A New World of Possibilities with Edge Computing – Latest Trends in Digital Transformation | Cloud News
The tech world is excited about edge computing. It is not difficult to understand why. Edge promises a true revolution in business value and customer experience. And we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the opportunity yet.
But first, what is edge computing?
It is an approach to computing that brings computing data closer to the end user. Often this will be on the device creating the data being processed, or in a nearby data center. These cutting-edge devices come in all shapes and sizes, whether it’s a consumer smartphone, a sensor in a warehouse, or a connected machine in the factory.
It is also useful to think of the benefit in the context of the cloud continuum. The enterprise IT footprint continues to expand across a broader range of infrastructures, from centralized public cloud at one extreme, to private cloud, on-premises data centers, to the number explosion of individual connected peripheral devices at the other extreme.
Unlimited potential for rapid business transformation
Why go to the edge, especially when cloud computing offers such incredible scale, power, and cost-effectiveness? Because there are certain situations where you can’t process data fast enough in the cloud…or you wouldn’t. You may have limited internet connectivity, for example, in a remote location or in an industrial environment like an oil rig or mine. Or you may need to process large volumes of data quickly, as in the case of video analytics.
Data privacy is another use case. By performing data analytics on edge devices, there is less need to send customers’ personal data to the cloud. This therefore gives the user more control over access to their data, a very important consideration for maintaining customer trust.
Then consider situations where you need to act on data faster than your network can handle. Self-driving cars are a good example. The amount of data an autonomous vehicle must process every second, and the absolute importance of real-time responsiveness, exceeds the latency and bandwidth capacity of existing network connectivity. The vehicle simply cannot wait for the data to “round trip” to the cloud before deciding what to do. It must therefore be treated within the vehicle itself.
This latency and bandwidth issue is important more generally. Because edge computing bypasses many corporate network connectivity constraints, the organization can process data almost instantaneously…and react to the insights generated in something like real time. In the right use cases, therefore, the edge can be faster, handle more data, and be more efficient than the cloud. It can also be more resilient, as it depends less on a continuous connection to the Internet.
Edge plus 5G: a powerful combination
When 5G cellular connectivity is added to the mix, the possibilities really open up. Take retail. 5G will allow retailers to unlock insights into customer data and use it to interact with shoppers in real time. It could transform the customer experience. Imagine, for example, receiving personalized offers and recommendations directly on your smartphone when you walk into a retail store.
There are other great examples in areas like health care. A growing number of wearable devices will use edge computing to monitor and alert an individual’s key health indicators. Surgery could also be transformed. Ooredoo Qatar, for example, has partnered with Ericsson to perform a remote ultrasound assessment in a 5G Connected Ambulance. It uses a special haptic glove remotely controlled by a doctor with a specially designed joystick.
Then think about how city planners could use 5G and the edge to transform public safety, whether it’s giving alert police instant access to local CCTV footage or reconfiguring traffic lights to create real-time “green corridors” allowing ambulances to reach accidents more quickly.
And what about mainstream entertainment? Edge and 5G will be essential components of augmented and virtual reality. This will open up new possibilities for immersive interactive entertainment experiences, like in the Metaverse, and large-scale multiplayer games.
5G is a huge growth area and 5G alone is not enough. The combination of 5G with other convergent technologies is accelerating business performance. Companies that invest in 5G networks alongside their cloud and innovation capabilities are expected to grow faster than their competitors.
Wherever you are in your enterprise IT journey today, it’s important to recognize that the edge and 5G are going to play a significant role in the future continuum of computing and cloud capabilities. When these technologies reach their inflection point, real-time on-device computing will become a standard enterprise capability. And the possibilities for new industrial and consumer use cases will explode.
It’s an exciting future, and smart businesses should start planning for it now.
SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CLOUD FIRST LEAD, ATCI, BENGALURU, INDIA
Ajoy is the Cloud First Lead for the Accenture Advanced Technology Center in India (ATCI).
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