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Shant Soghomonian, General Manager Channel, Dell EMC ANZ

 

We’ve all heard the saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. When it comes to digital transformation, your customers know they must make the journey, but are unsure how to take those steps – or which should be the first one.

 

Organisations clearly understand they need to make a digital transformation. According to the 2018 Digital Transformation Index, 78 per cent of Australian and New Zealand business leaders believe digital transformation should be more widespread in their organisations.

 

The problem is that they are struggling to make it happen. In Australia, one in three businesses are behind the digital business curve, while in New Zealand this number is just under half. Further, only 7 per cent of businesses in Australia and 2 per cent in New Zealand are classified as fully transformed ‘Digital Leaders’. While the number of digital leaders in Australia has grown since our inaugural Digital Transformation Index from 3 per cent it’s still not where we need to be.

 

Organisations face several barriers as they make the leap. According to the 1,200 business leaders we spoke to in the region, here are the most pressing ones in Australia and New Zealand.

 


Budget and Resources


Overhauling your entire business to become a digital organisation can require substantial investment. Not just in money, but also time and the effort of acquiring buy-in from the whole business. While transformation doesn’t need to happen in a single step, it does need a holistic plan of how it all works together.

 

There’s a trend emerging where some buyers make purchasing decisions without even consulting their own IT department. This makes working with a partner who can facilitate well-informed technology decisions pivotal. You can map the shortest, most cost-effective path to digital transformation and help identify the ways they can get the best bang for their buck. While replacing legacy technologies obviously creates long-term cost saving for the business, as a first step you help them leverage existing infrastructure and the newer environments, to deliver agility and cost-saving benefits.

 

With some organisations realising that moving to the cloud without picking the right type can be a costly misstep, your expertise can ensure that they get a multi-cloud environment that’s fit for purpose, for the right price.

 


Data privacy and cybersecurity concerns


As businesses increasingly rely on data to drive important decisions, the nature and sensitivity of data protection changed dramatically. The challenge now is ensuring that it and cybersecurity covers
every inch of the organisation.

 

The good news is that half of Australian and 41 per cent New Zealand businesses are building security and privacy into all devices, applications and algorithms. You would hope that those surveyed who aren’t doing this are heavily represented in the 53 per cent of Australian and New Zealand businesses that intend to invest in cybersecurity in the next 1-3 years.

 

This is where the partnership aspect of the channel comes into play again. You can help ensure that the appropriate protection is in play from the datacentre to the network to the user and every stage in between, as it moves through the multi-cloud environment

 


Immature digital culture

Digital transformation isn’t just about changing technology, it’s changing the business. Many organisations are looking to do just this, with 40 per cent of Australian and 36 per cent of New Zealand businesses saying they’re embracing agile software development. This allows them to develop faster and more efficiently.

They also understand that becoming a digital business isn’t just having pockets of technology, but all elements of the organisation working together. Consequently, 62 per cent of Australian businesses are sharing knowledge and, equipping IT leaders with business skills and business leaders with IT skills. New Zealand is less committed to this with only 43 per cent in the same position.

You’re placed to provide the solutions and guidance that connects these dots for your customers.

 


Information overload

Once, if your customers wanted information about products
or solutions they had a limited pool to dive into. There was you and other players in your space, brochures from vendors and trade publications.

Now that pool has grown to an ocean of information, and while it’s great that all that insight is available anywhere at any time, it can also make that ocean feel like a tsunami. Organisations are looking for someone to help them through choice paralysis, with a partner who can give them the guidance to focus on what really matters when making decisions.


It also means that they are looking for solutions that stems information overload within the business, given the explosion in the volume of data. Enabling automation wherever possible does the hard work for them.

 

Lack of the right skill sets and expertise

There is an appetite in many organisations to build skills within the business. Both countries acknowledged a skills gap, with 43 per cent of Australian and 40 per cent of New Zealand businesses working to develop the right skills sets and expertise in-house, such as teaching staff how to code. But this does not mean the channel is being cut out of the skills picture.

