By John O’Donoghue, Dell Technologies Ireland
Edge computing is quickly emerging as the next “big thing” in technology. From mobile devices and cell towers to refrigerators and industrial control systems, the data being generated at the edge by these platforms has enormous value for businesses across Ireland.
Telecommunications carriers, to take one example, are building innovative “micro towers” to drive a broad range of innovative 5G networking services. Similar to small data centres, these micro towers house hyperconverged computing platforms that can deliver experiences such as augmented and virtual reality to every end user accessing a 5G network.
Another example is SK Telecom, which has partnered with Dell Technologies to accelerate its 5G wireless network rollout using a multi-access edge computing (MEC) architecture. This partnership has enabled SK Telecom to decrease application latency on its network services to under 10 milliseconds.
In fact, edge computing platforms will be employed to further automate every business process imaginable using machine and deep learning algorithms deployed at the very edge of the network. Instead of waiting for data to be analysed by an application residing in the cloud or local data centre, algorithms will optimise business processes in real time based on events as they occur.
The shift towards edge computing is also driving a sea change in application development. The emergence of Edge Native Applications allows for applications to be built and deployed on edge devices for processing data at low latency.
Everything from connected cars to augmented and virtual reality applications will depend on the ability to process and analyse data in real time at the network edge. In fact, just about every instance of digital business transformation, both in Ireland and farther afield, will soon be driven by edge computing platforms capable of processing data in real time. Gartner estimates that by 2025, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the traditional, centralized data center or cloud.
This will result in significant change for firms of all sizes in Ireland who have adopted new technologies at pace over the past year. However, business leaders who fail to recognise the opportunities in edge computing are at risk of finding themselves lagging behind their more innovative rivals as digital transformation accelerates even further. As a means of establishing a competitive advantage, edge computing can increase efficiency, generate new revenue streams, improve customer experiences, and build businesses and organisations to rebuild and recover.
The technology is not without its challenges. The total cost of ownership for all these platforms is staggering. Furthermore, finding the IT expertise required to manage edge computing platforms at scale requires access to IT automation frameworks that most businesses in Ireland are not in a position to build and support on their own. The level of expertise required first to define and maintain edge computing platform standards and then to make those platforms part of the extended enterprise requires a strategic partner dedicated not only to achieving a specific business outcome but also to minimising possible risks.
At Dell Technologies, we’ve already invested in edge computing platforms with a number of long-time global partners ranging from AT&T to SAP. It has been our privilege to provide IT platforms that millions of businesses across the world rely on every day.
As edge computing evolves, Dell Technologies will continue to be there every step of the way. Some examples of the innovative business outcomes we’re already enabling include:
- McLaren Racing, a division of McLaren Group, is taking advantage of edge computing platforms from Dell Technologies to analyse nearly 100GB of data in real time that is captured by more than 200 sensors embedded in its race cars. More than 100,000 data points per second are streaming from each McLaren car per second to determine when to make a tire change, evaluate track safety, and even when to make gear changes during the race.
- Manufacturing giant Emerson uses Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to help its customers gather data insights from sensors embedded in their digital valve controllers. Emerson and Dell Technologies have developed a wireless valve monitoring solution that collects information from digital valve controllers and sends it through a Dell Edge Gateway to the cloud. The Dell Edge Gateway aggregates, analyses, secures, processes and shares sensor data at the edge and also sends it to a Microsoft Azure-based cloud platform.
- Olivetti provides small and medium-sized manufacturers with an IoT-based plug-and-play solution to make their machines and plants smarter, and their operations more efficient. Together, Olivetti, Dell Technologies and Alleantia have developed a turnkey solution that enables the digital transformation of production processes into Industry 4.0 logic. The solution takes data from the production line or machines and makes it immediately available through multiple interfaces. The processor performs near real-time data and event processing before distributing information to the customer’s applications either directly or via a secure Olivetti cloud-based infrastructure.
Edge computing isn’t simply the latest example of an overly hyped IT trend, but rather represents a profound transformation of how companies do business in Ireland that may soon eclipse the cloud in terms of strategic importance.