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Edge Computing is the Future of Data Management and Intelligence

When Intelligence moves to Edge - The proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the rich growth of the cloud services have pushed the horizon of a new computing paradigm which processes the data at the 'Edge of the Network’ - Part II

Edge Computing is the Future of Data Management and Intelligence
Credit: CIO
The top ten major players in the ecosystem who are enabling Edge computing for Enterprise:

The three cloud giants (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud) are all important to the edge computing space because they are building “edge gateways and edge analytics into their IoT offerings that help manage workload distribution across edge and cloud services.”

  1. Microsoft: According to Forrester Research, Microsoft has 300 patents in the field, with many focused on content streaming. The company also recently launched its Azure IoT Edge service, comprising container modules, an edge runtime, and a cloud-based management interface.
  2. Amazon: Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a host of tools that make it easy to get started with edge computing. Lambda@Edge, e.g., allows users to run serverless functions in response to events without provisioning any servers, while the AWS Greengrass IoT service and AWS CloudFront content delivery infrastructure help build an impressive edge portfolio.
  3. Dell EMC: Dell has set-up an IoT division to integrate products and services across the company. It plans to invest $1 billion in R&D over the next three years. Key elements include Edge Gateways, VMware’s Pulse IoT Center, PowerEdge C-Series servers, Isilon storage and Pivotal Cloud Foundry. In its IoT Labs, Dell is working on several IoT/edge initiatives, including Project Nautilus(real-time analytics and streaming storage); Project Fire (a hyper-converged platform with simplified management, local compute, storage and IoT apps); Project IRIS (an RSA project to extend security to the network edge); and Project Worldwide Herd (analytics on geographically dispersed data). These tools will serve to bolster edge computing solutions for IoT and the Mobile Edge. According to Forrester, “Mobile edge computing is an interesting offshoot from the telcos, who are trying to monetize their high-bandwidth cellular networks better.”
  4. HPE: Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) recently made a $4 billion investment in its edge network portfolio. HPE offers “edge services, mini-data centres, and smart routers,” which makes it appealing as a vendor that can cover a broad range of tools needed to enable edge computing. In particular, HPE’s Edgeline series of Converged Edge Systems are designed to deliver ‘enterprise-class IT at the Edge. HPE’s value proposition is that the convergence of operational technology (OT) –data acquisition systems, control systems and industrial networks – and IT systems at the edge level will result in lower operating costs and better performance.
  5. FogHorn: FogHorn is a small-footprint software vendor that focuses on bringing intelligence to the Edge for IoT deployments. The company describes its Lightning platform as “enabling a new class of applications for advanced monitoring and diagnostics, machine performance optimization, proactive maintenance and operational intelligence use cases.” Ian Hughes, the senior analyst for the Internet of Things at 451 Research, described FogHorn as “edge-first,” and noted that having brought machine learning to the Edge, it’s an exciting company to watch.
  6. IBM: IBM Research scientists are working on a peer-to-peer mesh networking technology that allows nearby mobile devices to communicate without wifi or cellular connectivity. This kind of mesh technology can leverage IBM’s work in edge computing – which is based on foundational technology like the Watson IoT Platform – to provide custom alerts and other features.
  7. Rigado: Utilizing its Cascade routers, Rigado offers an Edge as a Service solution with secure connectivity and performance monitoring. It is an out-of-the-box solution that makes it easy to get started with edge computing. 451 Research’s Hughes noted that the firm also uses “Ubuntu Snaps to manage customer applications at the edge.”
  8. Cisco: Cisco is another networking giant that’s taking Edge computing very seriously, with a host of routers, access points, and more. The Cisco Industrial Compute Gateway IC3000, e.g., offers in-built security and manageability, which can help accelerate the translation of data insights into decision making.
  9. ClearBlade: They are focused heavily on IoT use cases, ClearBlade offers a core middleware platform for IoT at the Edge that, the company claims, delivers 100 per cent uptime. ClearBlade’s platform can run in the cloud, on-premises or at the edge level, and allows businesses to “ingest, analyze, adapt and act on any data in real-time and at extreme scale”. ClearBlade Edge runs autonomously on devices and gateways, independent of network connectivity, with comms-agnostic AutoSync technology to ensure the environment is always up to date. Another unique aspect, 451 research said, is that ClearBlade’s platform “allows orchestration of multiple layers and multiple edge computing instances.”
  10. Saguna: Saguna provides Multi-access Edge Cloud (MEC) computing solutions aimed at communication application developers and service providers. The company’s flagship product is Saguna Open-RAN, which enables customers to develop, deploy, manage and automate edge cloud platforms and edge applications. According to Saguna, Open-RAN delivers Ultra Reliable and Low Latency Communication (URLLC) and enables 5G features over existing 4G networks. The company also offers a MEC Starter Kit that makes it easier for organizations to adopt edge computing.
The following are the different hardware components that an enterprise will have to spend towards in an Edge Computing:

