Dell Technologies at CES: The Importance of Endpoint Evolution

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  January 5, 2022

The tech industry is renowned for its attention to shiny new things, and there are few venues where this is more apparent than the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that takes place every January. However, while many of the products introduced and promoted at CES deserve time in the spotlight, the attention they draw is a distraction from an equally vital practical issue – how well vendors have evolved existing solutions and portfolios.

That is especially important for products used in the workplace, including endpoint PCs and laptops. Those solutions obviously need to deliver the goods in terms of promised features and performance, but customers also depend on vendors to continually enhance endpoints to help employers and employees address business and marketplace shifts. The new solutions Dell Technologies introduced at CES 2022 along with three new workplace Concepts announced in mid-December are good examples of this. Let’s consider them further.

CES 2022: Dell reimagines XPS 13 and collaboration

Launched originally at CES 2012, Dell’s XPS 13 has since become one of the company’s most iconic, top-selling laptops, and for good reason. That first generation (L321X) was Dell’s initial Ultrabook, a class of laptops that utilized a host of new technologies and features to deliver significantly better compute, battery and display performance. The XPS 13 also fundamentally altered the company’s reputation for product design and aesthetics. The XPS 13 wasn’t just a new laptop line—it was a signpost indicating Dell Technologies’ future direction.

Since then, next gen XPS 13 solutions have steadily highlighted new features and technologies developed by Dell and strategic partners, like Intel, and the 10th anniversary XPS 13 Plus introduced this week at CES 2022 continues that progression. This is the first XPS 13 to incorporate 12th gen Intel Core processors. However, new Dell fan technologies (increasing airflow by 55 percent without raising noise or temperature) enable the XPS 13 Plus to use 28W Intel Core chips (up from 15W in prior gen systems), thus substantially improving overall performance.

Along with streamlined design changes that reinforce the XPS 13 line as a solid choice for use in the office or home, the new XPS 13 Plus offers practical enhancements, including Express Charge 2.0 (which brings the laptop up to 80 percent battery life in under an hour), larger (zero-lattice) keycaps, a glass touchpad, improved InfinityEdge display and redesigned quad speaker system. The XPS 13 Plus also meets the social impact plans in Dell 2030 Goals.

Dell’s new UltraSharp 32 4K Conferencing Monitor also offers new and improved features, as well as a sophisticated design aesthetic that fits both home and workplace use cases. The monitor includes Dell’s UltraSharp Webcam (with SafeShutter), echo-cancelling dual array microphones and 14W speakers, enhancing both collaboration and visual experiences.

The UltraSharp’s IPS Black technology and VESA DisplayHDR 400 features enables content to be viewed in 4K resolution, contrast, and color, and ComfortView Plus reduces harmful blue-light emissions without affecting color accuracy. Like other Dell video conferencing monitors, the new UltraSharp is certified for Microsoft Teams and comes with privacy and productivity features.

Both the XPS 13 Plus and UltraSharp 32 4K Conferencing Monitor will be available for purchase worldwide in Spring 2022.

Dell Concepts for seamless work experiences

While the new solutions launched at CES 2022 address current issues and needs, Dell’s vision of the workplace of the future is apparent in the Seamless Work Experience Concepts outlined last month in a blog by Glen Robson, CTO of Dell’s Client Solutions Group:

  • Concept Flow – is designed to remove the productivity-sapping friction workers can experience as they transition from location to location. To address that, Dell engineers are marrying devices, industry standard wireless charging technology, intelligent software applications and Wi-Fi 6E docking technology to create a singular, seamless proximity-sensitive user experience. As a result, workers will be able to get up and running faster and with fewer steps and headaches than they currently do.
  • Concept Pari – Teams and team members often face communication and collaboration barriers when using video conferencing tools. To improve that situation, Dell engineers studied the impact of cameras and camera placement on communication and developed a small (~ 1 ounce/30 grams), simple, moveable wireless webcam with built-in microphone that can be placed and positioned virtually anywhere. Using the webcam, users can more easily maintain direct eye contact with those they are addressing and share offscreen content and images. While designed mainly for people who regularly engage in video calls, Concept Pari could be a worthwhile asset for anyone who regularly transitions between various work locations.
  • Concept Stanza – Finally, traditional work activities, like notetaking can also be improved with new digital tools. Concept Stanza aims to do that by providing workers a thin, light, port-less, 11-inch companion device for PCs. Designed to reduce distractions, using Concept Stanza is similar to handwriting notes but double tapping a note instantly converts it to text that can be saved, retrieved, searched and shared across multiple devices. Designed to be used with either a stylus or microphone, Concept aims to blend analog and digital processes, thus enhancing overall workplace productivity.

