CEO Neri: HPE Investing $4 Billion To Accelerate Intelligent Edge Revolution


Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri Tuesday said the company is backing up its big bet on the intelligent edge revolution with a $4 billion investment over the next four years.

"We will accelerate our investment in R & D to advance and innovate new (intelligent edge) products, services and consumption models across a number of domains including connectivity, security, edge computing, automation, machine learning and AI," said Neri in his first Discover keynote address since taking the helm on Feb. 1. "It will be an edge that is intelligent and cloud enabled."

Neri called the investment a sign of HPE's commitment to the "incredible" intelligent edge future.

The Edge acceleration comes with Neri- a passionate advocate of disruptive innovation –driving HPE forward as the sole company uniquely positioned to help customers fundamentally transform their businesses with the groundswell of data that remains untapped at the edge.

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"With this investment we are accelerating our ability to innovate even faster," he told thousands of HPE customers gathered for the keynote session at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas. "Instead of today when 94 percent of the data at the edge is untapped or lost we will help customers use all of it. This is a new world and this is a necessary indispensable next step. You should think of us as a new company purposely crafted for the future designed to help you win."

Today, customers are throwing away too much of their data because they don't have the capability to "extract and refine every bit of that data and turn it into economic value with insights and actions," said Neri. "That is the opportunity."

The edge is where technology is put into action by connecting people and things to data securely, said Neri. "Experiences can be personalized, timely, relevant and enriched by context," he said. "It employs artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation to continuously learn, predict and adapt to the changes and needs in real time."

HPE is "uniquely positioned to drive this next revolution," said Neri. "I believe we are ideally suited for it. Our focus is to enable all our partners and customers to take advantage of this phenomenal opportunity. This is the mission at Hewlett Packard Enterprise."

Neri said he is certain that the "rise of the intelligent edge" is the next "great market transition" destined to transform how business is done in the years ahead. "At HPE we will lead this transition," he said. "We saw the trend coming early on. We are making the big bets with Aruba and other investments and we are not slowing down."

One of those big bets is the formal launch Tuesday of Aruba's Software Defined Branch (SD-Brand) solution- which is aimed at helping customer refashion branch networks with cloud managed SD-WAN.

"Having an SD-Branch solution enabled by SD-WAN is a critical step to support new experiences to accelerate service deployments and accelerate time to value," said Neri.

The SD Branch innovation is aimed at driving new experiences that traditional branch networks are simply unable to provide for customers, said Neri. "Traditional branch networks can't really keep up with increasing demands, the explosion of the data and the apps," he said.

The enterprise of the future will be "edge centric, cloud enabled and data driven," said Neri."Those that can act with speed and agility on that continuous stream of insight and knowledge will win. That is why our strategy is to accelerate your enterprise from edge to cloud, helping connect all your data, all your edges, all your clouds everywhere."

Neri laid out a compelling vison of how the edge centric, cloud enabled, data driven strategy will advance how people live and work in a new era of smart cities and autonomous vehichles. And he singled out HPE's partnership with Ford Motor Co. to help reinvent Ford for the intelligent edge era.

"Ford has built and transformed America once before," said Neri. "Now they are on the forefront of defining our future yet again and HPE intends to enable it with our technology."

Ford Motor Co. CIO Jeff Lemmer told Discover attendees that compute at the edge with artificial intelligence and internet of things will bring new capabilities to customers that were unimaginable before.

By the end of 2019, Ford will have 100 percent of its fleet vehicles in the US and China connected with the capability to provide insights to fleet customers in areas such as fuel economy and emissions."These are things that they would never look to us as a traditional automotive company to provide for them," said Lemmer. "This is just the start."

The edge compute capabilities will help those fleet customers bring new services to their business, said Lemmer. "It starts with that human centric approach," he said. "This isn't about technology for technology's sake. It is about how do we make sure we are understanding what that customer wants and continually evolving. That is really accelerating at a very fast pace."

HPE's high performance compute platforms are allowing Ford to get insights from data at a fast pace, said Lemmer. What's more, he said, Ford is working with HPE to provide public cloud like capabilities to its private cloud.

"Like most companies, we are going to be a hybrid cloud," said Lemmer. "We will run things internally within our private clouds and we will burst externally to external clouds. This is another core area that we are really leveraging HPE to bring that to life."

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HPE CEO Neri On The Intelligent Edge Opportunity, Innovation And Growing Up In Argentina]

John Barker, co-founder and CEO of Versatile, an HPE Platinum partner and one of Aruba's top partners, said Neri's vision is spot on with the demand for secure edge applications that deliver new experiences for customers.

Versatile, in fact, is seeing the intelligent edge opportunity come to life through its Versatile Healthcare Solutions business. "The promise for delivering healthcare is at the edge," said Barker. "A lot of the infrastructure there has not been invested as heavily as it should be and now we have applications, products and technologies to make it happen."

Barker said he sees Aruba's SD-Branch offering as a game changer at the edge. "It solves a lot of problems around accessibility and security of applications and the end user experience," he said. "In healthcare there are going to be compensation models related to patient experience."

Barker said Neri's vision around the explosion of data and applications at the edge represents a compelling opportunity for partners. "That edge market is exploding," he said. "Customers need a lot of help there. There is a lot of service opportunities there. It's a great growth area for us."

HPE and Aruba have both strong innovation engines that are paying off for partners, said Barker. "We see a terrific opportunity to grow our business going forward with HPE and Aruba," he said.

Dan Molina, chief technology officer at San Diego-based Nth Generation Computing, one of HPE's top enterprise partners and No. 354 on the CRN SP500, said he is seeing strong sales traction with centered on the HPE edge computing vision. "You can see the world is headed in that direction," he said. "A lot of the functionality and services are going to require very fast response times. You have to do that compute on the edge. You can not have the right user experience if you are going back to a central data center or the cloud. HPE is well ahead of competitors in this market."

Rich Baldwin, chief strategy officer at Nth Generation Computing, said Neri is passionate about technology and is putting his money where his mouth is with the edge opportunity. "I think Antonio is making a big get that is going to pay big dividends for customers and partners," he said.