US hints at state support for domestic ORAN push

The US government is thinking of subsidising US tech companies to help them get better at 5G software, in the hope that will solve the Huawei problem.

The rumour comes courtesy of the WSJ, which actually has a named source for once. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told the Journal that the White House is ‘working with’ tech companies to help them raise their game when it comes to networking software. This would enable the US to be self-reliant on 5G in the advent of the Open RAN movement getting to the point when it was actually useful.

Presumably US tech companies have previously tried to take on Huawei in the networking market but failed. What a few top tips from President Trump will do to tip the balance in their favour is unclear, but a shed-load of public cash never does any harm. Among the companies involved in the initiative are AT&T, Microsoft and Dell, apparently, but Ericsson and Nokia also seem to have been adopted by the US for the purpose of this exercise.

Unsurprisingly Dell and Microsoft are especially keen to get involved, cognisant as they presumably are of the massive new market available to them is networks can be run by software sitting on any old server. Apparently Michael Dell has even gone on the record as saying “software is eating the hardware in 5G.”

While we would never suggest that some US tech companies might exploit the current use of Huawei as a pawn in the trade war with China, we can imagine the likes of Dell exaggerating the short term prospects of ORAN in order to tell budget-holding politicians what they want to hear. For further analysis, check out this Light Reading piece.

Dell flies through Q3 with 15% revenue growth

Dell Technologies has reported its financials for the third quarter of 2018, with few complaining about15% revenue growth to $22.5 billion.

While the company still has a considerable bill to pay off following the $67 billion acquisition of EMC in 2016, the firm has boasted about paying off approximately $1.3 billion of core debt after three months of positive growth across the group.

“The digital transformation of our world is underway, and we are in the early stages of a massive, technology-led investment cycle,” said Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies. “Dell Technologies was created to meet this opportunity head on for our customers and our investors. You can see the proof in our strong growth, in our powerful innovation and in the depth of our customer relationships.”

With total revenues standing at $22.482 billion, most of the numbers are heading in the right direction. The company is still loss-making, though this has narrowed to $356 million for the last three months and $522 million for 2018 so far, improvements of 13% and 78% respectively compared to the same periods of 2017.

Starting with the Infrastructure Solutions Group, revenue for the third quarter was $8.9 billion, a 19% increase, with the servers and networking delivering its sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth. Storage products saw a 6% increase in revenues taking the total up to $3.9 billion.

The Client Solutions Group saw revenues increase by 11% to $10.9 billion, with Dell suggested strong growth in both the commercial and consumer units. Commercial revenue grew 12% to $7.6 billion, and Consumer revenue was up 8% to $3.3 billion, while the firm outperformed the PC industry for total worldwide units.

In the VMWare business unit, revenue for the third quarter was $2.2 billion, up 15%, with operating income of $768 million. This is one area where the Dell management team feel some of the biggest benefits of the EMC acquisition are being felt, with the dreaded ‘synergies’ tag emerging. However, it’s the external AWS partnership which seems to be claiming the majority of the plaudits.

“Overall, I think yesterday’s announcement at re:Invent just reinforced the momentum that we have in the partnership with Amazon,” said Patrick Gelsinger, CEO of VMWare. “And clearly, the VMware Cloud on AWS, we continue to see great customer uptake for that. We reinforce the expansion of that with the Relational Database Service, the RDS announcement that we did at VMworld and yesterday’s Outposts announcement just puts another pillar in that relationship. So now I’d say, we’re on Chapter 3 of the partnership. And overall, we just can see the continued momentum.”

Dell Technologies is not a company which get a huge amount of press inches nowadays, though trends are certainly heading in the right direction here.

Dell makes £1bn IoT bet while Ericsson unveils the smart scarecrow

Dell Technologies has announced a three-year, $1 billion investment which will underpin a new IoT Division to focus the development of products and services across the rest of the business.

And while some people might assume such announcements are nothing more than a bit of PR posturing by the attention-deprived, don’t forget this is a company which doesn’t mind throwing a bit of cash around. It was only in 2015 the team decided to shell out $67 billion to acquire EMC to bulk out the focus on cloud; Micheal Dell doesn’t joke when it comes to cash.

The new business unit will be led by VMware CTO Ray O’Farrell and will focus on creating solutions which make use of the Dell Technology resources, but also the tools in the wider ecosystem. In terms of the poster child of the Dell Technologies IoT offensive, it would appear the Edge Gateways are going to be the springboard to bigger and better things.

This is a relatively simple idea in theory, but a bit more complicated in practise. Managed by the VMware Pulse IoT Control Center, the Edge Gateways allow for more analytics and actions to be taken on the edge of the network. Data sets will (in theory) no longer have to be sent back to a centralized cloud, meaning transmission costs and time can be saved. It might seem a bit frivolous, but there are instances where the fractions can means profits; think about optimizing equipment on an oil rig in the middle of the North Sea, or robotic surgery. Latency in one instance means a bit less profit, in the other in means a bit less arm.

“Dell Technologies has long seen the opportunity within the rapidly growing world of IoT, given its rich history in the edge computing market,” said O’Farrell.

“Our new IoT Division will leverage the strength across all of Dell Technologies family of businesses to ensure we deliver the right solution – in combination with our vast partner ecosystem – to meet customer needs and help them deploy integrated IoT systems with greater ease.”

It might seem like a simple idea, but the best ones usually are. And don’t forget, while we have been talking about the IoT-gasm for some time, it is still a new idea for those who would on the enterprise side of things. The concept of edge computing was one which attracted significant attention a few years back, but the euphoria clearly wasn’t sustainable. While it might not be a fad right now, it is a critical component of the IoT mix; those who master the edge will have an advantage over those who rely on applications and processes which are managed by the core cloud.

Elsewhere in the IoT world, Ericsson has been getting down and dirty with farmers. Working alongside PS Solutions and CKD, the Swedes have brought out a number of new agriculture related IoT offerings which includes a connected scarecrow.

Known as ‘e-kakashi’ (which translates to e-scarecrow), the offering will aim to create an ideal environment for almost any crop to grow in. Using PS Solutions and Ericsson’s AI knowhow, e-kakashi’ monitors temperature, humidity, CO2 and other conditions, to make recommendations for CKD’s kit to alter the environment. For example, to maintain the ideal temperature for growing tomatoes, “e-kakashi” adjusts greenhouse ventilation.

See, IoT isn’t just about talking fridges.