Final analysis

The new Dell XPS 13 Plus and UltraSharp 32 4K Conferencing Monitor launched at CES 2022, along with the Seamless Work Experience Concepts announced last month, highlight how the company is effectively addressing business customers’ current requirements while planning innovative future products and tools. What is clear from examining these new and potential offerings is Dell Technologies’ astuteness in balancing the market’s thirst for valuable new solutions and the need to continually evolve its portfolio of workplace endpoints.

© 2022 Pund-IT®. All rights reserved.

Lenovo Delivers AI-Enhanced Edge Computing with NVIDIA GPUs

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  December 15, 2021

The case for edge computing is so compelling that it can obscure the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” nature of these solutions. The fact is that potentially valuable data has always existed or been generated at the edges of business networks whether they encompassed factory floors, retail outlets, remote locations, city streets or wireless infrastructures. What finally made edge computing possible and increasingly worthwhile are the evolutionary improvements that innovative vendors develop and deliver.

That point is highlighted in the new ThinkEdge SE450 servers that Lenovo introduced last week. By working closely with strategic hardware and software partners, Lenovo offers customers ways to solve complex problems with AI-enhanced solutions. Let’s consider that in more detail. Continue reading

IBM Z – Helping Enterprises Adapt to Cloud Modernization

By Charles King, Pund-IT®

Discussions about enterprise systems often focus on traditional, RAS (resiliency, availability, scalability) performance features, with nods toward developing issues, like securing businesses against rapidly evolving security threats. But a vital point that doesn’t get near as much attention as it deserves is adaptability. That is, how best and effectively businesses can integrate existing systems with new, forward-thinking strategies and efforts, like hybrid cloud and application modernization.

That is especially crucial when it comes to enterprise solutions, like IBM’s Z mainframe offerings that support core, business-critical applications and processes. As a result, the company’s new IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center announcement is worth close attention. Continue reading

Dell Technologies – 20+ Years of OEM Innovation

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  December 1, 2021

As I’ve written before, though the concept of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) is deeply embedded in tech industry and culture, most people focus on the OEM relationships between large hardware vendors and their component partners or between commercial ISVs and PC makers. Those interactions are akin to OEM interdependencies in every other manufacturing sector. For example, specialist subcontractors contribute everything from light bulbs, wire harnesses, paint and interior appointments to the cars and trucks that roll off automaker assembly lines.

But there is another less recognized and understood OEM dynamic where system vendors provide the digital brain power for a wide variety of compute-enabled devices. These solutions range from products utilizing relatively simple embedded PC components that never see the light of day to full-fledged systems and appliances that are sold under the OEM customer’s name and brand.

Dell Technologies has been proactively involved in this latter form of business since 2000, and Dell’s Kyle Dufresne, Global SVP and GM of the company’s OEM Solutions, recently blogged about reaching this milestone. Let’s consider Dell’s OEM efforts and what they mean to the company’s partners and customers. Continue reading

Pund-IT Executive Spotlight – Tom Rosamilia, Senior Vice President, IBM Software

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  November 16, 2021

Tom Rosamilia has had a remarkable career by most any measure, but it is particularly notable in the tech industry, where employment tends to be highly peripatetic. After graduating from Cornell University in 1983 with degrees in computer science and economics, Rosamilia joined IBM where he worked in programming, software and product development, and management roles. In 1998, he was named VP of IBM’s z Series S/390 (mainframe) software development.

During the following years, Rosamilia served as vice president or general manager in several IBM software and hardware organizations, until 2013 when he became SVP of IBM Systems & Technology Group and IBM Integrated Supply Chain. In 2015, he was named SVP of IBM Systems and had global responsibility for all aspects of IBM’s servers and storage as well as the Company’s Global Business Partners organization.

In July of this year, Rosamilia became SVP of IBM Software where he directs product design and investment strategy, expert labs, global software product development, marketing and field operations across the company’s vast software portfolio, including major product brands such as Watson, Db2, Cognos, QRadar, and Cloud Paks. He also leads the company’s cybersecurity mission.

