Dell Technologies World conference breaks records, educating and entertaining 14,000 in Las Vegas.
Dell hit the jackpot last week, hosting a record-setting 14,000 attendees (and an additional 35,000 via live streaming) at the first annual Dell Technologies World conference in Las Vegas. In the midst of the Venetian Hotel’s ringing slot machines and faux-Italian arches, customers, press and analysts from around the globe experienced a wealth of new ideas and state-of-the-art tech.
The event was massive, and from a Commercial Client Solutions perspective, it gave us a golden opportunity to join in important conversations about artificial intelligence (AI), the future of work, and the changing scope of digital security. We celebrated a new portfolio of commercial PCs announced just last week, in addition to commemorating the 25th anniversary of OptiPlex desktops. We also spent time engaging with customers and experts in deeper ways during specialized thought leadership technical track sessions.
On the expo floor, we featured our latest and most innovative products and solutions purposefully designed to keep workers productive. Visitors explored new realities with experiential activations including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and AI. Mike Libecki, National Geographic Adventurer and VR filmmaker exhibited his documentaries in 360 degrees. Amateur pilots flew drones through an obstacle course and dropped impressively resilient Latitude Rugged tablets from varying heights.
On the opposite end of the convention center, a vertical crop display by AeroFarms provided a glimpse of the future of farming. Organizations like AeroFarms are an important part of Dell’s focus on thoughtful progress. We’re committed to a circular economy, a sustainable product lifecycle, and promoting promise and possibilities for people in every region of the world.
…now is the time where big data, blockchain and emerging technologies will combine for real transformation.
Westworld-star Jeffery Wright, actor Ashton Kutcher, indie-band Walk the Moon, and hall-of-fame rocker Sting all graced the main stage. Alison Dew (above), recently named Dell’s CMO position, began the conference on a high note, telling the crowd that “now is the time where big data, blockchain and emerging technologies will combine for real transformation.”
At his keynote, Michael Dell presented a strong vision for the future, telling the massive crowd that, “reimagined process and industry has the power to change the world for the better.”
But beyond the main event, in a plethora of sessions around the hotel, in-depth discussions about the future of tech and work took place.
Real Talk about Artificial Intelligence
The biggest buzz of the week belonged to AI and machine learning, which seemed to come up in some form or another on every panel. Most experts seemed optimistic that AI can work with a new generation of educated workers, rather than replace them.
“AI is going to become an active member of every team, every boardroom, every corporate activity, to bring information and analysis,” said Danny Cobb, vice president of Global Technology Strategy. “It will empower employees to be more effective in their work lives.”
In a session about the ‘Future of Work’, John Battelle, editor-in-chief of NewCo, said, “A lot of people consider AI a threat because they don’t understand it yet. As machines take over automated jobs, it will give us time to focus on teaching and taking care of other humans.”
Ed Ward, Dell’s senior vice president of Engineering, echoed Battelle’s optimism. “More time will be allowed for thinking and artistic expression – things that humans are good at.”
Making the PC More Personal
At a panel discussion on Tuesday morning about the ‘Evolution of the Personal Computer,’ Jay Parker, president of Dell’s Client Product Group, wondered aloud, “Why can’t I just open up my laptop and find my emails up, and already be connected?”
New performance optimization programs are already saving battery life and utilizing processing power in smarter ways. Now, AI-assisted innovations are learning how individual users work. “It can save five minutes by predicting my habits. That’s going to be the key to being more flexible and productive,” Parker said.
Another huge talking point at the conference revolved around remote working. New freedoms provided by lighter, more powerful tech and ubiquitous Wi-Fi have radically changed where and when we work.
According to Brett Hansen, general manager of Data Security at Dell, “Sixty percent of users are now working from home, and two-thirds are working off hours.”
While this brings up a number of security and logistical issues for today’s companies, it also has benefits.
“Remote work can help companies view their recruiting strategies differently, and hire a more diverse workforce,” said Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs. “That means women who have left the workforce, military spouses who have to travel, and other overlooked groups.”
Celebrating the Past and Looking Forward
Freshly unveiled products like new Latitude laptops, Precision mobile workstations with built-in AI and Wyse 5070 thin client made big splashes at the conference, but among employees and desktop enthusiasts, the biggest fanfare was for OptiPlex’s 25th anniversary.
For a quarter of a century, OptiPlex PCs have revolutionized and empowered the way people work. Next to an ice sculpture with ’25 years’ etched into it, Jeff Clarke, vice chairman of Products and Operations, reminisced. “OptiPlex was one of the very first PC brands I worked on as a product manager early in my career,” he said. “I’m excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary with the team here at Dell Technologies World.”
To mark the milestone, Dell is releasing a whole new line of OptiPlex, created to fluently adapt to today’s more flexible workers. “We’ve shipped over 235 million OptiPlex units, more than any other product in Dell history,” Parker added. “Here’s to twenty-five more years of innovation.”
After four days of interaction and exploration, attendees left with a refreshed view of Dell.
“I believe technology can be a source of social impact, and there was a great focus on inclusion and diversity at Dell Tech World, which was great to see,” said Dr. Sally Eaves, a member of the Forbes Technology Council. “This conference is incredible. It’s all about supporting people through the evolution of work.”
Did you miss this year’s Dell Technologies World? Watch our recap video here: