I was at Dell Technologies World 2022 last week. Often, I’m not very excited about anything on the showcase floor at events like this, but DTW has been the exception.
One year they had robotic baristas that made better coffee than Starbucks, and they’ve had cars from customers that I’ve wanted to buy. Which leads me to the one thing that should have been on the floor this year and wasn’t, especially considering GM was on the main stage with Michael Dell, which was the Cadillac Lyriq — an amazing electric SUV that I hear looks awesome in person.
I’ve seen cool cars pull people into a variety of events over the years, including Dell’s. Since I’m thinking of buying one, I would have liked to see it at the show. This doesn’t mean that what was on the show floor wasn’t impressive, but given the stuff wasn’t promoted, I’d bet it was missed by most of the attendees, not to mention by the folks attending remotely.
So, I’m going to tell you what you missed. Then we’ll close with my product of the week, a Ford electric crate motor for those of us who have classic cars but don’t want to deal with gas anymore.
Desk of the Future
These events can be very expensive for me. I mentioned Dell featured a car at a prior Dell Technologies World. Though I should have also shared that I bought that car (so maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t have the Cadillac Lyriq on the floor!), but they had an office desk I’m now lusting after.
It was a prototype of an adjustable-height desk done by Dell that had inductive charging for your laptop and other wirelessly charged accessories, an attached monitor that also connected wirelessly, and featured a wireless keyboard and mouse.
The mess of wires on my own desk got old years ago, so the vision of a neat, uncluttered desk is extremely appealing. This desk was only a prototype, so my office budget remains intact for now. But, oh brother, if they ever bring this to market, I’m in.
Just because the Lyriq wasn’t featured at the show doesn’t mean they didn’t have any cars. Dell has partnered with McLaren on Extreme E, so there was an Extreme E McLaren car on the floor. It was kind of funny because I noticed it had no front motor and I’d thought the car was all-wheel drive. Then I noticed it had no motor in the back, which had me wondering how the heck it got power.
Fortunately, a Dell representative pointed out that the car was just a mockup, but it had me going for a moment. Why this is still interesting is that Extreme E as a new sport is extremely diverse and even pairs men and women together for each driving team (most race events favor male drivers). So, this car had an environmental message (the cars are electric) and a diversity message.
Michael Dell and Dell Technologies have one of the leading diversity efforts in the industry. This car not only featured incredible technology, but the need for greater diversity in the industry — along with a way to better address that problem.
Automated Non-Pesticide Farm
There was a farm demonstration on the floor that was very impressive and nicely presented by Chhandomay Mandal, Dell Technologies’ Director of Solutions Marketing. The effort is computer controlled as a partnership between Dell and Nature Fresh Farms.
Because of climate change we are losing a massive amount of agricultural acreage. The vertical farming approach featured at DTW this year not only significantly increases farming density (one acre can produce what 10 acres can produce horizontally), but if you go vertical, I expect this density could increase even more.
Another fascinating part of this demonstration was it uses active insect management to assure the crops are effectively pollinated, where insects do the work that otherwise would be done with chemicals. Chemicals and fertilizers are polluting our water sources. Moving to more natural methods should reduce this kind of contamination dramatically.
More food that is better for you is a huge opportunity during this time of climate change. Sadly, this demonstration featured two foods I don’t like: bell peppers (which make me sick) and tomatoes (which I only like in sauces, soup, and salsa). I wish they had chosen different foods!
I was minding my own business walking around the floor when Kristi Kevern ran up and said there was an app I just had to see. Kristi is senior managing director, ethics and compliance at Dell Technologies. It was almost like she knew I was once an internal auditor for IBM and that I would have killed for an app like this back when I worked there.
Particularly with new employees coming from areas where practices like bribery are common (though illegal), you can often run into serious problems that can damage your brand, your relationship with regulators, and get you into criminal legal trouble. This is often the result of people not understanding the rules, or that the rules in a U.S. company may be very different due to U.S. laws and enforcement, than native companies.
Also, I’ve been responsible for the termination of employees who break iron clad ethics rules because they were either just out of school, or somehow never got the memo, or needed training prior to making the mistake. There will always be employees that knowingly break rules and then claim they didn’t know. While I still believe those people should be terminated, for those that clearly didn’t know they were stepping out of bounds termination has always seemed more unfair than effective.
If you can give every employee an ethics app that is smart enough to take a poorly worded inquiry on ethics and point out the infraction, it would not only save careers, it would protect the company brand from this class of mistakes while removing the excuse of “not knowing” from those employees who were gaming the system.
Simply an amazing app.
Concept Luna is what every vendor should be working toward. It’s the first PC product I’ve seen that approaches the goal of 100% recyclable/renewable.
By greatly reducing the number of screws in the product, using materials like organically produced plastics which degrade naturally and safely when discarded, and providing an impressive path to upgrade or update the product during its lifecycle, this effort should massively reduce the number of problem materials going into landfills from existing laptop designs.
What was particularly fascinating was how quickly this laptop could be stripped down into components, taking a small fraction of the usual time to disassemble and assemble the product for upgrade, repair, component reuse, or disposal.
Today, no laptop is built like Concept Luna, but my hope, and the best hope for our technological future, is that every tech product will be built that way. If you are into green technology products, this is effectively the Holy Grail and should form a foundation for how products like this will be built in the future.
Wrapping Up: One More Thing
There was a sixth product that caught my eye. Unfortunately, there was no one in the last booth that I could chat with to get the details on this product — a sarcophagus designed to significantly advance cooling through thermal liquid immersion.
The cooling container looked a bit like a cryogenic sleep chamber for space travel. Using a non-conductive coolant, this chamber could more effectively cool and protect your high-performance servers and workstations. It looked really cool, but since no one was in the booth I never got the backstory.
In any case, on the Dell Technologies World floor there were six things that really appealed to me. They ranged from improving your office and your food supply, to environmental and diverse racing, to keeping employees from making bad mistakes, to the ecological future for laptops, and previewed the future of liquid-cooled hardware.
In short, I saw a lot of the future at Dell Technologies World. I just wish they’d had that Cadillac Lyriq but, then again, maybe it’s better I don’t see that right now given how the cost of cars has gone up.
Ford Eluminator Mach E Electric Crate Motor
Those of us with classic cars have a problem, and that is the cost and availability of gas. The cost of gas is and will continue to go up, and availability will continue to go down as nations shift from gas to electric power for vehicles.
We love the look, the feel and the experience of driving a classic car, but don’t love the hassle of gas, which is not only getting very expensive, but doesn’t store well and is connected to an engine technology that has become way too complex over time. It’s bad now, but it’s going to get worse.
But given the massive amount of fabrication required, converting to electric is not for the faint of heart or for those who don’t have a ton of cash. Currently priced at $4,095 retail, Ford’s new Eluminator electric motor is designed to bolt to where an older internal combustion engine (ICE) is being used, making the electric conversion process much easier.
Eluminator electric motor from the 2021 Mustang Mach E GT (Credit: Ford)
While this motor only has 281 HP (in line with a lot of the engines produced in the cars being converted), it can be combined with a second motor to get a far higher performance configuration. For now, you’ll still need to source a traction inverter, control system and battery, but I expect these will eventually be included with future packaged solutions because they will be needed by those that want a more integrated offering.
The Eluminator was recently demonstrated in a project by Zelectric Motors which has also used Tesla motors to upgrade other cars. It represents more positive support for the Right to Repair movement by Ford because it helps enable a process where an individual or independent auto shop could source this motor to repair or transform any car that needs the replacement.
This motor is incredibly popular and already sold out for the year, so I’m not going to be able to use it on my own car project (yet) but that is in plan.
The Ford Eluminator Mach E electric crate motor will help those of us who want to continue to drive our classic cars far longer — and it is my product of the week — even though I too will likely wait until they also have a crate battery.