Dell Names 16 Winners of its Internet of Things Innovation Contest

By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Steve Yung, CEO and Mazin Bedwan, president of V5 Systems, the platinum award winner of Dell's IoT contest.

Steve Yung, CEO and Mazin Bedwan, president of V5 Systems, the platinum award winner of Dell’s IoT contest.

The Internet of Things is making us safer.

V5 Systems created a portable outdoor security system that doesn’t need to be plugged in, can capture video, detect a gunshot and pinpoint the location it was fired from to alert authorities in real time.

V5 Systems won Dell and Intel’s Platinum award in its “Connect What Matters” Internet of Things Contest during a celebration gathering and dinner Wednesday evening at Searsucker in downtown Austin.

V5 Systems, based in Fremont, Calif., which only launched its outdoor security and computing platform in April, has installed a dozen systems in the California area including at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station and San Jose State University, said Steve Yung, the company’s CEO and founder. The system weighs just 25 pounds and runs on solar power and uses WiFi and cellular networks. It can be installed anywhere without a need to be tied to power or data cables. Its applications include everything from law enforcement to agriculture.

V5 Systems, which relies on Dell’s Edge Gateway technology, plans to add other sensors to its system like the ability to detect smells such as methane, ammonia and chlorine gases.

Joyce Mullen, Dell’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global OEM, including its Internet of Things division, announcing the winners of its contest.

Joyce Mullen, Dell’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global OEM, including its Internet of Things division, announcing the winners of its contest.

The Dell and Intel contest ran from October of last year to March. Dell received more than 1,000 entries from 73 countries and ultimately selected 16 winners, said Joyce Mullen, Dell’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global OEM, including its Internet of Things division.

A year ago, Dell formed its IoT division to help its customers with connecting sensors and machines to the Internet and analyzing data in real time to improve their operations.

The Internet of Things is a huge multi-billion dollar market growing at a rate of nearly 17 percent a year, according to International Data Corp., a research firm. It reports the market will grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020 with devices, connectivity and IT services making up the majority of the market.

Jason Shepherd, Dell’s director of strategy and partnerships for IoT.

Jason Shepherd, Dell’s director of strategy and partnerships for IoT.

The Internet of Things isn’t new, said Jason Shepherd, Dell’s director of strategy and partnerships for IoT. Dell’s customers in the energy field or manufacturing or dozens of other industries have been using sensors in their operations for years and extracting data, he said. What’s different today is that IoT solutions have become so much cheaper with a drop in computing prices and broadband Internet access which makes it easier than ever for customers to connect more devices and analyze their operations more intelligently to increase efficiency and save money, Shepherd said.

Today, IoT devices are prevalent for consumers including everything from Apple’s Watch to Fitbit health trackers. But industrial and commercial applications including cold chain monitoring of the temperature of food from the field to the factory to the grocery store offer huge opportunities and savings for businesses, Shepherd said.

For example, today more than 30 percent of the world’s food is spoiled in transit before it ever gets consumed, Shepherd said. Temperature sensors monitoring that food along its life-cycle could greatly reduce waste and increase supply, he said. Dell is working with partners to do just that, he said.

Also, IoT smart building applications using sensors to manage commercial buildings to cut down on energy use by turning off lights and adjusting the thermostat can result in huge savings to businesses, Shepherd said. Dell is focusing on manufacturing, buildings, energy and agriculture applications, he said. It works with partners ranging from 10-person startups to giant corporations like General Electric.

It’s also going after smart departments to make incremental changes instead of tackling entire smart cities at once, Shepherd said.

“We’re going to bite off stuff that is meaningful and doable and has an immediate impact,” he said.

Data collection in the IoT space can be like a bad episode of House Hoarders, Shepherd said. Companies collect all kinds of data and send it into storage and then get a big bill, he said. It’s like sending Federal Express packages to yourself all day and putting them into the garage and never opening them. Dell’s partnership solutions seek to make sense of the data a company collects and help them sort through what they need to keep, he said.

The winners of the Dell and Intel “Connect What Matters” contest presented all kinds of applications of smart devices connected to the Internet and yielding better solutions for companies.

For example, N.io, a 30-person startup, with its U.S. headquarters based in Broomfield, Colo., created an agriculture monitoring system. Deep Sky Vineyard in Wilcox, Arizona, uses the system to track its 15,000 vines of grapes and to water them when necessary.

“It talks to the vines,” said Blake Duhame, N.io’s program director.

The result is higher grape yields, less water wasted and greater production efficiency overall, he said. N.io’s system uses a Dell Gateway computer in the field to collect and transmit data wirelessly to a dashboard that the vineyard owners can then monitor in real time. N.io won a Gold Award in Dell and Intel’s contest.

Silver Award winner We Monitor Concrete tracks concrete production from the quarry to the construction site and monitors its temperature throughout the process to ensure the highest quality building materials. The concrete talks to the computer.

Another Silver Award winner, Elm Energy and DynOptix uses infrared sensors to detect a person’s body temperature in case they are running a fever. It is in test pilot with a hospital maternity ward right now. The system will not issue a visitor’s pass to anyone running a fever. The idea is to cut down on people who are sick spreading their illness, said John Redmond, founder and CEO of DynOptix. It could eventually be used in airports, schools and businesses like food service, he said.

The other Gold Award winners include: Eigen Innovation, a quality control system uses thermal imaging cameras in a factory for real time monitoring, Iamus, a smart streetlamp system, RiptideIO, smart customer and building monitoring software for small retailers and SoftwareAG, a predictive maintenance solution.

Other Silver Award winners include AZLOGICA, Blue Pillar, Califbr8 Systems, Daliworks, Independent Automation, Onstream, PixController and PV Hardware.

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