Dell rolls out new tools for leveraging data at the edge

Part of Dell's strategy for helping customers process data at the edge is targeting specific verticals like manufacturing.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Dell Technologies is rolling out new tools for customers that want to leverage data at the edge. 

First, it's unveiling the latest release of the Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform, which is aimed at helping organizations store and process streaming data coming out of edge devices. Next, the company is rolling out the first in a series of edge products aimed specifically at the manufacturing sector. 

More and more data is being generated at the edge, Dell noted. According to Gartner, 75 percent of enterprise data will be created and processed outside of the data center or cloud by 2025. By 2024, IDC estimates the number of applications running on the edge will increase 8x. In many cases, brand new applications are being created for specific use cases.

"We believe the edge is the next frontier for digital transformation," Dell's Varun Chhabra told reporters. "More and more resources are being moved out to the edge... This is a massive opportunity that our customers are looking to Dell Technologies for help with."

The Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform was built from the ground up to handle the growing amount of data coming out of edge devices -- which, Chhabra noted, has very different characteristics relative to traditional enterprise data. 

The platform can handle streams of data from tens of thousands and in some cases millions of edge devices. The data is ingested into one platform, regardless of its source or type, and transformed into unified data for easy implementation and management of the data. 
The unified platform can handle real-time as well as batch and historical analytics. It also integrates seamlessly with existing Dell EMC storage solutions.

"That means applications that are being written at the edge don't have to worry about writing data to two different locations," Chhabra explained. 

Meanwhile, to serve the manufacturing sector, Dell is partnering with PTC to offer a reference architecture for use cases at the edge. It's the first edge product that Dell intends to build on top of the Dell Apex Private Cloud specifically for manufacturing. 

"A lot of emerging use cases within the edge are vertically driven, with specific applications and workflows or scenarios being created for these different verticals," Chhabra said. Manufacturing is a key vertical with "maximum investment in the edge." 

Dell's manufacturing solutions will be aimed at simplifying edge deployments for smart manufacturing through application consolidation and deriving real-time edge insights. PTC is the first company Dell is partnering with to offer a consolidated application infrastructure package. 

With the reference architecture, companies can derive insights from workstations, computers, mobile devices and other endpoints within a manufacturing environment. All of the data is accessible in one place. 

Because the offering is built on top of the Apex Private Cloud, it ensures the speed and scalability necessary at the edge across mulitple factories running thousands of devices, Chhabra said. 

Dell on Wednesday also highlighted an edge case study from the railroad industry. Using Dell infrastructure and services, Duos Technologies has deployed AI at the edge to dramatically speed up railcar inspections. 

Typically, railway inspections are a slow, manual process. Some trains reach a mile long with 120 cars. With an expert manually inspecting each for safety, the process can take almost 16 hours. 

By using Dell edge servers, Duos is leveraging computer vision to automate the safety inspections, scanning trains as they go by. Now, inspections are completed in just eight minutes.

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