I always think it’s ironic that there’s only one letter in the difference between the words “IT” and “OT” when in reality they have always existed worlds apart –Information Technology in the office and Operational Technology in industrial environments like the factory floor. Either way, those walls of division have come tumbling down with the Internet of Things (IoT), which rather neatly combines the letters of both acronyms.
In this converging world, IT is adding computation, storage and secure connectivity closer to OT equipment and devices, including ruggedized equipment for harsh environments. On the other side, OT is finding ways to gather, analyze and move this data to where it delivers the highest business value, whether that be the device, the Fog or the Cloud. The focus is on unlocking information and gaining new insights into your business, for example, energy use, temperature trends or equipment run-times. Knowledge is power.
Partnership is the name of the game
This convergence is resulting in partnerships between industry leaders that would traditionally have had very little in common but who are now working together to drive innovative customer solutions. Case in point, just last week, I presented at the Bosch Connected World in Chicago, where we announced a partnership with two Bosch groups – Bosch Software Innovations who offers a cloud backend for Industrial IoT, and Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions, who make sensors, ranging all the way from the versatile XDK development kit to a wide variety of embedded options.
Unlocking the potential of the unconnected
Over the last few months, our teams have co-developed an IoT Jump Start kit that is engineered for industrial environments and works straight out of the box, offering embedded, always-on cellular connectivity. The kit features a Dell Edge Gateway 5000 and four Bosch wireless sensor modules to measure environmental conditions like temperature, vibration, humidity, pressure, light, etc. Data can be analyzed by the Gateway or sent to the Bosch cloud software platform. The customer decides what’s the best deployment approach.
The best of both worlds
In my view, this Bosch partnership is what IoT is all about. We are combining Dell’s purpose-built industrial gateways, IT infrastructure and expertise with Bosch’s sensors, IoT Suite for cloud scale, and industrial know how. Together, we are enabling industrial-grade, IT-ready and scalable IoT solutions for our customers in markets like manufacturing, transportation, logistics and precision agriculture.
Building a partner ecosystem
That’s what I love about IoT – it’s all about partnership, recognizing that no one company – however, big – can provide the total solution. In fact, I believe that Dell EMC OEM is uniquely positioned to act as a bridge-maker. Apart from our 30 years of IT heritage, we bring 15 years’ experience of customizing Dell technology for OT environments in companies like Honeywell, Emerson, and Johnson Controls factories. Plus our OEM partners bring a huge amount of vertical-specific OT expertise to the table.
The reality is that you don’t have to boil the ocean and completely change how you do business or start multi-million dollar projects that are overly complex and risky to benefit from IoT initiatives. However, you do need to an IoT strategy in place and be future-ready. IDC predicts that by 2018, 33% of all industry leaders will be disrupted by digitally-enabled competitors.
I welcome your comments and questions.
Learn more about the Dell EMC OEM and Bosch Jump Start Solution: