Edge computing is not a new innovation, but it is a relatively new concept for many business leaders.
More and more so, edge computing is starting to change the way we do business especially as digital transformation continues to dominate boardroom discussion.
According to Gartner, by 2022, half of all enterprise-generated data will be created and processed beyond centralised cloud data centers, via edge computing.
However, few leaders are fully aware of what edge computing actually is and what its capabilities are.
To fully capitalise on the benefits that edge can deliver businesses, it is essential for Australian business leaders to incorporate edge computing into their broader business growth strategies. Here is our rundown on edge computing for Australian businesses.
Edge computing is already enriching our daily lives
As consumers, edge computing is already part of our daily lives and activities.
Whether you're ordering an Uber on your smartphone, putting a snap on Insta, or getting your weather report from Siri, you are accessing backend services only made possible through real-time access to data updates and services from your nearest geographically distributed data center.
The benefits of connecting through the edge are part-in-parcel of the digital economy that we live in but is even more critical in countries such as Australia.
In Australia, we have a largely dispersed population across vast geographical space, most of which are remote, a highly integrated network of edge infrastructure will bring us into a more connected future and help us to achieve a larger goal of a nation driven by IoT.
The edge is already underpinning the disruption of some sectors
Edge has already heavily penetrated several industries – for example in transport, it is used to predict traffic flow to enhance consumer route planning and optimisation, while in manufacturing, it helps to identify and predict maintenance schedules (which are key given that the sector relies heavily on the performance and uptime of automated machines).
In financial services, edge has been around for a while: ATMs, banking apps and remote branches have all previously incorporated various elements of edge processing, meeting the necessity of access to data in real-time environments.
A more recent example of an Australian financial services leader adopting edge is CBA.
The financial giant has been experimenting with 5G edge computing technology, the first of its kind of program in the sector, to redefine the future of banking.
Edge solutions will help the Tier 1 banks significantly improve their connectivity between branches and reduce the infrastructure needed currently.
As you can see, edge computing is a rapidly growing technology, with very far-reaching potential that offers many key benefits to individuals as well as to businesses.
The future of Australian business will require leaders to understand what an appropriate edge strategy is for their organisation.
Edge computing explained
Based on cloud technologies, edge computing is a means of horizontally scaling work, reducing latency and making services, systems and applications more resilient.
It utilises sensors to collect data, while edge Servers process data in real-time on-site.
From an enterprise perspective, edge computing will improve performance, security and productivity with appropriate implementation.
Businesses will be able to collect and analyse data at the source of data collection; in turn, problems can be corrected in real-time, whereas they may otherwise not have been identified until reaching the central service or cloud when undergoing processing and analysis.
Moving the computing closer to the processes allows for Operation Technology professionals to make even more impactful decisions.
Moving forward with an edge strategy
Like any new project, successful edge computing requires a well-considered and structured implementation program and design.
Having multiple sites collecting and analysing data simultaneously can create complexity: with more sites to be configured and monitored, costly challenges can arise.
Careful strategy and implementation can minimise this complexity and reduce risk.
To design the right implementation plan for the business, leaders must first know what the benefits are from and edge strategy.
Here are some of the main ways you can use edge in your business:
• Improve the bottom line. A big upfront saving in adopting edge solutions will be the lowered costs of data center spend. It will reduce the space you need to host your data and save you on needing to design and construct dedicated storage rooms. This also means a reduction of the power used in maintaining these which means a cost-saving to both the business and country in terms of dollar value but also carbon footprint.
• Enhance security. Transitioning from the traditional cloud to the edge offers some important advantages in better data security. The solution distributes the processing, storage and applications across a wide network of linked centres and devices which means a single disruption is unlikely to take down the network. Compared to the inherently centralised cloud, it also means that Australian leaders on the edge are able to deliver a higher standard of always-on availability in their services.
• Boost efficiencies through greater connectedness. Edge computing is about greater connection and networking which means easier collaboration. The edge also allows vendor consolidation with its solutions. Leaders will be able to go to a single source for their support and simplify the process in integrating the service into their existing systems boosting efficiency.
With computer infrastructure ever-changing in line with technological advancements, it is critical to stay up-to-date with the impact of these changes on your industry and business.
With an edge computing framework in place, Australian business leaders will be able to extend their network services into areas previously beyond traditional infrastructures.
Innovative organisations have only just scratched the surface of what's possible – get on the front foot and bulletproof your competitive advantage.