By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. February 24, 2016
Embedded system solutions are evolving rapidly due to the efforts of some traditional system vendors, benefitting a wide range of industrial customers and use cases. Among the vendors working in the area, Dell has been among the most active and innovative, particularly due to efforts in the company’s OEM Solutions organization.
As a result, Dell has become a leading vendor in the space by delivering, as Glen Burrows, VP of Dell OEM Solutions APJ Area noted for a recent Pund-IT Marketplace Update, “The ‘digital brains’ for OEM clients’ manufacturing, automation and monitoring equipment.” Why Dell has found success here is due in large part to its considerable supply chain and manufacturing expertise, plus the economies of scale it can achieve.
In essence, the company focuses on replacing traditional custom-designed and built products known for long lead times, questionable reliability and limited management and support options with solutions based on commercial off the shelf components (COTS) and backed by Dell’s management and support offerings. As a result, the company’s OEM customers can get to market more quickly with products that are more reliable and easier to repair and maintain.
Dell’s new purpose-built industrial PC (IPC) products, the Embedded Box PC 3000 Series and 5000 Series, are excellent examples of this approach: ruggedized and fanless solutions designed to provide customers fast time-to-market. Why are being fanless and ruggedized important? For several reasons. In the former case, fans are among the most common failure points in PCs. But they can also be a distraction in work areas, like laboratories where customers prefer peace and quiet.
Ruggedized features can help computing solutions survive the extreme heat and vibration that are common in industrial workplaces. Dell also offers a full portfolio of rugged laptops, tablets and servers, and the lessons the company has learned in thousands of customer engagements have informed its developments in embedded, OEM and IoT solutions. That experience is obvious in the new IPC solutions, which can operate in temperatures ranging from 0°C to 50°C (32°F to 122°F) and are designed to MIL-STD 810G specifications for resisting extremes of temperature, humidity, vibration, shock and dust exposure.
The new Dell solutions are both designed to be used “headless” or with keyboard, mouse and monitor. Both support wired and wireless input/output (I/O) options, and run on Intel processors. In more detail:
- The 3000 Series utilizes Intel Atom processors and is designed for space-constrained use cases, such as automated vending devices, retail kiosks and vehicles.
- The 5000 Series is powered by Intel Core processors and includes two PCI/PCIe card slots, bolstering adaptability, performance and I/O scalability. The 5000 Series is designed for industrial PC and IoT use cases (multi-HD video streaming apps and high frequency sensor data sources), as well as manufacturing and automation control.
What stands behind Dell’s new industrial PC solutions is every bit as crucial as what’s included in the box. Namely, the company’s global availability, security and manageability options, as well as Dell Support and Deployment services. Why is that important? Because it is a notably different approach than that pursued by many other industrial embedded systems vendors.
For example, Dell ProSupport offers up to five years of end-to-end hardware support for the entire IoT product lifecycle. That helps customers maximize the value of their investments while minimizing maintenance and downtime. Qualified customers can also take advantage of Dell Financial Services, a full-service finance company that funds customers across the company’s consumer and commercial business segments.
Overall, Dell’s new Embedded Box PC 3000 Series and 5000 Series solutions build on both the company’s long history of PC innovation and its extensive efforts in ruggedized, OEM and IoT solution development. While the company is obviously known for its decades of delivering leading PCs and laptops for consumers and businesses, these new industrial PCs should demonstrate that Dell solutions can handle any kind of work and anything the workplace can throw at them.
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