There’s never going to be a scenario where all skills can be found or developed in-house all the time, at least not without a massive blowout in headcount. As the trusted advisor, you can work with customers to identify where it makes sense to recruit or build in-house, where automation can deliver the required functionality and where outsourcing makes sense

The channel is no stranger to managing change. The industry itself has moved from selling boxes to partnering with customers to navigate the cloud. This partnership means its ideally placed to overcome the barriers to digital transformation that plague many organisations in Australian and New Zealand.

By Ken Mills, General Manager, IoT Surveillance and Security, Dell Technologies


Changing trends and surveillance technologies are creating powerful new solutions across safety, security, and day-to-day operations for these six leading industries.



Surveillance is rapidly changing across the world, and the technology supporting it is getting pretty complex fast. Gone are the days of analog cameras and single-person control rooms. Today, effective surveillance spans an interconnected, intelligent ecosystem of high-definition imaging, multi-modal sensors, data-sharing networks, and powerful analytics - a combination resulting in insights derived from digital images and video, otherwise known as “computer vision.”


Industries from just about every vertical are leveraging advanced surveillance technologies to protect employee well-being, safeguard communities, and improve overall processes and services, but perhaps none more than these six key industries where surveillance solutions are achieving some of the most impressive results around the world.


Education


Just ten years ago high schools were one of the primary users of surveillance cameras. Today, however, we see nearly every division of education integrate and adopt new surveillance technologies in order to keep students, faculty, and employees safe - whether that’s from vandalism, theft, or a potential active-shooter situation.


On college campuses, surveillance is more than just a tool for safety. It’s become a powerful recruiting device and persuader for students and parents who are increasingly conscientious of campus safety. In fact, popular sites such as US News & World Report include campus safety as part of their college rankings, referencing safety data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education.


State and Local Government (SLG)


When it comes to government, surveillance is largely about safe communities. From small-scale town-wide initiatives to major country-wide overhauls, state and local CIOs are leveraging quicker, smarter, and more secure surveillance infrastructures in order to keep their communities feeling safe and to meet the rising demand for more efficient interaction and information transfer.


According to a recent IDC report, intelligent transportation and data-driven public safety leveraging video surveillance and street lighting represent a quarter of spending by smart cities this year.


For many state and local governments the top priority is modernising mission-critical legacy systems to support integration with newer, more secure infrastructures, and government leaders are seeing the successful impacts right away. For example, 78 per cent of those who have deployed cloud-enabled solutions say they have lowered their asset-investment threshold and improved their ability to innovate. That includes decreasing response times to criminal activity and emergencies, deterring criminal and gang activity, providing digital evidence and documentation, and improving safety on roads and sidewalks.


Effective SLG surveillance includes counter-terrorism, and when it comes down to it, it’s about creating an environment where the community as a whole can feel safer, knowing police and other emergency responders are equipped with the best tools to react and respond quickly.

 

Transportation


Branching out from state and local government, the transportation industries that create and connect these communities share several of the same problems. Mass transit - including trains, subways, buses, planes, etc. all have crime.


Theft, assault, vandalism, and terrorism are most effectively prevented and stopped with intelligent end-to-end engineered surveillance systems that not only document current crimes but deter them in the future.


When it comes to airport security, the first thought that tends to come to mind is Customs and Border Protection, but it’s about so much more - including safety and crime prevention at TSA checkpoints, baggage claim areas, tarmacs, and terminals.


Transit systems are also incorporating computer vision to improve surveillance for traffic incident management, first-responder alerts, analysing behaviour of travellers, and helping to eliminate overcrowding during peak travel hours. For example, busy subway systems can leverage people counting to alert engineers when trains have reached capacity.


Healthcare


Healthcare as a leading surveillance market may come as a surprise to some, but a remarkable determining factor that consistently comes out of industry surveys as to whether healthcare employees leave or stay in their positions is how safe they feel in the workplace. This is critical in such an extremely competitive industry where one of the largest challenges is attracting and retaining highly qualified employees - employees who need to feel safe walking around the hospital, being with patients, and walking to and from parking lots often in the middle of the night.


Computer vision is also being deployed in healthcare facilities to help identify workplace-comp fraud and undue claims as well as to help prevent theft of prescription drugs.


An up-and-coming surveillance use case in healthcare is remote patient monitoring and digital patient sitters. Video surveillance and computer vision help provide round-the-clock virtual care to those that need it most while helping to minimise overcrowding in hospitals, giving patients the freedom to be at home versus a hospital bed. The right visibility of those patients, in turn, helps caregivers administer the best care possible.


Casinos and Entertainment


Casinos are unique in that they differ from most other industries in one major way: strict surveillance requirements are legally required to be fulfilled before business doors can even open. Because so much surveillance technology becomes a business line item, budgets are set aside.


That being said, it becomes the utmost importance for casinos to invest in the right technology that’s reliable and consistently operating for business continuity.


For example, since each gambling table is required to have three cameras covering it at all times, losing one camera can force a table to shut down. A lost table means lost profits. Now consider if a larger percentage of cameras fail, then the entire casino floor or even beyond would be required to shut down. Issues with surveillance hardware or software can translate to substantial losses for a casino business.


Retail


Many modern retailers are using video surveillance in some fairly straightforward use cases like traditional loss prevention, but some are leveraging edge-to-core-to-cloud architecture and hybrid strategies to stand out from their competitors in a way that is anything but traditional.


Classic loss prevention is a cornerstone of all retailers - looking for stealing either internally or externally and reducing the amount of loss that occurs so that every dollar saved goes towards the bottom line. Retailers are now able to use computer vision not just to identify losses that are actively occurring, but to predict complex patterns like customer insights. For instance, what kind of display will engage a customer the most, or for warehouse-style retailers, what are the risks associated with stacked items that may potentially collapse and cause injury and a lawsuit?

 

End-to-End Surveillance from Camera to Core to Cloud


A recurring pattern across industries comes down to the difficulty in deciding what kind of technology stack and surveillance solution is appropriate for a particular organisation and how to navigate the complexities of testing, validating and deploying an integrated system. Ideally, the solution needs to be flexible and scalable enough to solve today’s problems while effectively preparing for problems that may arise tomorrow - whether that’s terrorism, vandalism, theft, or a potential active-shooter situation. And on the flip side, what opportunities can be had from this new age of computer vision, whether it’s automated traffic alerts, virtual sitters, or customer-retention programs?


That’s where Dell Technologies IoT Solution for Surveillance comes into play. As the number one surveillance infrastructure provider in the world, we’re transforming the way surveillance technology is delivered with an open, holistic and integrated platform, offering customers their choice of devices, software, and analytics. Our lab-validated solutions built on Dell and Intel® technologies combined with our expert strategic consulting services and backed by the Dell EMC Global Services and Support team equip organisations across all industries - from public to private sector - with the right solutions, skill sets, and services needed to meet their surveillance needs today and well into tomorrow.


For more information, visit: www.dellemc.com/surveillance

By Donnie Oliphant




At Dell, we are very proud of the XPS 13. Not only is it a laptop that embodies our continuous innovation, it is also a laptop that has garnered the admiration and accolades of the industry as a whole. Throughout the last few years, reviews have more or less deemed it a perfect laptop, except for one small thing – the placement of our camera. When we disrupted the industry in 2015 by introducing the first edge to edge InfinityEdge screen, it enabled us, for the first time, to fit a 13-inch display in an 11-inch frame. But we also found ourselves faced with a conflict. With our top bezel of the display too small to fit the camera, and technology and engineering not yet advanced enough to provide us with a smaller camera, how could we maintain the integrity of our new narrow bezel? For the time being, we compromised on building the camera into the bottom bezel but immediately set out on a mission to one day move it back to the top.

 

Four years later, we’ve come a long way. Here’s our journey of introducing quite possibly the smallest HD webcam ever built – placed modestly back on the top bezel – and officially perfecting the XPS 13.

 

Solidifying a new sensor

 

Early on in the development process, we were able to engineer down from a 6-7mm camera dimension to 4mm, but that was still far too big for the XPS 13, which was designed for extreme mobility. We found that the microscopic gold wires that connected the sensor to the camera’s circuit board were taking up critical space, and that we needed a new sensor design to further reduce the size. We worked with our partners to create a new generation sensor that was a smaller format and moved the wiring pads to the sides so it could be attached horizontally. That eliminated ¾ mm to 1 mm in additional camera height.

