Dell Taking Pragmatic, Strategic Approaches to IoT
Looking forward, company officials also are seeing how the company can evolve its offerings over time to meet the needs that businesses will have as the IoT continues to grow, she said. Mullen pointed to the idea of creating reference architectures for such scenarios as smart buildings, where the vendor can "set up [the architecture] once and use it over time." "There's a lot of interest [in the Internet of things]," she said. "There's a lot of expectations. This is unmapped territory." Liam Quinn, a Dell Fellow and director and CTO of Dell's OEM Solutions unit, said getting to the point where an organization can fully participate in the IoT and benefit from it "is a journey," one that is just getting underway. Along with building the technologies that vendors can offer businesses, there also is a lot of education that needs to be done—getting organizations comfortable with what the IoT is, what it will be, how they can benefit from it and what steps need to be taken, Quinn told eWEEK. Right now, most of what's going on revolves more around intranets of things—the connecting of devices within organizations—rather than an Internet of things, where these billions of devices from multiple businesses are all connected and communicating, he said. There is much to be done around security and standards before the full benefits of IoT can be recognized, he said. Standards groups like the OIC and AllSeen take time to get specifications released and used in a widespread fashion, Quinn said.At the same time, Dell is in an enviable position of having a large installed base of businesses already using the vendor's products and solutions, and relying on Dell's services, Mullen said. And the company is working to make those products fit in with the Internet of things. For example, Dell in May released Kace K1000 version 6.0, the latest iteration of its system management appliance that is designed to give businesses better visibility into the devices, systems and other endpoints—from printers and storage systems to networking switches and firewalls—that are connected to their networks. "The ability to envision all the devices connected to the corporate network is tied closely to overall IT wellbeing and security," Bill Odell, vice president of marketing for system management software at Dell, wrote in a post on the company blog when the new Kace offering was released. "With insufficient visibility, companies are exposed to undue security risks and vulnerabilities, all of which will grow exponentially as we enter the era of the 'Internet of things.'"
Dell has been active in a wide range of standards groups with the idea of driving open architectures that prevent vendor lock-in, he said, with the OIC being the latest example.