Consumer desktop PC vendor Dell Inc. on Monday launched a line of compact, rugged computers designed to analyze the torrents of data generated by Internet of Things (IoT) applications in transportation and other sectors.
Known as the Dell Edge Gateway 3000 Series, the computers are designed to deliver connectivity and real-time intelligence from harsh environments and small spaces, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said.
By attaching these small computers to 18-wheelers, users can analyze the data generated by IoT sensors and platforms directly at the source, instead of incurring the extra time and cost of transmitting all that information back to a centralized, cloud-based database, according to Dell.
The product line includes three models targeted for use in the transportation, industrial automation, energy, and digital signage markets. The computer could be deployed in a vehicle, a refrigerated trailer, a remote oil pump in the desert, a digital sign in an elevator, or the inside of an HVAC unit on a casino rooftop.
Wherever they are installed, the Edge Gateway devices allow users to save bandwidth, reduce cost, and ease security concerns while still retaining the benefits of traditional IoT networks, such as real-time analysis of data generated by connected devices, Andy Rhodes, Dell's vice president and general manager for the Internet of Things, said in a statement.
The system works by performing computation and analysis at the "edge" of the IoT network—where the data is originally generated—instead of moving bulk quantities of information back to a data hub without knowing whether it could be useful. By computing at the edge, users can determine which data sets are interesting and relevant before choosing to send them back to the data center or the cloud for further analytics and longer-term storage, Dell said.
The approach is similar in concept to a plan from the Broomfield, Colo.-based startup N.io Innovation Ltd. (pronounced "Neo"), which has created a system to automate logistics, retail, and manufacturing operations by installing inexpensive microprocessors at sensors, scanners, and docks, empowering those electronic devices to make nearly instant "decisions" without waiting for instructions from a central server.
Dell's Edge Gateway 3000 Series devices will be available for purchase in early summer 2017 starting at $399.