By Brent Whitfield, CEO of DCG Technical Solutions LLC
In today’s data processing scenario, 91% of our data today is created and processed in centralized data centers. By 2025, 175 zettabytes (or 175 trillion gigabytes) of data will be generated around the globe. Data is growing at such a fast clip that even the tremendous processing capabilities we possess today become too sluggish in the near future as all services seek to become real-time offerings. This is where edge computing becomes a compelling proposition for businesses looking to retain their competitive edge with progressively faster and seamless products and services.
The result: market research firm IDC predicts that edge devices will create more than 90 zettabytes of data by 2025. The industry, too, is growing at a proportional rate. IDC anticipates that spending on edge computing will reach $250 billion in 2024.
What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing can be defined as a distributed computing model. Edge computing is distinguished by the fact that the data processing takes place at or very close to the point of data generation. Edge infrastructure typically relies on an extensive array of sensors that capture a tremendous amount of data to be processed in real-time by edge servers. This means that edge computing can dispense with the transit to and from centralized cloud servers, making data processing significantly faster and safer (with fewer chances of intrusion/attacks during transit).
Why is Edge Computing Important?
Edge computing can help your business maximize operational efficiency, improve core processes, availability, data safety, and enable a much greater degree of automation than what was possible before. Optimizing the process of data capture and processing at the edge (quite often the site of data generation) enables businesses to leverage the power of real-time insights, feedback and actionable business intelligence. The speed of processing enabled by edge computing has been such a game-changer for the industry that many businesses are innovating whole new areas of core service offerings they can offer customers—all through the power of leveraging real-time business insights. For instance, telecommunication service providers can now offer premium services for enterprise customers who need real-time data analysis, such as companies dealing with logistics or autonomous vehicles that need intelligent decision-making on the go.
Edge computing has the power to completely transform the manufacturing and services sectors. It enables an infrastructure that is more flexible, scalable, proactive, secure and leverages a highly automated core business process environment. This results in a business ecosystem that is highly agile, more productive, seamlessly manageable and saves on long-term costs of operations and maintenance.
These are the top six technologies that are making edge computing a compelling proposition for all businesses.
With data breaches becoming nearly an everyday occurrence, public and private entities alike are shoring up their infrastructure with technologies geared towards privacy protection. The very nature of edge computing enables it to cut down on data transmission, effectively reducing the attack surface. This is particularly true for processing that takes place on the device itself instead of sending the data to a centralized cloud server. Companies can also choose to secure their data by encrypting it both at rest and during transit.
The digital transformation being facilitated by edge computing is also driving the use of heterogeneous hardware and ruggedized HCI (hyper-converged infrastructure) and edge devices. These devices make it easy for companies to process large amounts of data while consuming less power. Integrating this kind of specialized hardware in your edge computing framework enables you to accelerate response rates within the business process environment and makes for more efficient processing overall. Newer innovations like neuromorphic computing architectures are being leveraged by hyperscalers, 5G and chip OEMs. Neuromorphic processors and sensors are expected to enable real-time intelligence and continuous learning that is critical for increasingly sophisticated AI systems to function adequately. System architectures enabled by heterogeneous hardware can allow devices to rapidly adapt to context changes, remain highly energy-efficient even while processing a tremendous amount of data, and enable rapid learning for sophisticated AI systems.
The management of robotics can become much simpler and sophisticated when systems are configured to act according to signals and updates sent by the edge systems. We have already seen successful application of this in life-saving surgical procedures where agility and precision are critical. A lag of even milliseconds here can be the difference between a successful or failed process. The robot essentially leverages the unique strengths and capabilities offered by both edge and cloud for utmost precision and efficiency in movement control.
Edge computing also has extensive applications in extended reality (XR) that can be leveraged to offer a highly immersive interface for work collaboration in a virtualized environment. Enabling this requires highly capable data processing with minimal latency. Edge computing offers just that for businesses looking to leverage XR.
By 2025, 5G connections are expected to reach a staggering 1.2 billion covering 34% of the global population. As mentioned before, technologies like 5G can harness the power of highly reliable low-latency offered by edge computing to unearth new capabilities powering many previously impossible solutions and even industries. Enterprises are expected to extensively leverage private 5G Networks to offer new applications and even power specific business use cases or business environments like a warehouse, or factory.
Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC)
Multi-Access Edge Computing is expected to rewrite the utility of mobile networks from being purely oriented towards voice and data delivery to becoming an application platform for services. Potential uses of MEC include 5G service environments, such as autonomous vehicles, Industry 4.0, remote health, eHealth and more.
About the author
Brent Whitfield is the CEO of DCG Technical Solutions LLC. DCG provides specialist advice and cloud/IT consulting and technical support to Los Angeles area businesses that need to remain competitive and productive while being sensitive to limited IT budgets.
Brent has been featured in Fast Company, CNBC, Network Computing, Reuters, and Yahoo Business. He also leads SMBTN – Los Angeles, an MSP peer group that focuses on continuing education for MSP’s and IT professionals. DCG was recognized among the Top 10 Fastest Growing MSPs in North America by MSPmentor.
DISCLAIMER: Guest posts are submitted content. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Edge Industry Review (EdgeIR.com).
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