back to article Dell makes $1bn bet that IoT at the edge can kill cloud computing takeover

Dell is going full tilt into the Internet of Things market, setting up a new division and promising to invest $1bn in IoT R&D over three years to build the business. At a New York announcement event, Dell said it foresaw an Internet of "intelligent" Things – devices from phones to cars to oil rigs to robots to heart monitors …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    As usual, security was mentioned nowhere

    A large list of partnerships, covering a raft of areas, but not a peep about keeping things secure.

    Business as usual then !

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: As usual, security was mentioned nowhere

      A large list of partnerships, covering a raft of areas, but not a peep about keeping things secure.

      Business as usual then !

      Every diner has his place at table denoted by a nice gold plated name tag. Soon the dish of the day will be presented along with the exclusive menu of delicacies and the roes of an unwiting public will be dined upon with gusto.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Project IRIS – under development in RSA Labs to extend the Security Analytics capability to provide threat visibility and monitoring at the edge[.]

      As far as I can remember, this the first time I've ever seen this addressed in this segment of engineering. So your not recalling reading that it is understandable.

  2. Alex Read

    Can someone wiser than me please enlighten on what on Earth the deer analogy means & why that's chosen as the great selling point?

    Surely the connect-to-cloud-gather data-perform calculation-hopefully stop in time is obviously a dumb idea, the alternative is to have the decision process on board the car. What benefit does IoT or any car Internet connection offer - just periodical updates to the decision algorithm (which, in a life & death situation shouldn't EVER be incorrect or fail)? is that it or am I missing something here please?

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      "Can someone wiser than me please enlighten on what on Earth the deer analogy means & why that's chosen as the great selling point?"

      It probably does make sense if you have experienced a deer jumping out onto the road in front of you.

      It happened to me once, on a narrow country lane bordered by dry stone walls, meaning limited opportunities except for braking.

      The deer's actions were quite impressive, it jumped down from the hill on the left into the middle of the road and in one leap cleared the 5 foot wall on the other side.

      If it had landed on the bonnet instead, it would have caused serious damage.

      1. Joe 35

        No one with a brain cell is disputing that a deer cant damage a car.

        Anyone with a brain cell is disputing that any type of autonomous driving function would relay data back to the cloud to make real time driving decisions to feed back to the car.

        So this is a risible example, and all the worse because it implies they cant think of a real one.

      2. common-sense-prevails

        totally bogus

        You don't need anyone wiser to tell you that this is a totally bogus example.

        A deer jumping out in front of any "automated" vehicle is simply an obstacle and handled in real-time by the cars local autonomous systems.

        The same applies to a baby carriage (pram) rolling down the road in front of the car.

        The only communication involved would be to let the vehicle(s) behind you know you're going to perform and emergency stop - and send a corresponding message to the opposite traffic about to enter the "problem" zone. All that is likely to be direct vehicle <-> vehicle communication - nothing to do with Mr Dells bogus IOT edge.

        AWS already has IOT edge connections and applications and these are likely to continue to be advanced/improved as future use-cases emerge. Well ahead of any Dell can buy or build. Dell was late (some would say a "no-show") to the cloud and the same is true of IOT or "edge" services.

        Has anyone at Dell read up on AWS Lambda? LOL.

        Is this April 1st ??

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: totally bogus

          Lambda is totally bogus as an IoT use case. What you really meant to say was Greengrass Lambda which, at best, is a private cloud (gasp!) substitute. Fine for a remote data center but it's not a true edge platform at all.

    2. Teiwaz

      What benefit does IoT or any car Internet connection offer


      They get to attach tubes to the nipples of daily life and gorge themselves silly for free...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Deer analogy

      I fear it is being used because it is a blameless situation, and hence politically correct. Any situation requiring a fast reaction would work just as well, but could imply someone was at fault, and we have gotten so sensitive to doing that we can't even do it in an analogy. Someone cutting you off in traffic carries blame with it - most likely they did something wrong, or maybe it was you, to cause the situation. Likewise with a pedestrian - are they crossing legally, and if so what are you doing wrong that causes the situation?

      But a deer that just wanders out into the road, there's no blame to spread there, so it's a safe analogy. Until we follow the chain of causality so far that the engineer who designed the road to go through that location is implied to have caused the situation with the deer, and could be offended by the analogy.

      1. Wayland

        Re: Deer analogy

        It worries me that they would even consider sending the request for a decision to the cloud. It's unlikely that deep in the Black Forest you would have a reliable Internet signal anyway.

        Obviously you would decide locally.

        The worst thing about self driving vehicles is in order for them to work the humans will have to stop driving on the same roads.

