CES 2021 – Dell Spotlights WFH Innovations

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

Though my work as an industry analyst largely involves business technologies, I’ve made it a point to attend the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas since I launched Pund-IT in 2005. Why so? Because for the past couple of decades, consumer technology products typically presaged what would arrive in the workplace a year or so later.

That was mainly because vendors initially aimed advanced new features in PCs, peripherals, displays and audio/video gear at consumers who were more willing to pay a premium for shiny new things than businesses that regarded IT as an investment. That doesn’t mean that business tech is entirely absent from CES. Workplace-related trends, like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and increasingly powerful and light notebooks, tablets and phones that enabled employees to work from anywhere garnered floorspace over the years.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting need to support employees working from home (WFH) have inspired some vendors heading to CES 2021. In particular, the products that Dell is taking to this year’s virtual CES highlight how the company is focusing on integrated, transformative solutions and services that enable employees and employers to reimagine how they approach business. Let‘s take a closer look at what Dell is introducing at CES 2021

Secure, sustainable and smart

Dell strategy for its business PC and peripheral solutions was best summed up by Ed Ward, SVP of Dell’s Client Product Group who noted, “Secure, sustainable and smart: that’s the way forward for PCs.” But what does Dell mean by this?

  • Secure – In its PCs and other products, Dell pursues what it calls an “intrinsic” approach to security that begins at the factory with supply chain security and integrity controls and extend to its built-in safeguards based on VMware Carbon Black designed to prevent, detect and respond to malicious attacks below and above the operating system. These are points that should please business customers looking to safely secure systems used outside traditional workplaces. Additionally, the new Latitude 9420 and 9520 solutions introduced at CES 2021 include unique automatic webcam shutters that open/close in synch with video conferencing applications, as well as secure mic and mute keys. If WFH becomes standard operating procedure following the Covid-19 crisis, these features could find a place in Dell’s other business notebooks.
  • Sustainable – Environmental sustainability plays a significant role in Dell’s Progress Made Real social impact plan, sparking the development of solutions, materials and packaging that utilize renewable or recycled products. The new Latitude 5000 series notebooks and Precision 3560 mobile workstation are the first Dell client solutions that incorporate a bioplastic based on the “tall oil” by products that result from wood pulp paper making processes. Since the lids of both the Latitude 5000 series and Precision 3560 contain 21% bioplastic content they are helping to drive Dell’s 2030 moonshot goal that more than half of its product content will be made with recycled or renewable materials. Additionally, all of Dell’s new PCs and displays are ENERGY STAR certified and EPEAT Gold and Silver registered.
  • Smart – Dell’s CES 2021-bound solutions also extend its longstanding efforts to incorporate intelligent features that enhance productivity and user experience. Mostly incorporated in Dell Optimizer software, these functions use AI and machine learning to fine tune performance, audio quality, battery life and connectivity according to an individual’s habits and preferences. New Optimizer features include collaboration enhancing background noise cancelling and auto-mute, as well as bandwidth prioritizing to prevent dropped calls. The new Latitude 9420 offers enhanced speakerphone and camera enhancements, along with Intel’s latest 11th gen Core vPro processors, Intel Evo refinements and Intel Visual Sensing Technology. The company is also offering new display solutions optimized for collaboration, including the Dell 24, 27 and 34 Curved Video Conferencing Monitor and the Dell UltraSharp 40 Curved WUHD Monitor. All of the Video Conferencing Monitors are certified for Microsoft Teams and support secure facial recognition sign-in and hands-free commands.

Final analysis

Like other commercial client offerings, the new solutions and displays the company is introducing at CES 2021 can be purchased with Dell’s Unified Workspace deployment, security, management and support services, as well as through its PC as a Service (PCaaS) program. Both are designed to maximize the flexibility and value of business PC acquisition and ownership.

Those characteristics are important to most companies, even in the best of times. However, they have become especially vital during the past year as organizations struggled to make sense of a world and commercial markets convoluted by the pandemic.

Many businesses succeeded in staying ahead or abreast of rapidly shifting requirements and demands during 2020 but the current surges in infections suggests that 2021 will be challenging for individuals and organizations. At the same time, there is growing evidence that working from home and other changes inspired or necessitated by Covid-19 are likely to continue or expand in many businesses as the pandemic is brought under control. For these and other reasons, Dell’s new and enhanced commercial client and display solutions seem especially timely and well-considered.

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