A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to address a group of legislators, public officials, and industry leaders to launch Massachusetts’ inaugural Tech Hub Caucus, led by Senator Karen Spilka. The event kicked off a dialogue between leaders in the state’s tech sector and members of the Massachusetts legislature.Technology is the fastest growing industry in Massachusetts, responsible for more than 468,000 jobs, $122 billion in direct and indirect economic output, and $5.6 billion in state and local taxes. Innovations driven by the tech sector support the critical pillars of our state’s economy: healthcare, education, financial services and increasingly, state and local government. Yet, Massachusetts cannot take the growth of the tech sector for granted.During the last 20 years, we have witnessed the growth of the technology industry in other regions — not just in Silicon Valley, but also in the state of Washington, in Austin, Texas, in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, and more recently in New York City. Fortune magazine noted that New York-based technology startups raised nearly $1.7 billion in 2012, compared to the $1.4 billion raised by Massachusetts startups.In our business, we worry about disruption from below. A leading company’s market share rarely gets overtaken by someone larger. It’s almost always done by the up and comers. In our quest to keep Massachusetts on the leading edge of innovation and to encourage entrepreneurs, we must make sure that we strengthen the environment for tomorrow’s technologies to be developed here.The public and private sectors need to continue to work together to ensure that Massachusetts continues to be not only a national leader, but among the global leaders in science and technology and new company formation. And we have that opportunity now in the form of Big Data. Businesses, the healthcare industry, universities and governments are awash with data. Petabytes of data are rapidly accumulating in all aspects of society, driven by dramatic growth of interactive websites, social networks, online transactions, and smart phones. This data is coming at us fast, it is big, and it is rich with opportunity. Making the most of this data to solve problems will transform and accelerate the growth of our state’s core industries.To support innovation and entrepreneurship for the benefit of Massachusetts, we must make sure that we build and retain talent for the innovation economy, improve the ease and cost of doing business in Massachusetts and commit to making Massachusetts the Big Data capitol of the world. We cannot miss out on this opportunity to lead the way for the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Virtual reality is having a GIGANTIC impact on our world right now. If you are in the tech industry like I am, scarcely a day passes when we do not hear the words “virtual reality.”The history of virtual reality is long dating back to as early as 1838. But the advent of virtual reality is usually attributed to 1987 when Jaron Lanier coined the term. His company, VPL, was the first to sell VR goggles, called the “Eyephone 1” and “Eyephone HRX.” You read that right. Eyephone.Thirty years later and VR is no longer confined to Mr. Lanier’s lab. It is everywhere!Whole businesses are being built around VR. 30 Ninjas, a digital entertainment company that creates 360 degree VR content, deployed Dell Precision Workstations 7910 to shoot four jobs live on the Conan O’Brien show – running three major creative workflows through the machine without any breakdowns or crashes.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gNPzMmICd0In its early years, VR focused mainly on video games and entertainment but its usefulness now extends to the military, medical procedures, aviation and business.As with any new technology, small businesses are often late adopters due to high cost and uncertainty involved with a new innovation. What we’re seeing now is the VR industry eclipse that peak of being a “new innovation” and entering into a more mature phase of its life.Small businesses are now adopting virtual reality faster than ever, often driven to do so by the very characteristic that kept them from being an early adopter of VR: minimal capital.VR as a money-saver, you say? Surely that cannot be. But it is. Here are five ways small businesses are adopting virtual reality:Architecture and DesignThe application of modeling is a signature in the worlds of design and architecture. Architects and designers can now allow their clients to walk through proposed designs even before the first bricks are placed.Small design shops, whether for buildings, fashion and more, will give their clients the opportunity to “try before they buy” in a way that’s never been possible.This will make a particularly large difference for small operations that don’t have the resources to draw or build models, or preliminary designs for a wide array of customers. They might spend months on a model or plan for a pitch and ultimately not win the business. Virtual reality will be a cost reducer for these types of industries.PrototypingPrototyping has always been a costly procedure as one part production is far more expensive than serial production. Specifically, this has consistently been a drawback for small business owners with limited amount of capital for prototype production. Virtual reality will allow small- and large-sized prototypes to be developed in order to be checked before serial production starts – providing a major advantage to small business owners who are willing to incorporate VR for business applications.Low cost trainingMilitary training has already begun using virtual reality head gears. Small business owners will also be able to use VR for business purposes. It will be a two pronged usage where the owner can use the VR equipment in order to train his/her own staff rather than spending money on props and training aids. The second methodology is training people, such as in driving and cleaning training, which will reduce the cost as fuel and cleaning material will no longer be required.ShoppingOnline shopping has been around for a good 20 years now. The experience will be elevated to virtual aisles where the shopper can select items online. This will enable small online business owners to create virtual storefronts for the client to visit and enjoy shopping.DatingDating websites have traditionally used pictures and chats to allow people to interact. VR will revolutionize the business as users will be able to now have intriguing experiences in different environments to get to know each other.Another Dell for Small Business customer, 3D Live, is using VR to raise awareness about saving our planet!Partnering with the Lonely Whale Foundation, 3DL Live leveraged Dell Precision and Alienware technology to create, “Cry Out: The Lonely Whale Experience,” an underwater VR expedition to allow viewers to witness the impact of pollution on today’s waters. Using AMD-powered Alienware Area 51 desktops and Dell Precision 7910 workstations, 3D Live was able to build an experience unlike any other – enabling users to swim with whales and truly gain an understanding of the crisis.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhXOFKP8S8UAre you convinced yet that you should consider VR for your small business? During Small Business month, we celebrate small businesses and the innovations they are putting forward to quite literally change the entire world.One thing is clear: “Virtual Reality”, an idea once confined to an unknown Jetsons-esque future, is now a reality and it is here to stay, to make the world a better place, and to enable small and large businesses to operate like never before. May is Small Business Month. Dell is celebrating Small Business month with a 4-part small business series discussing hot trends in small business. Stay tuned for next week’s piece.
