‘IoT is an octopus … and we are everything except the suckers.’
— Andy Rhodes, vice president of Internet of Things Solutions at Dell
Andy Rhodes, vice president of Internet of Things Solutions at Dell, is probably the first person that has ever described the internet of things (IoT) architecture as an octopus.
In Rhodes’ analogy, the octopus’s suckers on its tentacles are the sensors that collect information, the small brain that resides in each of the eight tentacles is the gateway processing the information, and the brain in the octopus’s head is the cloud.
“That’s the thing with IoT,” he said with a knowing smile that told you he was an old hand at explaining IoT. The sensors collect information that is locally processed at the gateway before being sent to the cloud; all the components work together and never independently of each other.
Asked where Dell fit into this analogy, he said that the company was “the octopus … we are everything except the suckers,” meaning that Dell specializes in analyzing and storing useful data.
Given that information does not directly go from sensor to cloud — which would mean a nearly infinite amount of unfiltered data being uploaded — local computing and real-time analysis is a must and a niche that Dell fits comfortably in.
In the IoT solutions field, Dell is not making the sensors that take in the data; rather, as Rhodes noted, the company collects the data and analyzes it, which, as opposed to customizing sensory products for a number of clients, means Dell gets to work with thousands of customers on data analysis and IoT projects.
“IoT is a great word to explain the theme, but the reality is you have to go speak to your customer — what are they trying to achieve, what is the use case (and) what is the purpose of the IoT project,” he concluded.