 

A new approach to lens design

 

Next, we moved on to tackle the lens. We once again worked closely with our supplier to heavily invest in the design and assembly of these ultra-small components. They even needed to redesign their manufacturing process to miniaturise everything, drastically reducing the package of the lens. They had to develop new capabilities to make all the elements thinner and smaller, while still maintaining incredibly tight tolerances that preserve the lens’ optical quality. Traditionally, the lens and plastic body of the camera are two separate pieces threaded together manually to adjust the focus - sometimes by hand. But as we took a closer look, we realised the threads were adding unnecessary thickness to the camera. We took a page from the smartphone industry and implemented active alignment technology, a first for PC webcams.

 

Our supplier built an assembly machine for laptop cameras specifically to support Dell’s products. These machines are unlike anything we’ve used before and comprise an ultra-precise robot. This highly automated assembly also lends to less variation from module to module, ensuring every customer can expect the same performance and quality.

 

Employing this all-new assembly process, however, meant we had to invest in more than a year of testing to ensure reliability. For example, during pilot runs, we discovered sometimes a small amount of glue could expand beyond the camera body, pushing the top bezel larger than acceptable. So we introduced a laser beam to trim any extra glue, ensuring each camera module is exactly the same size. Through this tested manufacturing process, we were able to shrink the height of the camera another ¾ mm, achieving a vanishingly small 2.25mm final height. Bingo.

 

Smaller without sacrifice

 

In reducing the camera size, we risked lowering the quality for video conferencing in low light conditions.  When it is dark, it is more difficult for your camera to decipher the beginning and end of an object, so we implemented temporal noise reduction (the first PC maker to do so), that looks at multiple frames of data to decide what’s an edge and what is not, and preserves more of the fine details. We were able to see a 3-4x improvement in the noise levels, enabling us to preserve video quality while reducing the camera size.

 

We made it happen

 

Through this thorough process of tests, failures, redos and continued innovations over the last four years, we were able to reduce the camera from 7mm to 2.25mm and maintain exceptional high resolution video and picture quality. We disrupted the industry first introducing the narrow bezel trend, and now we are changing the game again with quite possibly the smallest HD webcam ever built. XPS 13 remains at the top of its class. 


By Doug Schmitt - President, Dell EMC Services

 

As we approach the second decade of the 21st century - and a new age of Human-Machine Partnerships, Dell Technologies is predicting that 2019 will be The Year of the Data-Driven Digital Ecosystem.


Machine learning (ML) and emerging artificial intelligence (AI) are empowering “data-driven digital ecosystems” that can analyse vast volumes of data for insight to improve outcomes - and to get continually smarter and smarter at doing so.


As part of our own digital transformation in Services, we are using these techniques to pioneer new and better ways to serve customers. Our data science teams have identified the enormous potential of AI/ML in multiple business areas. We utilise it in our proactive, predictive support capabilities and it’s playing a significant role in our supply chain. Jeff Clarke predicted that supply chains will get stronger and smarter in 2019 and the Global Service Parts team is delivering on that vision, taking advantage of AI/ML to deliver a better customer repair experience.


Applying Predictive, ML, AI and Operational Research Methodologies to Unlock New Insights


Dell EMC Services has been collecting and analysing data from our service parts supply chain for years. Today, our Global Service Parts organisation manages procurement, inventory, repair and the recycling of parts for 100+ million products at customer sites under warranty or service agreement in 160+ countries around the world.


Massive amounts of historical and near real-time service parts data - tracking the lifecycle of parts as they move in and out of our 800+ warehouses and to and from customer sites - provides a rich trove of data for unlocking new insights.


So what type of actions can we take based on the insights we extract from all that data?


To continue innovation and evolution of our supply chain, we applied predictive, ML, AI and operational research methodologies in two areas for:

  • Sharper planning - for more accurate demand forecasting, with less human effort
  • Smarter repair - through predictive analytics to reduce repair time


Let’s take a look at what each of these means to our business and most importantly, to our customers.


