The wisdom of industrialist Andrew Carnegie’s homily, “As I get older, I pay less attention to what men say; I just watch what they do,” is clear and often relevant. However, there are also circumstances where saying and doing are complementary—where what a person or organization does clarifies or underscores what they say. In enterprise situations, this dynamic can be a litmus for measuring the accuracy and value of a company’s business and go-to-market strategies. Also important is how clients and partners are embracing those efforts.
Those last examples are especially important in assessing vendors’ activities in areas enjoying notable attention and investment, such as artificial intelligence (AI). Four recent AI-related customer and partner announcements highlight how Dell’s AI strategy and enterprise solutions are impacting business-critical processes and initiatives.
How is Dell Technologies approaching AI?
To begin, it is important to note that enterprise vendors, like Dell, are using and pursuing AI in ways that are quite different than start-ups focused on popular emerging technologies, like OpenAI’s Chat GPT generative AI (GenAI) platform. Dell is actively delivering enterprise GenAI-based solutions and services with initiatives like Project Helix paving the way for its recently announced solutions with partner NVIDIA. However, the company has been developing and utilizing AI to enhance its offerings for over half a decade.
Along with AI-specific hardware and software solutions, Dell’s end-to-end portfolio of AI-focused offerings includes:
- Consulting, deployment, support, and education services that are designed to help enterprises assess how AI can be utilized to leverage existing data and IT assets to address their current and future business needs.
- Validated designs for AI that leverage Dell’s and partners’ solutions to deliver successful, replicable outcomes for a variety of AI-specific processes and functions.
- New GenAI solutions and services that leverage customizable pre-trained large language models (LLMs) to help speed and enhance the performance of customers’ AI projects.
How are customers and partners using Dell AI solutions?
The new Dell Technology announcements include:
- On September 6, 2023, Dell and the city of Amarillo, Texas, announced development plans for an online digital assistant that uses GenAI to provide residents with information about government and city services. The system will use Dell PowerEdge R760xa servers, which will enable the city to render the onscreen image of the digital assistant and manage the data in the city’s existing LLMs and GenAI applications. This new initiative also builds on prior collaborations between Dell and Amarillo, including developing the IT foundation for a virtual call center supporting its remote public health clinics and using analytics to improve emergency response times. Amarillo’s online digital assistant is expected to be available to city residents in early 2024.
- On September 12, 2023, Dell and the University of Limerick (Ireland) announced an AI platform and digital twin technology to support predictive and diagnostic oncology research. The Dell AI platform includes a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster residing within the University’s Digital Care Cancer Centre. According to the principals, the system is designed to accelerate biomarker testing for cancer, deepen understanding of treatment options for B-cell lymphoma patients, and develop personalized therapies for individual patients. Along with speeding diagnoses and enhancing treatment, the University hopes to use the Dell platform to improve cancer patient outcomes in Ireland and worldwide.
- On September 20, 2023, Dell announced that CyberAgent, a digital advertising company in Japan, selected Dell PowerEdge XE9680 servers with eight NVIDIA H100 Tensor Core GPUs to power its GenAI development and capabilities. Those include CyberAgent’s Kiwami Prediction AI service that uses the company’s LLMs to create advertising text tailored to individual tastes and advertising mediums, thus improving business outcomes. The service also uses AI to forecast advertising results before distribution. According to CyberAgent, the new Dell and NVIDIA solutions have improved the performance of the company’s LLMs by 5.14 times when compared to its previous model.
- On October 2, 2023, Duos Technologies announced that it collaborated with Dell, Kalray, and NVIDIA to pioneer its new Railcar Inspection Portal (Duos RIP), which harnesses AI and ML at the edge for wayside mechanical railcar inspections. According to the company, by law, railways must inspect railcars for every trip to find and correct identified mechanical and safety issues. Manual processes typically inspect one railcar every two minutes. Since the average freight train has 120 railcars, manually inspecting an entire train can take between 3 and 4 hours. Duos RIP supports real-time, detailed, 360-degree imaging of railcars while they are in transit at speeds of up to 125MPH. The solution, which leverages multiple Dell PowerEdge R750-servers, NVIDIA’s GPUs, CUDA SDKs, and Infiniband Network and Kalray server management software, employs an array of highspeed machine vision cameras, generating in aggregate just over 60 Gigabytes per second of data that needs to be ingested in near real-time. Usable images must be produced and stored at a rate of 20GB/s, and the system immediately runs the images through AI and ML pipelines while ingesting and pre-processing the remaining train images. According to the company, Duo RIP reduces average railcar inspection times from 3 to 4 hours to a few minutes while increasing accuracy in finding potential defects.
What are we to make of these latest announcements from Dell Technologies? First, they reflect the company’s longstanding focus on developing a breadth of solutions that meet the practical and vital needs of its enterprise customers. Second, they represent a significant investment by Dell to ensure that its solutions and services are both dependable and replicable—crucial points for organizations that depend on IT for their lives and livelihoods. Third, they highlight how the company works with strategic partners to both enhance its own products and support the development of innovative new solutions. In other words, Dell’s actions accurately reflect and support its stated strategy: to bring AI to customer data.
Perhaps more importantly, the announcements underscore Dell’s essential forward-looking nature. At the recent Toronto stop of the 46-city Dell Technologies Forum, Dell’s Global CTO John Roese interviewed CEO and founder Michael Dell and asked about GenAI and the impact it is having everywhere. Dell responded, “These (GenAI) tools are very powerful and are going to get dramatically more powerful. There are (interesting) opportunities for productivity and efficiency and cost savings, but I think the bigger opportunity long-term will be to re-imagine and to really understand how we can do things in very different ways.”
Dell’s clear-eyed focus on the future, on not simply focusing on the basic capabilities of a technology but on its transformative potential, is a central if not always clearly enunciated point about Gen AI. Overall, Dell Technologies’ recent customer and partner announcements follow its prior and continuing AI-related achievements and successes. However, considering the point Michael Dell made in Toronto, they are also likely the latest example of achievements and successes to come.
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