Taking Embedded PCs Mainstream at Embedded World – #emb2016

We’ve had an exciting week at Embedded World 2016 in Nuremburg, Germany, along with more than 25,000 industry practitioners and experts. It’s the place to experience the world of embedded systems (aka computers embedded into existing machines like industrial equipment, elevators, trains, ATM machines, the gate to your parking garage down the street). For us it was the perfect venue to announce the latest addition to our IoT product portfolio, the new Dell Embedded Box PC 3000 and 5000 Series, available this summer.  

factory floor

Ubiquitous but hidden

Embedded computing devices (also called Industrial PCs or IPCs) are everywhere: in factory control systems, transportation, retail kiosks and more. Technavio predicts the embedded industry will reach $23.1 billion globally by 2019. Like PCs, they have memory, processors and storage, can connect to keyboards, mice and monitors. Unlike Dell’s traditional PCs and workstations, IPCs are not meant for you or I (human productivity), but scenarios where the computer is either completely encapsulated by the device it controls or a standalone PC made for challenging environments. Each use-case requires different environmental constraints and input/output (I/O) connections.

We listened to the industry

Dell PCs have been used in industrial environments for years, but our new Embedded Box PCs are built for long term, embedded use cases. This includes an efficient fanless design to help keep out dust with expansive operating temperature ranges and shock and vibration control. We know that the Dell heritage – quality, service, reliability, interoperability, supply chain management – already benefits millions of our PC customers. Those benefits have been difficult to find at a cost-effective price point for the IPC buyer. We’re now expanding on that foundation for embedded computer users.

The flexible Dell PC supply chain for embedded computers allows you to buy in batches, minimum order of one, and also forecast demand just like you do for PC purchases. There’s less risk of obsolescence and carried inventory cost is lower. We also offer delivery in standard PC lead times, usually a matter of weeks, since we keep fully configured systems in stock. The current industry norm is having to wait months for delivery. Dell embedded PCs will also come with certifications and country compliance, which saves more time.  

“The Dell Embedded Box PC series 3000 and 5000 are the first members of an industrial PC range created by the Texan builder. A very convincing offer.” – Silicon (France)

End-to-end embedded solution

With the Dell Embedded Box PC customers get Dell Support and Deployment services including ProSupport, which provides up to five years of end-to-end hardware support for the entire IoT product lifecycle, helping customers maximize their environment and minimize time spent on maintenance. With 5 global command centers, 625 parts distribution centers and more than 2,000 carry-in service centers, we can support your expansion and help ensure your systems stay in commission. You avoid the limited hardware warranties (or no services at all) typical in the IPC market.

Especially with IoT use cases, a lot of our customers are interested in POCs and cool projects, but don’t have the financing to get going quickly. We provide flexible payment solutions through Dell Financial Services, a full-service finance company that annually funds approximately $4 billion of IT equipment for Dell customers across consumer and commercial business segments.

"What stands behind Dell's new industrial PC solutions is every bit as crucial as what's included in the box," King wrote in a research note. "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," via eWeek.

 The Dell Embedded Box PC 5000 and the Embedded Box PC 3000

The Dell Embedded Box PC 5000 and the Embedded Box PC 3000

Rugged for harsh environments

There’s a great group of engineers on my team who designed these products — some who have recently joined the team from outside operations technology (OT) organizations and some who have led past product designs from our Dell rugged product group and really understand the needs of IT and how to build technology for extreme environments.

These new Embedded PCs are designed for MIL-STD-810G providing a versatile solution that can withstand higher shock and vibration, a wide range of temperatures, 24×7 operation and long life requirements. They can be deployed “headless” or with keyboards, mice and monitors. They have expanded I/O connections, both wired and wireless, with Intel® Atom™ and Intel® Core™ processor options and extra PCI slots to add more functionality if needed. The Model 5000 is a high-bandwidth industrial PC for uses such as multi-HD video streaming apps and high-frequency sensor data sources. The Model 3000 is smaller and for space-constrained industrial PC uses requiring rich embedded I/O and extended operating specs, such as traffic control, in-vehicle, retail, kiosk, and vending uses.

It’s been an exciting week and I’m looking forward to the future of Dell’s IoT and embedded computing initiatives. Let’s continue the discussion on Twitter @andrewmrhodes!

About the Author: Andy Rhodes