        If people want to make automated transport then create a flying drone network at a particular dedicated height. Let those people use that space for their automated stuff.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Deer analogy

        And then you manage to upset yourself about supposedly offended people and PC culture.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Michael Dell's mangled plagiarism

      If you look at the videos linked in the story, Peter Levine last year talked about how car sensors have to make intelligent decisions without having to go to the cloud to recognize a stop sign. Michael changed the analogy to a deer jumping in front of the car and the car needing to make an intelligent decision to stop before hitting the deer.

      It's a bad fabrication of the storyline he clearly copied from Peter Levine.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Allow me to explain the deer analogy

      You see, the dear is really DELL, late crossing the IoT road, eyes caught in the headlights just before it's creamed by GE, Hitachi and Siemens in the IoT space.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the IoT connection is to automatically call ambulance and/or nearest 'large animal' vet ( after, of course, first uploading data to show the car wasn't at fault plus any extra information required by paying parties such as the insurance company ).

  4. johnaaronrose


    I do not understand most of the concepts in the "IOT products, projects and partners" section of the article. Please enlighten me as to whether it is gibberish or technical terminology.

    1. Flakk

      Re: Understandibility

      Any sufficiently advanced technical terminology is indistinguishable from gibberish. -- Arthur C. Clarke

  5. partypop69

    Self driving cars are the future.. but is technology enhancing our lives or making them worse? I think technology sucks.

    1. Automated ticketing and parking facility attendants = lost jobs.

    2. Robots replace humans at factories = lost jobs.

    3. Self-service checkout = less cashiers = lost jobs.

    4. Cars pump their own gas, or self propel = gas stations needed less = lost jobs.

    5. Shopping carts are still manual, it'll be automated soon. = lost jobs.,

    6. Cars will be self driving soon = more accidental deaths, tons of lost jobs (cabs).

    I don't see anything positive about these innovations. All I see is lost jobs. Yes there is lower overhead but its temporary because lost jobs means less money in circulation, which means that community has less money to spend.

    If you multiply what I am talking about, at some point all jobs will be replaced by a machine.

    Then who is going to have any money to buy anything? Machines don't need water, food and cars.

    On a dangerous note, if a car is controlled by a computer, and a computer can be hacked, and nothing is 100% secure, what's stopping a hacker in the future from using your own car as a weapon against you?

    See what I mean? technology sucks.

    What do we do? So need is the mother of invention, right? If we don't use it it'll just go away.

    1. Go to malls that use manual ticketing attendants or malls that have free parking.

    2. Avoid Walmart, Amazon and huge retailers using robotics in lieu of humans.

    3. Never use self-service checkout

    4. Don't buy Telsa, Apple or Google cars or any other computerized car.

    5. Buy stuff that is handmade.

    I am thinking of a world that uses technology to enhance humans, not replace them.

    1. Jason 24

      Work for works sake is not how to advance society and improve living standards. Else we'd all still be living in mud huts working the land to feed ourselves.

    2. Tikimon

      Orright then, so you believe we should still be paying telephone operators to manually plug in wires to route calls? Because evil automatic switching killed that job! How about punch card operators, that career hasn't been in the want ads for a while. Let's ban heavy equipment too, since plenty of men are dying have a career using shovels to manually move tons of dirt and rock. And think of all the livery stables and leather workers we'll need when we ban automobiles!

      You sir, are the poster child for nanny-state indoctrination. You are perfectly happy using technology that destroyed the jobs of myriad people before you, but THIS arbitrary point in time is when progress STOPS! As if. The world will not consent to living in the past to shore up obsolete and inefficient jobs. Humanity will inevitably adopt the new tech, and if people lose jobs then cry me a river! Robots taking away assembly line jobs? Retrain and/or get a new career. It's been a fact of life since pumps and plumbing replaced water carriers. Probably before.

      Call me an optimist, but I figure that any tech that takes away the need for humans to do brainless physical tasks enhances humans.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. GoldCoaster

      7. Automated mills putting weavers out of business

      8. Motor cars wiping out the blacksmith profession


      But yeah, lets go back to living in caves and hunter-gathering, no chance of unemployment then.


    4. leftside

      Won't be too long when we think it's crazy we allowed humans to drive.

      Long AAPL, GOOG, AMZN and WMT. Haven't been to a mall in over 10 years.

    5. the Jim bloke

      "On a dangerous note, if a car is controlled by a computer, and a computer can be hacked, and nothing is 100% secure, what's stopping a hacker in the future from using your own car as a weapon against you?"

      The hacker wont have a job and wont be able to afford a computer...

