By Brian T. Horowitz, Editor and Contributing Writer
The future-ready theme was clear at Dell World 2015 in Austin, Texas, with discussion of social good and changing the world, along with a version of the DeLorean from the “Back to the Future” movies on display.
John Mayer kicked off the conference, performing 13 songs, including the future-looking “Waiting on the World to Change.” The opening event also included a demonstration by performance artists called The Bumbys, a group that performs “a fair and honest appraisal of your appearance” using typewriters for various art shows and brand events.
“It started as performance art, street art, sort of a social experiment, and now we travel all around the world,” Jose Galvan, the group’s tour manager, told Power More.
Meanwhile, Adrian Grenier, Dell’s first Social Good Advocate, appeared at the opening keynote to discuss corporate responsibility with Karen Quintos, the company’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer.
“We are planting the seeds of the future, and people are going to innovate and disrupt businesses,” Grenier said. “They’re going to build the businesses and social entrepreneurs of the future.”
Grenier and Quintos talked about how to translate social good — corporate responsibility and saving the environment — into smarter business results.
“When I see what you’re doing with packaging, for example, where you’re taking 30 plus million pounds of packaging waste out of the waste stream and saving 50 million dollars, it’s a win-win for not only the bottom line but also creating human value as well,” Grenier said.
During an opening press conference, Rob Klomps, global head of IT infrastructure at Rabobank, a bank for the food and agriculture industry, discussed how the company is working with Dell on a social responsibility project to replace PCs for its offices in Africa.
“As a bank we want to be more agile in financial markets,” Kloomps said.
At the conference, the tech giant released its second annual Global Technology Index, which found that organizations using cloud, mobility and big data technologies are experiencing up to 53 percent higher revenue growth rates than those that have not invested in these technologies.
For Dell, the future holds an end-to-end “ecosystem for the long run,” including desktops, notebooks and the Internet of Things, said Jeff Clarke, Dell’s vice chairman for operations and president of Client Solutions.
Big data, IoT and the future
A range of IoT devices and companies — from industries including energy, beverage and manufacturing — had a presence at Dell World.
As always, innovative technology was on display with companies such as Arrow Electronics showing how a Dell IoT Gateway, the Wireless Glue Smart Edge software and OSI Soft PI System come together to manage the use of power for Arrow’s manufacturing plants.
The future will continue to see development of the Internet of Things, but there’s still work to do to connect devices and sensors, CEO Michael Dell noted.
In fact, 85 percent of devices are not yet connected, according to IDC. There will be 44 zettabytes of data by 2020.
“The explosion of devices is really just beginning,” Dell said. “Sensors are getting smarter and less expensive all the time.”
Among the many product launches were the Dell Edge Gateway 5000 Series for the IoT space to enable industrial automation. The gateway aggregates and secures IoT data, performs analytics and routes the information to the cloud or a data center.
Products such as the Dell Edge Gateway will enable companies in the energy field like ELM Energy to automate decisions on how to distribute energy, toggling between solar, wind and backup generators as well as traditional utility grids.
IoT is fostering innovation in areas as unexpected as the bottling industry. Coca-Cola plans to use sensing technology in the door swings for its coolers, said Javier Polit, CIO for the Bottling Investments Group of The Coca-Cola Co.
A continued commitment to PCs
Despite the emergence of all types of devices, PCs are here to stay, Clarke confirmed.
“We are absolutely committed to the PC space. It’s a scale business, and we will participate in every piece of that,” Clarke said.
“Our XPS 15 with Windows 10 may be the best PC we’ve ever made,” Dell said.
“We have excitement from our corporate users about bringing Windows 10 into the workplace,” Dell added.
Microsoft plans to get a billion devices onto Windows 10, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on the Dell World stage.
Experts were impressed with the clear commitment.
“That kind of spirited passionate defense of the market, you don’t get enough of that in the business,” Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis and consumer electronics for NPD Group, told Power More.
The company was the fastest-growing PC vendor in the past year, with 11 consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth, Dell noted.
A focus on the hybrid cloud
Coca-Cola plans to use the hybrid cloud to transform its sales automation platform in North America, Polit said.
In addition, Microsoft’s Nadella joined Dell CEO Michael Dell on stage to announce a joint hybrid cloud platform, called the Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft.
It “brings the power of Azure to a hybrid cloud environment,” Dell said.
“Today 6 million servers are being sold in the world,” Nadella said in response to a question from Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang. “The hybrid infrastructure will play a significant part.”
The Microsoft/Dell deal is a cloud-in-a-box system that brings together Dell servers and network switches, Microsoft Azure cloud services and Windows Server software.
The platform will let customers ramp up from about four servers to up to 16 physical nodes in a single system, ZDNet noted.
“You have Microsoft and Dell stepping up and saying we are the industry leaders in delivering hybrid IT solutions,” said Kevin L. Jackson, founder and CEO of GovCloud Network, a consultancy that offers solutions that meet critical commercial and government operational requirements. “The announcement basically puts these two enterprise powerhouses together to help the C suite understand the intricacies, technologies, governance, security and the operational aspects of a hybrid IT environment, which is the hybrid cloud.”
All the innovations and partnerships discussed at the conference will clearly help propel companies into the future, like the DeLorean.
Being future-ready is a “deliberate approach to building a bridge to the technologies of today and tomorrow,” Dell said.