Dell OEM Business Looks to Leap to the Forefront
Dell is rolling out a preconfigured video surveillance system called SecurePOD, a product from the tech vendor's OEM Solutions unit, a group that has been around for more than 14 years but only now is making a push to raise its profile in the industry.
Speaking with eWEEK at the Intel Developer Forum this week in San Francisco, Joyce Mullen, vice president and general manager of Dell OEM Solutions, said SecurePOD is a good example of what her organization does: collaborate with other companies (in this case, Intel, Axis Communications, Ingram Micro and Milestone Systems) to leverage Dell systems and software to create a solution optimized for particular businesses or industries.
"We work in partnership with customers to create products," Mullen said.
A company may have an idea for a product, but doesn't have the money, interest or expertise to create the necessary underlying hardware infrastructure to make it or the supply chain, services, software or testing to support it. Dell's OEM Solutions group works with the company to create the needed environment—from the systems and chips to the operating system and other software—to get the product developed and to market, she said.
For Dell, it's another avenue for selling its product and services. The SecurePOD bundled offering is built upon Dell PowerEdge servers that were customized by the OEM unit and are powered by Intel's Xeon chips, and integrates software and camera solutions from Axis, Ingram Micro and Milestone.
The product comes as IT departments are becoming increasingly responsible for the management of physical security systems as video surveillance moves from being analog-based to being digital, according to Dell officials. They pointed to numbers from market research firm IDC indicating that the intelligent systems industry will grow into a $2 trillion market—accounting for more than a third of all major electronics systems sold—in 2015.
It's part of a larger trend of putting greater amounts of intelligence into a wide range of connected systems, creating what vendors and analysts are calling the Internet of Things. To take advantage of such growth, Dell joined Intel's Intelligent Systems Alliance in 2011. Dell's OEM Solutions unit and Intel have collaborated on more than 500 such OEM projects, according to Dell's Mullen.
Dell OEM Solutions is looking to increase its profile, she said. The OEM business represents a significant growth opportunity, with a market that has been tagged at $105 billion to $110 billion, about half of which is the telecommunications industry, Mullen said.
The midmarket also is a big part of the growth opportunity for Dell, Mullen said.
The OEM market is fragmented, with much of the competition coming from the likes of white-box makers, and other top-tier tech vendors are not invested in it to the degree that Dell is, she said. The OEM Solutions unit draws upon some 18,000 Dell employees in some capacity, but the group has about 550 people dedicated specifically to it. Dell also has the breadth of expertise that competitors like original device manufacturers (ODMs) don't, so while customers could partner with an ODM and put their technology atop white boxes, they wouldn't always get the supply chain capabilities or support that Dell can offer.
"At the heart [of the OEM business] is software, with companies looking for a platform to deliver their product," Mullen said, adding that many of these companies don't want to invest in the underlying infrastructure or do not have the IT or supply chain expertise to support it.
Dell can take its PowerEdge systems and tweak them—including everything from using special controllers to rebranding the product to painting it different colors—to create a platform optimized for the customer's product, she said. And customers come from a variety of places, including contacting the OEM Solutions group directly, through leads from other parts of the company and partners, and from such programs as Dell's Entrepreneur in Residence program.