I recently interviewed Tom Rosamilia about his latest senior leadership role, and discussed how IBM’s efforts in hybrid cloud, artificial intelligence, security and other areas benefit customers and partners, and differentiate the company in highly competitive global markets.

Continue reading

De-risking Cloud Consumption: IBM Cloud for Financial Services

De-risking Cloud Consumption: IBM Cloud for Financial Services

By Charles King, Pund-IT®

risk

/risk/

noun: a situation involving exposure to danger

verb: to expose (someone or something valued) to danger, harm, or loss.

One of the odder points about cloud computing is the ongoing contentiousness over technical infrastructure. Debating the quality and benefits of various system designs, silicon developments and aaS models has its place but is analogous to arguing over who builds the best turbines for hydroelectric plants. More important concerns include how electrical services are being put to use and how well vendors are addressing customers’ business-critical requirements.

In the case of cloud, that is especially important when it comes to organizations that require far more than support for simple business processes or general-purpose compute, such as those in heavily regulated industries like banks, insurers and other financial institutions. IBM Cloud for Financial Services offers a good example of how an innovative vendor can blend deep technical expertise, decades of industry experience and valuable strategic partnerships into compelling new services and solutions. Continue reading

Lenovo SSG Launches Turnkey Solutions

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  October 20, 2021

If you were ranking the most revolutionary technology products of the past quarter century, the modern PC would have to be at or near the top of the list. Early on, PCs were playthings for the technically inclined before businesses adopted them for productivity and workplace tasks. Continuing evolution and countless innovative developments helped bring modern PCs to where they are today: reliable, affordable, easy to use devices that are more akin to home appliances than they are to early personal computers.

Can the example of modern PCs be applied to other technologies? Certainly. In fact, that very point is central to the new Lenovo Turnkey Solutions that the company’s Solutions and Services Group (SSG) introduced this week at the Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo. Let’s consider the new offerings more closely. Continue reading

Dell Technologies Pitches Edge Computing Strategy, Solutions and Partnerships

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  October 20, 2021

Managing IT at or beyond the edge of traditional corporate networks has been an important subject for years, especially among businesses that employ remote/branch offices (ROBOs) and mobile workers. But edge computing as a separate entity has gained relevance and momentum during the past half decade due to the evolution of complementary technologies, including Internet of Things (IoT) offerings and increasingly powerful wireless services.

It is both logical and natural that vendors move ahead to support the edge computing needs of corporate customers. In fact, the new edge-focused solutions and services announced recently by Dell Technologies and key partners offer interesting examples of what businesses can expect and should be looking for. Let’s consider Dell’s solutions in more detail. Continue reading

Innovating Home Video Conferencing: Dell’s New 27 Video Conferencing Monitor – S2722DZ

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  October 13, 2021

Predictability is a business value largely ignored until unpredictability rears its head. That was a central lesson at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic as thousands of companies and millions of their employees struggled to find, learn and manage predictable solutions for working from home (WFH) and other remote locations. As the pandemic continues, many of those temporary options are becoming permanent parts of workers’ lives.

How are vendors responding? In the case of Dell, the company recently launched five new monitors designed to simplify WFM and other mobile processes and applications. Following are my thoughts on the new Dell 27 Video Conferencing Monitor (S2722DZ) and a few brief comments on the rest of the group. Continue reading

IBM and the Semantics of Cloud

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  September 29, 2021

For a technology that has existed for some 15 years, the form and meaning (or semantics) of cloud computing remains oddly unsettled. Depending on who you talk or listen to, cloud may or may not incorporate as-a-service (aaS) solutions for infrastructure (IaaS), platforms (PaaS) or software (SaaS). Clouds may be public (off-premises) or private (on-premises), or both (hybrid), and might or might not incorporate various public cloud services (multi-cloud). Most cloud service providers (SPs) act as hosts for often massive troves of customer data, but some argue that hosting services are not, per se, cloud.

Cloud SPs talk about themselves all the time, often at finely orchestrated public events. Less common are opportunities for analysts and other interested parties to directly engage with senior executives at Tier 1 cloud providers. Howard Boville, SVP of IBM Cloud recently hosted an update for analysts to discuss the company’s practical and strategic imperatives around cloud computing. Following are a few thoughts on this event. Continue reading