Picking partners in the IoT landscape

“It can be paralyzing to see hundreds of platforms out there,” explains Jason Shepherd, Dell’s director of IoT strategy and partnerships.

Shepherd HeadshotIn mid-April, Dell launched its Dell IoT Solutions Partner Program, designed to help customers and partners navigate the IoT landscape and identify the right technologies to develop their IoT solutions. Dell envisions the program—which currently boasts more than 30 partners such as GE, SAP and OSIsoft—extending across a range of industries, from manufacturing to building-automation and transportation

“It can be paralyzing to see hundreds of platforms out there,” explains Jason Shepherd, Dell’s director of IoT strategy and partnerships. “People are looking for someone who can tie it all together. We are curating the landscape—helping to match customers with the right tech partners.”

Smart Industry: Why this initiative at this time?

Jason: “We know this is a major opportunity and Dell has all the elements ready to implement. We know the infrastructure that is required, and we have the ability to pull data out of the network machines. We can bridge the gap between IT and OT.”

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Smart Industry: Why this emphasis pairing IT and OT? 

Jason: “In the OT world, IT is viewed as a liability at times. The OT world is secure—a closed network doing their thing. Whereas IT is bridging to the Internet, with systems such as CRM and ERP tying in. That introduces value but also raises security concerns. We can help with credibility, running stuff on IT networks, bringing formerly closed-loop systems online. We lend credibility in terms of IT security and managing devices on networks.”

Smart Industry: What’s your IIoT strategy as you move into this space?

Jason: “Our strategy is to be the leading provider for Commercial and Industrial IoT solutions—from purpose-built edge hardware to classic IT infrastructure. Being that core enabling provider. Selling that through our Dell OEM Solutions division and partnering with operations-focused software and sensor providers and systems integrators. We bridge IT and OT organizations and customer bases. Our partners can bring together OT and systems integrators. Together we can make things happen.”

Smart Industry: Why now?

Jason: “There is, currently, a need to build clarity. There is so much opportunity in this IoT space, particularly when connected devices hit scale. That’s why it’s important for a program of this nature right now. We’re focused on that level of curation and building clarity around an ecosystem vs. making it pay-to-play. This market needs clarity. That’s our goal.” 


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  • The IT-OT integration comes in in the later part of the process of deploying IIoT. Most plants get started by deploying the sensors first, monitoring on premise in the beginning. Indeed many plant managers are asking how to get started with IIoT. There is a proven process for deploying IIoT in plants: Step 1 Plant-wide digital sensor networks Step 2 Instrumenting assets Step 3 Deploy predictive analytics software on-premise Step 4 Review work processes Step 5 Enable IntRAnet of Things Step 6 IntERnet of Things business models See further explanation in this essay: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-plants-get-started-iiot-jonas-berge


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