  6. Alex Read

    Great, ok thank you all :cD I'll go back to my road crossing chickens paradigm then... nothing new to see here after all

  7. abb2u

    IoT and On Premise?

    Trump, who has a higher IQ, needs to talk to Michael and do some explaining.

    Whoa! Never mind, the demo might blow up North Korea!!! Oh, crap!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dell can no longer stick its badge on rubbish and expect to sell it.

    The investment will be like the $1Bn he promised to invest in the cloud. That spend never materialized and he stuck decade old product people into an emerging business and then under invested. The analogy is rubbish too, and plagerized. Yes, there will need to be intelligence in the end devices, but they already exist. You won’t need Dell to provide something new. It’s like they are trying to present an idea as a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

    Dell is desperate to be relevant as anything other than a low cost alternative to top tier on prem equipment providers. The problem is the company simply isn’t relevant and why take a chance on a vendor with such a bad track record of under investing and market pullbacks as Dell. It’s a sad reality but a reality nonetheless.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Project Worldwide Herd...

    ...for pushing deer in front of moving cars to test how they respond.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Project Worldwide Herd...

      I was puzzled by the project name as well.

      Shouldn't it be Project Flock?

  10. mix

    Another major technology vendor is investing heavily in IoT and people are talking about the deer analogy?

    It can only be good for this emerging technology, they make it work, improve lives, hooray, they fail miserably, the technology platform fails, everyone moves along to the next gravy train. At least Mr. Dell is using his own money and not shareholders'.

  11. Milton

    A deeper truth, perhaps?

    Is there perhaps a deeper underlying truth here: to wit, that a great deal of functionality that's been stuffed into the "cloud" does not, in fact, need to be there and could run just as well, and with less latency, on the ridiculously powerful systems we have in our pockets and on our desktops? And of course, in our cars?

    How many cores running at how many GHz accessing how many billions of bytes of memory should we need to perform these tasks? We've gotten slow, lazy and sloppy, writing colossal bloatware because Moore's Law lets us.

    You *can* strap a JATO bottle to a cow and accelerate past a racehorse ... but you're still riding a cow.

  12. ecofeco Silver badge

    Dell, Dell, Dell

    You were doing so well!

    But now you've gone

    And embraced IoT hell.

    Oh well.

  13. WmT

    distributed computing, nfc, stored models and real time

    So, what Dell is proposing is good and that is the a degree. So is cloud computing, so is metadata computing that shifts according to current model usage. For example a human body works with direct connection at the spinal level, neuron growth and maintenance is determined by usage.....classes of behavior are determined by preexisting behaviors used and stored.....there have to be recognized sliding classes of behavior and something to control quantum computing blah blah blah..... so if you are planning on designing a system "right now" you'd better understand materials science, biophysics, atomic level storage of data and the pathways to be at the future state level need to start existing in your code, buys and thought processes right now......AI on a Chip GPU's that make decisions along with AI....blah blah blah.....I'd talk more but no one is paying me

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look, I don't know what beef you have with Cisco but it's becoming embarrassingly apparent and it would be nice if you would disclose what's going on unless you want to be called out as biased (let's leave the regular Nutanix-lovefest and copy-pasting of their PR articles aside for a moment).

    Second vendor to enter the IoT market? Maybe you missed Cisco's $1.4bn investment and acquisition of Jasper and the announcement of Kinetic. For crying out loud, ZDnet (ZDnet!!!) reported it months ago. Also, if you have something against Cisco, you surely didn't miss the joint Cisco Microsoft IoT announcement

    These things have been going on for two years with billions of dollars invested. Dell's vaporware me-too announcement only lists existing products and how they would magically create an IoT division ... it reeks of desperation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Cisco is no different than Dell

      No one considers Cisco to be an IoT player. At best, Cisco will be the networking that connects edge devices. The companies that actually build the operational technologies (you know, the 'things' in IoT) and the platform are going to drive IoT adoption. That's not Cisco or Dell - they are just commodity pieces of the solution.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cisco is no different than Dell

        Sorry, completely uninformed. You might want to look up Jasper.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cisco is no different than Dell

          Like all the other things Cisco acquired and then abandoned?

          Jasper is a "Connectivity Management Platform". Like mentioned, Cisco will be a networking player in IoT, nothing else.

  15. WmT

    Can you express an opinion that adds to the thread?

    obviously whoever invests in something has an effect. The .com failure of 2000 happened because? The big data storm became? The big cloud is everything became? Everyone wants to hop on the next big thing even just to stand on top of it and say......"it's no big thing"

    Is there like any thoughtful discourse or is this all that there is? Do you know whether quantum computing will ever exist? Do you have a premise to prove Einsteins train thought experiment.....can you get it out of you and into print?

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