In recent years, Dell Technologies has emerged as a tech powerhouse. The sheer scale of products and services on offer from the companies under its umbrella (Dell, EMC, Pivotal, RSA, Secureworks, Virtustream and VMware) is staggering. “Our strength lies in the range, breadth and depth of our product line,” says Liam Quinn, senior vice president and senior fellow, Dell Inc. “There is an ongoing initiative driven all the way from Michael Dell to the bottom, on enabling humankind with the right technologies in a cost-effective and simplified manner,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview. Excerpts:
Data is growing at the edge and there is need for real-time, powerful compute at scale to support Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) workloads. Isn’t the datacentre increasingly becoming distributed?
It is true that datacentres are increasingly becoming distributed. This is due to the technology shifts and trends such as 5G that are moving the data faster, making it difficult to centralise the current environment. For example, if we are moving large amounts of data that is being generated by smart cars, smart cities, etc., we can’t physically move all this data into cloud because of various factors such as bandwidth, cost, etc. Therefore, datacentres will become more even more decentralised and we will witness the paradigm shift of edge computing.
Don’t you think AI and ML applications will enhance the user experience by reducing both technology and human complexity?
AI and ML have been around for decades now. However, machines are becoming smarter due to ML and deep learning. The goal is for these algorithms to learn from the amount of data generated. The finer the tuning of the algorithms, the better the insights for the machine itself. Therefore, these machines will be much more adaptive to us. Based on prior interaction, machines will be able to differentiate between you and another human. For us, it’s an ongoing strategy to drive more AI and ML into all of our platforms, not only on the client side, but right through the datacentre networking and storage.
What are the key technology priorities for Dell Technologies today?
We are leveraging AI and ML as part of a holistic user feedback to ensure that the user is more tailored to the system converse and the system is more responsive to the user. Today, when we look at devices, the clients demand great user experiences over and above the design itself. We do great things from a design layout perspective to drive this user experience across our commercial, consumer and display product lines, with the help of various technologies. For example, from the gaming perspective, we look at automating gaming, to drive better experience. Hence, we look at the responsiveness of the system, the right amount of battery life, power usage, etc, to keep the user engaged with the platform.
Our strength lies in the range, breadth and depth of our product line. Currently, from a technology point of view, there is an ongoing initiative driven all the way from Michael Dell to the bottom, on enabling humankind with the right technologies in a cost-effective and simplified manner. This is because information technology (IT) is complex and the more we can simplify, the better it is. We believe that we have done tremendous amount of work over the last 30 years. If we take a look at the portfolio we brought in with the EMC acquisition, the simplification of our portfolios is really impressive.
With 5G around the corner, will it drive the need for software defined IT strategies more than ever before?
5G is the era of hyper-connectivity for man and machines. It’s going to be a catalyst that will accelerate the adoption of new-age technologies. It’s more than just a cellular speed bump, it’s a modular journey which ought to enable the richness of relationship between human and machines.
From a Dell Technologies perspective, we believe that we are very well-positioned, all the way from edge to core to cloud. We have a great portfolio including all aspects of 5G from an architecture perspective, apart from the towers, radios and metros. In fact, we are involved with multiple telcos across the world who are looking for partners like us. Therefore, it’s an exciting time to be in the IT industry.
What will be the top three disruptions in terms of process or technology in some of the customer-centric industries?
It’s amazing how things change when the right technologies can be delivered to humans. For example, 10 years ago one would need to go online to book a hotel. However, now it’s all on an app. Similarly, there is going to be tremendous use of the 5G capabilities which will enrich verticals such as health, where doctors can be virtually supporting, enabling and assisting patients anywhere in the world. This stands true for agriculture sector too which requires adequate agricultural features and right mix of fertilisers and irrigation to feed humankind.