Sharper Forecasting, with Less Human Effort


The unpredictability of immediate, short- and long-term demand for repair parts makes accurate forecasting an ongoing challenge. To tackle this, our experienced parts planners and data scientists worked together to develop and supervise a data-driven digital ecosystem that uses machine learning to identify and prioritise variables, build predictive models and generate plans to more precisely pre-position inventory across the globe.


Today, about 35% of our planning is generated autonomously, without human input, greatly reducing the amount of time our expert resources spend on the front end of this process. Once plans are generated, our parts planners have only to review and adjust them before they are approved. We are confident that as the planning tool continues to “learn” from planner modifications and usage patterns and as AI continues to evolve, we will be able to rely on a fully autonomous planning tool in the next few years, freeing our planners to focus on more complex issues and additional tool development.


Smarter Repair, with Reverse Supply Chain Data


When a repair is needed, of course, we want to make the process as quick and efficient as possible so we are using data science techniques in this area as well.


We use reverse supply chain data - data that comes from built-in system diagnostics, tech support workflow, hands-on diagnostics, defective part evaluations and other sources. It informs predictive analytics that helps us identify the likelihood of failures and helps accelerate repair times.


Our new predictive repair engine combines relevant data and identifies patterns to recommend what parts will be needed before a unit arrives at the repair depot, so a swap-out can be quickly completed. In an initial pilot, we achieved 80% accuracy in identifying the correct part, reducing the movement of parts by 15% and cutting time-to-repair by 20 minutes. Efficiencies continue to improve, as the technology learns from confirmation of accurate recommendations and correction of inaccurate ones. The repair engine also learns from extensive, post-event failure analysis of parts at the repair depot, improving diagnoses and providing valuable information to product engineers working on next-generation systems.


This predictive repair engine is also making our supply chain greener and more efficient, by helping to reduce waste and shipping and the need to manufacture and manage as many parts in the first place.


Better and Better Service Experience for Our Customers


Emerging AI technologies, machine learning and other innovative techniques are helping us get smarter and smarter so we can minimise disruption and inconvenience, prevent issues or resolve them faster and make technology simpler for all of us.

By Tim Wright, Consultant, Workforce Transformation, Dell EMC Education Services

 

Gen Z – those born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s – could potentially account for more than 20% of the workforce by 2020. To better understand the first digital-native generation and how they will reshape the workplace, Dell Technologies commissioned a study, Gen Z: The future has arrived, involving 12,000 high school and college students (ages 16-23) from around the globe to get their views on technology and the future of work.


genz-20-600x150.jpgSource: “Are you ready for Gen Z?” Infographic

 

Technical Consciousness


As Gen Z enters the global workforce, technical consciousness stands clearly as their most salient characteristic. Aptly labelled “digital natives,” Gen Z’ers have lived their entire lives in the presence of digital technology, i.e. smartphones, laptops, tablets, home technology systems, and social media. Consequently, they are innately conscious of the presence, use, and ubiquity of technology.

 

Chief Learning Officer, reports that “[Gen Z] are not only technically savvy, but also expect technology to be a natural, and frequent, part of their learning and work.

 

Overwhelming, majorities of respondents to the global survey affirmed Gen Z individuals value technology and its impact in these ways:

 

  • Technology literacy matters (97%)
  • Experienced technology as a platform in their formal education (98%)
  • Technology offered by an employer a factor in taking the job (91%)
  • Technology and automation will make work environments more equitable (80%)


The global survey also found that:

 

  • Gen Z wants to work with cutting-edge technology
  • Great technology will entice Gen Z job candidates
  • Gen Z cares about data security, but is unsure how to address it

 

GENZ.jpgSource: “Are you ready for Gen Z?” Infographic

 

These digital native values are meaningful factors in preparing for, accepting, and realising the value of these newcomers to the workforce, and accordingly, organisations should demonstrate a “tech-first” approach in several ways:

 

  • Technology in operational processes: hiring, orientation, daily work
  • Technology in informational and educational processes: online, on demand, mobile, and blended
  • Technology relevant to developmental efforts: removing gaps by encouraging STEM careers for women, for example


Job Skill Concerns


Survey respondents indicated a fairly high level of confidence in their technology literacy and competence, +/- 75%. However, their certainty of non-technical skills and of readiness for initial work experiences is not so strong.

