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Blog · 20 Jun 2022

Why edge computing will be critical to your organisation

As the power behind the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, edge computing use cases in one industry can inspire change in others.

Bruno Fleisch
Head of Compute, Europe

Edge computing is the power behind many evolving technologies, making possible what was previously impossible or prohibitively expensive.

By bringing processing closer to the edge where the data is created, edge computing reduces latency and unlocks rapid analysis and real-time decision-making.

It’s a technology that’s set to boom. It’s estimated that 75% of data will be processed outside a traditional data centre or cloud by 2025, compared to 10% today. Forward-thinking organisations are actively exploring what other industries have achieved with edge computing, and are drawing inspiration from them to spark transformation in their own arenas.

Solving connectivity issues

Edge computing can provide practical solutions to remote commercial locations lacking cloud connectivity, or where access to connectivity via satellite is limited and the cost of bandwidth is a barrier. It takes location out of the equation when an organisation is deciding what capabilities a site can have.

Taking data processing to the edge means oil rigs can analyse drilling data in real time, ferries can run AI-powered algorithms to optimise fuel efficiency, mines can continually monitor health and safety compliance and wind turbines can adjust performance according to weather conditions.

Supporting IoT technologies

Keeping processing close to where the data is created delivers the ultra-low latency that’s particularly critical to the rapid analysis that IoT technologies need. An edge computing solution is an effective IoT platform, gathering data from sensors, rapidly processing it and supplying results back to the monitored items as well as sending intelligent data ‘highlights’ on to central data centres or clouds.

Edge computing makes it possible to manage production lines in real time, supports lidar and video sensors to optimise the routes of forklifts and automated guided vehicles, enables the live tracking of supply chain consignments and underpins the augmented reality headsets that bring the central expertise to remote environments.

Bringing AI to life

Ultra-low latency and real-time processing opens the door to the integration of AI and robotics into your operations. AI capabilities at the edge deliver real-time monitoring that can identify new, more efficient ways of operating that improve productivity.

AI-powered algorithms can pick up anomalies that could signal the beginnings of a problem, triggering maintenance that can prevent a halt in production and can extend the life of equipment.

In a range of environments, from the production floor to the data centre, algorithms can run closed loop applications that optimise energy usage and reduce the organisation’s carbon footprint.

Transforming customer experiences

Real-time data processing at the edge is already transforming the end-user experience across a range of industries. Take edge-powered digital signage, for example. In a retail setting it enhances the in-store experience, enticing customers in and then keeping them involved, encouraging them to buy.

Clear digital signage empowers customers to determine their own experience. It helps them find what they need and signposts key areas such as pay and information points. It can also streamline the in-store experience in ways that encourage customers to return.

Plus, because it’s controlled centrally, organisations can change all stores’ displays at the touch of a button, significantly improving operational efficiency. Alternatively, managers can change displays to reflect what stock is available or even in response to the weather. If it starts to rain, then switch from beachwear to raincoats.

The possibilities are incredible - from striking video walls and welcome video screens that reflect the demographic of the customer walking in, to interactive touchscreens for check-in for loyalty coupons and promotions and lift-and-learn interactive displays linked to product movement.

New frontiers of efficiency and sustainability

The edge is where so much important interaction takes place between people and technology, welcoming in new capabilities for any industry. It’s a chance to do things differently – and better.

It’s also important to call out its potential for boosting sustainability. Processing data at the edge opens up new, more efficient and sustainable ways of operating. It usually involves less duplication, comes with lower network energy costs, and gives the user greater control in terms of the use of clean energy, not always possible when using cloud data. Plus it supports the algorithms that can refine operations and identify ways to reduce energy usage and carbon emissions.

The edge is waiting to make a difference in your organisation.

To find out more about how edge computing can help your organisation operate more sustainably, get in touch with one of our specialists.