Dell introduces first purpose-built Internet of Things gateway

Dell also announced its Statistica data analytics package has been expanded to include middleware on gateways, and announced a contest for IoT solutions built on Dell gateways, which will have 16 winners, and runs until March 31, 2016.

Andy Rhodes Dell

Andy Rhodes Executive Director, Commercial IoT Solutions at Dell

AUSTIN – At Dell World, Dell announced its Edge Gateway 5000 Series, a purpose-built Internet of Things [IoT] offering for the building and factory automation sectors. Dell also announced new Dell Statistica data analytics capabilities, which expand analytics to middleware on the gateway.

Dell has been intensified its focus on the Internet of Things this year. This spring, they formed a division focused on bringing together end-to-end IoT solutions that span hardware, software and services. They also introduced their first product, a Dell Wyse Thin Client Desktop 3000 redesigned for IoT.

“This was our first Internet of Things gateway, and was based on one of our thin client products,” said Andy Rhodes Executive Director, Commercial IoT Solutions at Dell.

The Wyse product being a gateway was significant, however, as it showed the approach Dell planned to take as it developed its IoT strategy.

“We had a lot of assets at Dell to do the Big Data part of this, particularly from our acquisition of the Statistica analytics solution [from the 2014 purchase of StatSoft],” Rhodes said. “Then we looked at the edge, and how we can best analyze the data closer to the edge, and that’s where the gateway concept came in.”

Being able to gather, analyze data at the edge is a basic necessity for the IoT. Depending on the application and use case, the data can then be discarded, without the bother of shipping it back to a data centre, or shipped back for more complex integrated analysis.

“A lot of the potential value of the Internet of Things isn’t just the connections within the building, but connecting to things like weather systems and bringing it back to ERP systems,” Rhodes said. “Having that much processing power at the edge can solve business cases we haven’t even figured out yet.”

Rhodes said the Edge Gateway 5000 Series is significant because it is Dell’s first purpose-built IoT gateway.

“Use case designs for the Internet of Things are very different,” he said. “This one is specifically designed for a couple particular use cases. It is really for building automation, industrial automation and transport.”

The Edge Gateway 5000 is designed to operate in extreme environments, specifically for the rigours of the building and factory automation sectors.

“In these highly industrial use cases, these devices will live in boiler rooms, on top of buildings, and in other people’s products, so they really need to be designed for a long life cycle,” Rhodes said.

These devices are designed to bridge both legacy serial connections (RS-422/485, CAN bus) and modern wireless networks (Wi-Fi, 802.15.4 mesh) to the internet, with expansion capability for future options.

“Having a combination of legacy analog to digital conversions which aren’t common in IT, but are in what we call the operations environment, is critical,” Rhodes said.

Operating system choices that include Ubuntu, Wind River Linux, and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise. Security features include TPM, secure boot and BIOS level lockdown of ports.

Dell is also announcing that it has revamped its Dell Statistica advanced analytics software to middleware on the gateway, which can help companies save on the costly shipping of data to and from the cloud.

To solicit more ideas for IoT solutions built on Dell gateways, Dell and Intel are jointly launching a “Connect What Matters” contest.

“The Connect What Matters contest will reward 16 winners who figure out terrific use cases for IoT solutions on Dell gateways,” said Joyce Mullen, VP and GM of Global OEM and IoT Solutions at Dell.

The contest is open to commercial companies and solutions can be developed for any vertical. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2016.

The Dell Edge Gateway will be available in Canada in December 2015, at a starting list price of $1,559 CDN.