fraudulent bank accounts and other fake identity documents to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general.” 

When referring to the Russian hacks and their impact on election results, one U.S. Representative sagely noted: “They didn’t just steal data; they weaponized it.” 

Ignorance is not bliss 

Okay, so data is being ‘weaponized’, and ordinary people and businesses are being caught in the crosshairs of cyber warfare. A little bit frightening, but the good news is that savvy individuals like you can take steps to protect personal data and actively combat the creeping influence of juggernauts such as Facebook and Google.  

To begin with, awareness is key. As you engage with various platforms and applications at work and at home, take time to understand how your data is being used and what the terms of use are. Is your data being accessed and sold to advertisers? Have you consented to this? In addition to scrutinizing your consent, also pay close attention to how much data you share online – and the nature of the details you are divulging. Always keep in mind that hackers are employing smart social engineering tactics and using the details of your private life (birthdays, holidays, pet’s names, etc) to trick you into opening infected emails and clicking on malware. Whenever you are online, you are a target – and vigilance at all times is critical. Beyond that, it goes without saying that you must commit to following basic security protocols with your devices. So always keep software up to date and keep your data backed up so that you can reboot or wipe a device if needed.   

Now that we’ve left you sufficiently spooked, you can get back to those demanding WhatsApp/Facebook/Instagram notifications (same company, by the way)…albeit, we hope, with a slightly altered [cyber] worldview!  

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