 

Deloitte confers in their 2017 Insights report, Gen Z enters the workforce:

 

Technology has impacted the development of cognitive skills, including intellectual curiosity, among the next generation, creating the risk of skill gaps when they enter the workforce en masse. A shortfall in highly cognitive social skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication, could be particularly evident. Most of Gen Z too acknowledges the importance of in-person communication and its own deficiencies in this area.

 

High numbers desire significant levels of human connection and communication on the job. In several ways this human connection is identified:

 

  • Preference for in-person communication over telephone, even greater over texting and messaging
  • Desire to learn from co-workers on the job
  • Willingness to tutor co-workers in technology literacy
  • Choice of workplace over work-at-home and choice of team over independent work


 

The implications drawn from these preferences are several, all of which involve interpersonal opportunities for Gen Z:

 

  • Technology mentorships that may cross generational, experiential, and/or functional borders
  • Internships, rotation programs that expose Gen Z to opportunities to learn from others
  • Leadership and stretch assignments to build Gen Z confidence in non-tech skills


Learning Resources

 

Technology plays a significant role in the formal educational experience of Gen Z. Interestingly, they see social media as both an appropriate learning platform and as a valuable tool in the workplace. An almost equal percentage prefer to learn on the job, from co-workers or others, than online.

 

This seems to indicate their familiarity with technology as the method of conveying information, familiarity that leads to comfort. It may also indicate their realisation that the educational content from someone with actual experience is greater than e-learning.


IMAGE 3.jpg“You need to create bite-sized learning modules to keep Gen Z-ers attention.”

 

Another interesting set of findings are the types of ways in which Gen Z desire to work with technology. There is relatively even division across the technology range, from R&D to developing apps for non-tech purposes:

 

  • Developing technology (R&D) (46%)
  • Use technology to help others or the environment (40%)
  • Ensure the appropriate use of technology (cybersecurity) (39%)
  • Implement technology for others to use (IT) (38%)
  • Apply apps and devices to do work that is not traditional tech work (37%)


This logically impacts what types of learning they will need to enhance their work. Their familiarity with technology and their desire to learn from people on the job co-equally affect how the L&D may be provided. Gen Z has been as one with immediate access to information. While they may have greater confidence in learning non-tech skills from those people with whom they work (including their boss), they will not give up relying on almost instant instructional videos and mini-lessons.

 

Leveraging-Education-and-Technology-to-Prepare-the-Gen-Z-Workforce_figure3-600x181.pngGen Z are tech-savvy, digital natives to the core and they’re joining your workforce. They bring new skills, high expectations and a desire to shake things up.

 

Shift eLearning reports in 2018: “While [Gen Z] may need less training on technology, they may require more in offline interpersonal communication … [and] You need to create bite-sized learning modules to keep Gen Z-ers attention.”

 

Implications that we derive from this array of responses and conclusions suggest these focuses:

 

  • Attention the quality and viability of online content as current, accurate, and complete
  • Application of design thinking to L&D: learner interviews, empathic design, rapid prototyping, testing and revising
  • Provision of methodologies appropriate to content and learning expectations: on-the-job opportunities, online and on demand, partnership/stewardship, for example
  • Combination of attention to Gen Z value of technology and people-connection


Summary


Delivered in the preferred modality for a Gen Z audience – i.e. predominantly online, on-demand, mobile and blended – L&D organisations with a broad portfolio of Associate-, Specialist-, and Expert-level training and certification in these cutting-edge technologies will be well-positioned to prepare the Gen Z workforce entering today’s transforming IT environments.

 

Sources


Carolyn O’Boyle, Josefin Atack, Dr. Kelly Monahan: Generation Z enters the workforce (Deloitte Insights, 2017)

 

Further Reading

 

Dell Technologies Gen Z Research Reveals Good News: We Haven’t Raised a Generation of Robots

 

Four Things to Expect as Gen Z Descends on the Workplace

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