The Hardware value includes opportunity across the tech stack – i.e., the sensor, on-device firmware, storage, and processor. For the use case across the value chain – e.g., including edge computers at different points of architecture. Edge Hardware can include:

  • Data extraction devices
  • IoT Gateways
  • Industrial Servers
  • Embedded systems and modules
  • Sensor packs
  • Smart vision cameras
  • Machine condition monitoring hardware
The different platforms/software solutions that an enterprise will have to spend towards are:
  • Universal communications protocols
  • Cloud connectivity
  • Real-time data streaming connectivity
  • Peer to peer networking
  • Edge connectivity
The various services component that an enterprise will spend towards are as follows:
  • Device Management
  • Analytics
  • Visualization
  • Storage
  • Data subscription management
  • Professional services
Edge Computing Market Size:

It has been forecasted that the Edge computing market size is expected to value at $3.24 billion (USD) by 2025. 100 edge computing use cases across 11 sectors that we believe could create more than $200 billion in hardware value in the next five to seven years

  • Drivers:
    • Growing load on cloud infrastructure
    • Wide range of applications in different industries
    • Increase in the number of various applications
      Varied connectivity and data mobility. Edge technologies can operate in places that might limit or require intermittent connectivity to the cloud for services like computing, storage, backup, and analytics.
    • Need for real-time decision making. Edge use cases often require data to be processed instantly, for self-driving cars or automatic picking machines, for example. These devices and platforms need to be able to do analytics locally, without first sending data to the cloud so that decisions can be made rapidly.
  • Restraints:
    • Security and privacy concerns related to edge computing
  • Opportunities:
    • The advent of the 5G network
  • Challenges:
    • Inadequate industry standards and interoperability issues
From a business standpoint, here is how various industries use edge computing :
  • Corporate facilities managers use IoT and edge computing to monitor the environmental settings and the security of their buildings.
  • Semiconductor and electronics manufacturers use IoT and edge computing to monitor chip quality throughout the manufacturing process.
  • Grocery chains monitor their cold chains to ensure that perishable food requiring specific humidity and temperature levels during storage and transport is maintained at those levels.
  • Mining companies deploy edge computing with IoT sensors on trucks to track the vehicles as they enter remote areas. These companies also use edge computing to monitor equipment on the trucks in an attempt to prevent goods in transit from being stolen for resale in the black market.
IoT and edge computing are used in a broad cross-section of industries, which include the following:
  • Logistics providers use a combination of IoT and edge computing in their warehouses and distribution centres to track the movement of goods through the warehouses and in the warehouse yards.
  • Hospitals use edge computing as a localized information collection and reporting platform in their operating rooms.
  • Retailers use edge computing to collect point of sales data at each of their stores, and then they transmit this data to their central sales and accounting systems.
  • Edge computing that collects data generated at a manufacturing facility could monitor the functioning of equipment on the floor and issue alerts to personnel if a particular piece of equipment shows signs that it is failing.
  • Edge computing, combined with IoT and standard information systems, can inform production supervisors whether all operations are on schedule for the day. Later, all of this data that is being processed and used at the Edge can be batched and sent into a central data repository at the corporate data centre where it can be used for trend and performance analysis by other business managers and key executives.
However, the growing focus of organizations to enhance the customer experience in the retail vertical is expected to drive the global edge computing market:
  • The retail segment is likely to be the fastest growing vertical in terms of adoption of edge computing during the forecast period. Organizations from this vertical are undergoing a significant transformation owing to the technological advancements in place.
  • The emergence of IoT is further contributing to the digital transformation in the vertical and changing traditional retail practices. Retail organizations are intensely focusing on offering tailored solutions to customers and enhance their experience and satisfaction.
  • With edge computing solutions, retailers have gained high scalability and network flexibility. Digital shopping carts, social shopping tools, in-store videos, and digital signage are becoming common in the stores.
  • Reality and virtual reality technologies are said to be further transforming the retail vertical with Oculus goggles, smart mirrors, and smart shelves applications and help retailers in targeting the potential customers and uplifting customer experience and value.

To summarise, Edge Computing is the future of Data management and Intelligence decision making.

Image Credit: CIO

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