This week, I saw a Heavy Reading white paper, in partnership with the New IP Agency (NIA) entitled “CSP Attitudes Toward Digital Transformation: A Reality Check”. In a short five pages, it’s a blistering indictment of the media and vendor marketing-led hype around next-generation CSP operations. And I agree with it wholeheartedly.The paper summarizes the challenges and opportunities in helping the industry move forward to embrace the industry buzzwords – automation, network virtualization, big data, devops, etc. – through a complementary set of technologies that are created in a community-development model (read: Open Source) or vendor-development model.I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you my views on the message, and how I internalize this for the development of the Dell EMC strategy for CSPs.A Dell EMC Perspective First, my views – the paper is exactly on-point from both my own conversations with CSP CTIOs and my own observations into what is perceived as a slow industry transformation. Noting that such massive transformations do not happen overnight, I think that CSPs are largely where they should be – recognizing the inevitability of the transformation (45.6%), but skeptical of the conflicting messaging (40.9%), concerned on locking into a specific direction so early in the transformation (43.6%) and rationalizing their own implementation plans.There has been an absolute deluge of vendor perspectives, standards, open source projects, press coverage, and analyses on transforming network operations within CSPs since 2012 when the first NFV white paper was written. While the ambitions and goals are likely pure – to help the industry move forward – in the end, the outcomes have been distracting, keeping the industry in a constant mode of evaluation and validation, and leading to growing confusion on where to start, and start again, and again.CSPs see vendors moving “up-stack” (enterprise infrastructure vendors delivering telco cloud solutions), “down-stack” (OSS vendors delivering network infrastructure solutions), and “cross-stack” (Systems Integrators moving from complex delivery to complete solutions) – all the while an ever-increasing landscape of startups are being funded in an attempt to disrupt the Network Equipment Providers (NEPs). Never mind the fact that these “stacks” that these vendors are moving within are inconsistent to begin with!More importantly – I don’t see that the barriers to entry in the CSP space have changed drastically due to the incorporation of increasingly enterprise-originated cloud technology, based on the survey results (61% think that enterprise vendors are not yet equipped to build telco-class cloud networks). At least, not yet.So – the questions that arise are really threefold:How do CSPs move forward with an investment path that is not a dead-end, and ensure that, at the very least, the infrastructure investments today are flexible enough to be re-purposed in the future? This is highly important – because, contrary to popular belief, there are indeed technical nuances at the compute, networking, and storage layer for different software stacks and use-cases.How do CSPs embrace the transformation and innovation that is happening in the Open Source and startup community in the operational and procurement frameworks that have worked for the last 100 years? Note – this is not to say that operations and procurement frameworks don’t need to adapt, but instead that we, as an industry, cannot move forward if these remain inherently linked. Transforming technology is significantly easier than transforming processes.Where is the “white space” for Dell EMC in this confusion? Maybe that’s not a question for you – but it is certainly a question for me.(An aside: I do think that the paper inaccurately discounts the importance of Open Source in the survey to garner a specific perspective that over half the respondents view open source as “ok, or has limited application.” More importantly, my read on this is that an overwhelming percentage (86.6%) see a role for Open Source – some are crisper on what that role is (44.3%) and some are still developing their own opinions on what that role is (42.3%). Less than 15% believe that Open Source has limited or no role in telecom. Maybe I am just more optimistic than Heavy Reading – or maybe there is more raw data that I don’t have exposure to.)With a logical concern that I am just professing vendor-marketing hyperbole (Note: I’m not), I’d like to share my view into how I internalize the questions above to help in the evolution of the Dell EMC CSP strategy.The Industry Call-to-Action: Build Once, Reuse ManyThe industry goal should be to build a common platform – regardless of current and/or future procurement processes, operational models, software stack selection, or technology direction – with the end goal to make infrastructure easily consumable and services easily deployable and manageable.This common underlying infrastructure platform (dare I say, “IaaS for network virtualization”?) that spans currently-accepted principles (hypervisors, network overlays, service chaining, orchestration, etc.) but incorporates a path towards currently-incubated principles (containers, micro-services, automation and DevOps) without enforcing either a specific direction or espousing a particular end-state seems to be just what the industry needs. This allows for what I expect to be near-term divergence, and eventual convergence, in industry direction to happen.The obvious need is for an infrastructure vendor who has assembled and built a set of expertise and knowledge around the vendor software stacks – both NFV and SDN – as a means of rationalizing an infrastructure deployment framework that is:Unified across disparate use-cases, vendor solutions, and standardsOpen and flexible to incorporate an increasing set of open source componentry and “DevOps-style” toolingDelivered in a release-based implementation that allows rapid innovation to be more readily consumable by CSP operationsThis is our goal.The Dell EMC ResponseBuilding a single, standard cloud infrastructure platform that has been certified by the predominant virtualization vendors, validated by the major Network Equipment Providers (NEPs), integrated with leading startups, and delivered through current trusted telco partners – namely, Systems Integrators, OSS vendors, and the NEPs themselves – for the deployment of telco cloud is a significant challenge – but it is one that Dell EMC has taken on. We’ve done it, and we have data points confirming that such an approach has merit. Now, we are focused on replicability, scalability (scaled out for higher capacity, scaled in for the network edge), and iteration.Our ability to abstract the industry confusion and create a cloud infrastructure platform that allows telecom service providers to adopt new technologies at a pace that matches their organizational readiness without forcing a specific path at initial purchase has become a key differentiator for Dell EMC. To be forthcoming, it has been a challenge to break through all the other vendor hype out there by embracing such a practical, achievable objective.
Innovation drives amazing changes in society, from self-driving cars to medicine that extends our lives. Innovation doesn’t happen in a bubble, however. It relies on human ingenuity, the right processes in place to remove obstacles, and technology which itself is a result of innovation. Businesses are looking for ways to drive innovation and beat out their competition. Which means going digital and adopting cloud-native applications and agility. In fact, based on our own research, in the next 24 months business adoption of cloud-native will jump to 67%, from 47% today.If adoption were so easy everyone would do it tomorrow, right? Well, there is a case for learning to walk before running with a staged migration, keeping legacy infrastructure and apps running alongside cloud-native apps. DevOps teams often cite the difficulties in managing the compute, networking, and storage resources of Kubernetes container orchestration in production, not to mention management of infrastructure, workload portability and securing the data wherever it resides. Yet, an overly cautious approach to cloud native might be too slow, and drive developers to find their own K8s dialtone to maintain the project velocity that they require; in this case, the effort to maintain stability creates a shadow IT problem that can lead to trouble later with cost or compliance issues.The good news is there are many platforms and tools on the market to choose from that support cloud native operations. And more good news – Dell EMC hyperconverged infrastructure supports many of these platforms, with automated lifecycle management, consolidation of compute, storage and virtualization, and easy scalability. Dell EMC has engineered tested and validated HCI for Kubernetes solutions including VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail, the foundation for the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform, which delivers a simple and direct path to the hybrid cloud with one, complete, automated platform. Automated PKS workload deployment and infrastructure supporting both legacy and cloud-native apps make VCF on VxRail truly transformational to a business. Additionally, businesses can choose from other HCI solutions supporting Pivotal Cloud Foundry with Pivotal Ready Architecture, for Azure Stack Hub with AKS, and Google Anthos on VxFlex.In addition, an expansive Dell Technologies portfolio provides best-in-class external storage, data protection solutions through PowerProtect for Kubernetes, and Consulting Services to help you at every step in the cloud-native adoption process.And, for a true cloud experience within your modern data center, we offer Dell Tech on Demand delivering a wide range of flexible payment solutions and value-added services combined with integrated full-stack solutions to manage costs while not limiting your ability to meet changing resource demands of your app development teams.Come visit us at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in San Diego to learn how Dell Technologies can help you as a trusted partner and adviser. We remove the complexities associated with infrastructure resource management and help you focus on the high-value initiatives that matter. Together, we can Make IT Real.
