LAS VEGAS — Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell didn’t mention a potential VMware merger during his opening keynote at Dell Technologies World 2018. He did, however, announce a $100,000 grant for the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies to advance its Bravemind project, which uses virtual reality exposure therapy to help treat post-traumatic stress in war veterans.
Dell had a little help from actor Jeffrey Wright who also works with vets, narrates a Dell Technologies commercial, and plays a robot in HBO’s “Westworld.” “Any hosts here, or just humans only? You can never be too sure,” Wright joked when he took the stage.
Wright described the virtual-reality work happening at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies as “people plus machines plus creativity ultimately leading to healing. Or as our friends at Dell Technologies would say: human progress.”
Michael Dell also played up the idea of humans working with machines. “I love this idea of human-machine partnerships because in my mind it’s always been very clear,” Dell said. “It’s not about humans or machines, it’s about humans and machines.”
It’s a robopocalypse-versus-optimists battle for the future of technology. Dell said he’s an optimist who sees technology as a force for good, adding that Dell Technologies is “working to share our vision of that better world.”
‘Either Quick or Dead’
In addition to painting a picture of robot-human harmony, Dell said the future is software defined and scale out.
“To thrive we must innovate,” he said. “It’s either quick or dead. To be competitive in the future, you’ve got to use software and data and artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, and you’ve got to do it at record speed and scale. AI is your rocket ship, and data is the fuel.”
And, of course, since it is Dell Technologies World, he pitched the company’s brands — Boomi, Dell, Dell EMC, VMware, RSA, Virtustream, Pivotal, and SecureWorks — as the technology and infrastructure providers to make this software-defined, shiny-happy-robot future a reality.
By 2020 an average city will generate about 200 petabytes of new data every day, and 99 percent of that data will come from connected things, Dell said. Organizations need to store this massive influx of data. Enter Dell EMC storage.
“As the internet of things explodes, so does the attack surface and security risks,” Dell said. Dell Technologies’ has a couple brands for that, too: security vendor RSA and managed security services provider SecureWorks.
Companies also need more compute power and AI-ready infrastructure to make this data useful, “and not just for the cloud, you’ll need it for the edge, too,” Dell said. This is where the tech giant’s hardware and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) come into play, courtesy of Dell EMC’s servers and storage combined with VMware’s virtualization and HCI software. And then Pivotal Cloud Foundry provides the cloud-agnostic platform for companies to build new applications based on all of this data.
“Our IoT strategy envisions a massive distributed core optimized for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications,” Dell said. “The distributed core is composed of technologies where we already lead.”
Oh, and did he mention that Dell EMC leads the data center server market, while Dell and VMware lead the HCI sector? Robots may not be winning. But according to Michael Dell, Dell Technologies’ brands sure are.
Photo: Michael Dell on stage at Dell Technologies World 2018.