Dell Designathon - A Workstation of Ideas and Technology

In conversation with Srihari Palangala, Director and Marketing Head, Dell EMC, at the final leg of Dell Designathon held in Bang | Tuesday, 16 January 2018, 09:17 IST

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CR: With the intent to encourage and enable generation of ideas for a better future, Dell has announced a one-of-a kind design challenge-‘The Dell Designathon’. In which way this flagship event challenges the idea stagnation and redundancy while pushing the technological envelope?

Srihari: One can create a design on paper but technology allows them to push that envelope a little further. But the question is how much to do with the technology? Imagine a bus tracking system that can help you decide to wait or not for the next bus; this bus being crowded. The arrival, departure and the delay time all displayed at the press of a button. A multipurpose holographic smart keyboard, a multipurpose Smart Wearable Device and a vision to fight against crime, all these had staged a platform for design constellations to shine. Dell Designathon-the flagship event that is a part of Dell EMC Forum is a 24-hour challenging platform that is oriented and focused on businesses and companies that rely on design for developing products and solutions. It has set the wheel in continuum where the design seeking sectors get a golden chance to connect with the top gear designers across sectors and countries. We conduct this event in USA in the month of May time frame which is known as Dell-EMC World Forum and then that cascades into every country. From Indian perspective, Dell is typically pushing the envelope in terms of increasing the excitement factor while retaining the relevance to the concerned audience.

CR: India is one such country with whole bunch of other conversations around the importance of design in each and every sector-manufacturing/architecture and so on. Yet, the ground reality suggests that it’s far away from executing the ideas to living examples. How Dell Designathon facilitated this transition with its technological platform?

Srihari: In Dell-EMC, we have a strong notion that design and technology go hand in hand, right from concept to end product. And we tried to transcend this notion through this platform that gave design teams access to cutting edge technology with Dell Precision workstations. Endorsed by the India Design Council, an autonomous body of the Government of India and Association of Designers of India (ADI), Dell Designathon is supported by Independent Software Vendor (ISV) partners such as Adobe, Siemens and technology partners like 3D Connexion and Kensington. In Dell, we probably view every solution as a harbinger to future. And hence, Dell Designathon saw the confluence of technologies and ideas that continued being the forerunner of creative thinking and engagement. The Designathon saw every mixture of ideas, right from traffic management solutions to keyboard design. We tried to give a futuristic shape to Indian innovative and technological spread of bright minds in each and every sector. The thought to do something for this community which will make ideas real was facilitated through this platform-a first of a kind in India. The concept materialized after a pre-screening of 2500 organizations across multiple verticals -architectures/engineering/ manufacturing /design.

CR: The Indian Diaspora has a mix of great budding and untapped talent that possess the potential to change the face of technology and ideas. With so many potential candidates in this platform, how Dell managed to identify the best of the best idea?

Srihari: Each team was of 4 people working in an organization and they were identified by their company name .They submitted few abstracts. Shortlisted teams in all four cities (Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai) created conceptual designs. Teams were invited to design across the following categories: Products, Living, Mobility and Home. Based on abstract submissions, 10 teams were selected by the jury across the 4 cities to compete. Teams were required to create drawings on-site, followed by 3D/ 2D models of their design on Dell’s Precision workstations. Teams were then asked to submit a 60-second product film in the final stage of the competition. Dell ensured that all teams had a level playing field, with all tools and solutions, provided by Dell and its partners. The designers were thrown in a very challenging position from where the winners came out as powerful to take on the world of designs in the world.

CR: In global PC market, Dell is a name to reckon with. How is Dell tapping the future with its versatility?

Srihari: The global PC market continues to struggle, but Dell Technologies is somewhat bucking the industry’s downward trend. Although Dell has diversified itself into storage, servers and other IT products and services, PCs are still an important part of our revenue stream and product portfolio. Dell is currently experiencing 17 quarters of continuous growth. A challenge is definitely in the horizon where the need to constantly innovate within the ambit of security and regulations is present. Now along with robust connectivity, the security aspect is tricky but important. And, this will see the human-machine partnership that will transcend our limitations and we can begin to create a more favorable future for everyone.

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