I’m always surprised that some people think of manufacturing as stodgy, old school and slow to change – in my view, nothing could be further from the truth! All the evidence shows that the manufacturing industry has consistently led the way from mechanical production, powered by steam in the 18th century, to mass production in the 19th century, followed by 20th century automated production.The data center merging with the factory floorFast forward to today. The fourth industrial revolution is well underway, driven by IoT, edge computing, cloud and big data. And once again, manufacturers are at the forefront of intelligent production, leading the way in adopting technologies like augmented reality, 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, cloud-based supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) plus programmable automation controllers (PACs). Watch the video below that addresses how manufacturers are changing to embrace Industry 4.0.In fact, I always visualize the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0, as the data center merging with the factory floor, where you have the perfect blend of information and operational technology working together in tandem. Let’s look at a couple of examples.Helping monitor and manage industrial equipmentOne of our customers, Emerson, a fast-growing Missouri-based company with more than 200 manufacturing locations worldwide, provides automation technology for thousands of chemical, power, and oil & gas organizations around the world. Today, Emerson customers are demanding more than just reliable control valves. They need help performing predictive maintenance on those valves.To address these needs, Emerson worked with Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions to develop and deploy an industrial automation solution that collects IoT data to help its customers better monitor, manage and troubleshoot critical industrial equipment. With our support, Emerson successfully developed a new wireless-valve monitoring solution and brought it to market faster than the competition. This is just the first step in what Emerson sees as a bigger journey to transform services across its entire business. You can read more about our work together here.Bringing AI to the supply chain to reduce waste and energyMeanwhile, San-Francisco based Noodle.ai has partnered with us to deliver the world’s first “Enterprise AI” data platform for manufacturing and supply chain projects.This solution allows customers to anticipate and plan for the variables affecting business operations, including product quality, maintenance, downtime, costs, inventory and flow. Using AI, they can mitigate issues before they happen, solve predictive challenges, reduce waste and material defects as well as cutting the energy required to create new products.For example, one end-customer, a $2 billion specialty steel manufacturer, needed to increase profit per mill hour, meet increasing demand for high quality steel at predictable times, and reduce the amount of energy consumed. Using the “Enterprise AI” data platform, the customer reported $80 million savings via reduced energy costs, freight costs, scrapped product, and raw material input costs.Helping design innovative and secure voting technologyYet, another customer, Democracy Live wanted to deliver a secure, flexible, off-the-shelf balloting device that would make voting accessible to persons with disabilities and that could replace outdated, proprietary and expensive voting machines.After a comprehensive review of vendors and products, Democracy Live asked us to design a standardized voting tablet and software image. Our Dell Latitude solution complete with Intel processors and pre-loaded with Democracy Live software and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise operating system provides strong security and advanced encryption.And the good news for Democracy Live that we take all the headaches away by managing the entire integration process, including delivery to end-users. The result? Secure, accessible voting with up to 50 percent savings compared with the cost of proprietary voting machines. Read what Democracy Live has to say about our collaboration here.Change is constantMeanwhile, the revolution continues. Did you know that, according to IDC, by the end of this year 60 percent of plant workers at G2000 manufacturers will work alongside robotics, while 50 percent of manufacturing supply chains will have an in-house or outsourced capability for direct-to-consumption shipments and home delivery? More details available here.Unlock the power of your dataDon’t get left behind! Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions is here to help you move through the digital transformation journey, solve your business challenges and work with you to re-design your processes. We can help you use IoT and embedded technologies to connect machines, unlock the power of your data, and improve efficiency and quality on the factory floor.And don’t forget we offer the broadest range of ruggedized and industrial grade products, designed for the most challenging environments, including servers, edge computing, laptops and tablets. We’d love to hear from you – contact us here and do stay in touch.Learn more about our work in industrial automation at Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions.Follow us on Twitter @delltechoem and @RonAtDell.Join our LinkedIn Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions Showcase page.
MALE, Maldives (AP) — Police in the Maldives say they have uncovered a planned attack on a school involving eight suspected members of an Islamic State-affiliated group arrested last November. Police say the suspects attempted to build an explosive device on a boat at sea, conducted training on uninhabited islands and attempted to recruit children. Police raided the boat and found items that could be used to build a bomb on board and gun cartridges in the shallow sea. They say the suspects were arrested after police were tipped off by foreign intelligence agencies, and evidence was found in seized cellphones of a plan to attack a school while exams were in progress.