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Glen Burrows, Vice President and General Manager, APJ OEM & IoT Solutions, Dell EMC, spoke to Telecom Review Asia Pacific about the company’s role in realizing the benefits of Internet of Things (IoT) in Asia-Pacific-Japan. The region is well-positioned to drive the rise of IoT due to urbanization, the proliferation of technology and manufacturing growth, Burrows said. Dell EMC sells data storageinformation securityvirtualization, analytics, cloud computing and other products and services.

Can you update us on Dell EMC’s OEM & IoT Solutions business in the APJ region?

Since a standing start eight years ago in APJ, we’ve been growing at robust double digits each year. We are now serving more than 20 markets in the region. As we recently announced that Dell EMC hit $3bn in global revenue for the OEM & IoT Solutions business, this milestone indicates that APJ is a significant part of the global business.

Organizations in APJ are keen to realize the potential benefits of IoT, which is driving market growth faster than other regions. According to IDC, there will be a USD$583B market opportunity in IoT by 2020, with Asia set to be the hub of IoT. There are big opportunities for key verticals across the region to adopt IoT – namely video security & surveillance, industrial automation, manufacturing, transportation, energy, healthcare, telecommunications, and carrier service providers.

Why do you think the APJ region has been such a success for Dell EMC?

APJ is fuelled by a massive increase in connected devices, with IoT adoption gaining traction across multiple verticals and countries in the Asia Pacific region. For example, IDC reports that there will be 8.6 billion devices by 2020 and global IoT expenditure is expected to hit $1.29 trillion by 2020, with APAC seeing the greatest IoT spending throughout the forecast.

The region is well-positioned to drive the rise of IoT due to urbanization, the proliferation of technology and manufacturing growth. For instance, the manufacturing and logistics industry in APAC has created immense opportunity with the introduction of IoT technologies. Embedding sensors within machines to monitor the health of industrial plants before faults occur is now possible, reducing total cost of ownership and unnecessary maintenance.

Most notably, IoT in manufacturing has the potential to generate savings of up to $3.7 trillion per year by 2025. Across other sectors, the automotive industry has benefited from connected cars and utilities organizations are now equipped with Smart Energy Management systems.

However, disparities in adoption rates across the region exist with varying levels of IT infrastructure maturity. While advanced economies like South Korea and Japan have robust IoT technologies in place, developing nations like the Philippines and Indonesia are still in a pre-mature phase.

Because of our depth and breadth of offerings, as well as our huge global footprint, we are able to serve customers and help them make a valuable impact. The OEM & IoT Solutions business is able to serve three types of customers.

Firstly, we are able to serve local firms to meet local requirements. As we have capabilities to engineer, test, and manufacture these solutions in Asia, we are as much a local manufacturer as any other player in the market. Secondly, we also work with global customers who need to customize their solutions to meet local requirements of the markets they operate in. Lastly, we also have local customers who want to take advantage of our large global footprint and their IP worldwide.

This is something we helped Innodep, a security & surveillance firm out of South Korea, to do when we worked with them enable their IP-based security solution, Vurix IP-Matrix, with IoT technology. Beyond the deep expertise we delivered, the fact that Innodep could get a global supply chain instantaneously gives a special nuance to the value we bring. We are the only firm that can deliver to all three types of requirements, as each come with its own set of complexities.

Can you share insights on the APJ IoT landscape and customer challenges?

The IoT opportunity in APJ is vast. With the region projected by IDC to become ‘the frontline for IoT’, organizations here are keen to realize the potential benefits of IoT which is driving market growth faster than other regions. In IDC’s IoT Readiness Index, APJ ranks ahead of the rest of the world in its readiness for IoT due to its fast-paced growth and because it leapfrogs in terms of innovation and technology adoption.

There is a big opportunity for key verticals across the region to adopt IoT – namely video security & surveillance, industrial automation, manufacturing, transportation, energy, healthcare, telecommunications, and carrier service providers.

For example, tech trends seen in mainstream enterprise IT a decade ago are now being adopted by Japan’s leading process control and industrial automation companies. In contrast, China is strong on a few fronts: driving innovation in healthcare, smart manufacturing, and video security and surveillance.

In terms of ruggedized embedded computing solutions, these solutions lend themselves well to the mining industry which is strong in Australia, China, and Indonesia. Elsewhere, smart city initiatives in India, Singapore, and Thailand are driving growth opportunities including building management in markets like Australia & New Zealand.

As confidence in IoT solutions grows, customers are looking to it to underpin their entire business. Getting started with IoT requires an approach that is grounded in experience and pragmatism because it is not easy to capture, analyse, and leverage the data in an optimised way that drives business growth. IoT also demands an understanding of operational technology (OT), which use cases can be thought of as “islands of automation” with sensor generated data. OT can be as varied as a commercial air conditioner, an injection moulding machine or a heavy-duty truck engine.

While businesses across all verticals are realizing that they can bridge the OT and IT divide to create a unifying strategy, each of these use-cases mean that solutions are getting more and more fragmented. Standardization and interoperability are widely recognised as two of the biggest challenges to the success of IoT deployments. Before that happens, there is a need for customers to streamline their IoT strategy by working with one provider rather than multiple vendors.

As the past few years have seen several high-profile security incidents globally, ensuring end-to-end IoT security at all levels has been another concern for customers. To help fight this battle, the fractured IoT market needs to come together to develop security practices that will leave devices less vulnerable to attack. Enterprises need to begin investing in recruiting IoT security expertise, or developing it in-house.

One of the ways that we are addressing security-related challenges is through creating centralized intelligent data aggregators for sensors and other connected devices. Software running on these appliances can recognize specific data sets by size and frequency, reducing or eliminating potential attacks of this nature.

What’s Dell EMC’s approach to IoT?

We strive to provide end-to-end solutions from the industry’s broadest infrastructure portfolio, curated partners to deploy faster, and blueprints and ready solutions to accelerate ROI for our customers. Another key advantage to all of our customers is our commitment to openness in addition to facilitating standardization and interoperability through efforts in EdgeX Foundry, Industrial Internet Consortium and OpenFog. Given our longstanding heritage in open standards, we are one of the most open IoT solutions providers out there, which benefits customers with the ability to make choices without fear of lock-in.