Edge Computing: The New Frontier

How will Edge technology accelerate progress and change our world for the better?

Edge computing promises to advance human progress and change our world for the better. I believe it can help organizations across the globe protect the environment, improve healthcare, facilitate smart cities, reduce energy costs, and enable new technologies and services. According to Gartner, by the year 2025, 75% of data is expected to be processed at the edge. This transformation will drive a host of new business opportunities with IDC predicting that the Edge computing market will reach $250.6 billion by 2024.

A competitive advantage

The rationale for this shift is clear. Collecting and processing data at the Edge, close to the point of data creation, offers a competitive advantage. It delivers deeper business insights faster as well as lowering costs. In manufacturing, Edge computing enables precision monitoring, delivering real-time insights that help optimize yield and product quality. In turn, this lowers the cost of product assembly with opportunity for either higher margins or lower prices. In short, the shift to Edge computing solutions and strategies is a business imperative and will continue unabated. I believe that organizations that embrace this trend will be the winners.

In short, the shift to Edge computing solutions and strategies is a business imperative and will continue unabated. I believe that organizations that embrace this trend will be the winners.”

Stretching the existing IT infrastructure

However, with business increasingly happening at the Edge, the sheer volume and velocity of data is stretching the supporting infrastructure and business response. Today’s organizations have to grapple with a number of complex challenges:

Consistency between edge and cloud

By 2025, IDC estimates there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices capturing data on how we live, work, and travel. Due to this tremendous shift in user behavior, the traditional model of centralized architecture is giving way to distributed architectural models. Compare that to trends in the private/public cloud space, where we’ve seen an opposing shift toward centralization. As IT architecture inevitably becomes even more decentralized and as devices become more distributed, I believe that consistency of management and operations between the Edge and the cloud will become increasingly important.

Integrating technologies

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will play a significant role in industries managing real-time information. Picture a scenario where the weather changes unexpectedly, it becomes hot, and people turn on their air conditioning. The utility company must quickly distribute power to respond to what’s happening on the ground. In this example, given the number of variables at play, AI and ML are fundamental to making real-time decisions at the Edge, while AI/ML algorithms at the core are responsible for analyzing historical data or predictive power surges. In the future, I believe this dynamic will change. Given the volume of computing moving to the Edge, AI and ML workloads will follow suit. And of course, organizations need access to high volumes of data to build AI interference models. The Edge is clearly the best place for data capture. 

Moving to the Edge

One imperative to success is extending trusted IT-grade infrastructure to the Edge so that Operations Technology (OT) can be efficiently deployed, managed, integrated and supported. As always, the Dell Technologies strategy is to take a customer-centric approach. We offer key building blocks – Intel-based, tier one technology infrastructure, optimized for the Edge complete with modern application services to reliably deploy and run containerized workloads anywhere.

More importantly, we’ve integrated intrinsic security, which surrounds and protects the entire stack of Edge solutions, and a suite of data services to help organizations extract relevant business insights. We have the right partners in place to provide specialist expertise, backed by the reassurance of our global supply chain. Organizations can manage Edge solutions across any cloud, any app, and any endpoint. As there are key points of differentiation in our security approach, broad partner ecosystem and reliable global supply chain, I’d like to explore these in a little more detail.

Intrinsic security

As compute and data creation become more decentralized and distributed, security challenges will inevitably become more complex. Unlike the cloud in a datacenter, it’s physically impossible to wall off the Edge. Organizations must scrutinize the stack, understand vulnerabilities, and invest in the best physical and virtual security available. Responding to this need, we design and integrate intrinsic security into every layer of the stack.

Reliable supply chain

The most foundational element of our approach is a secure and reliable supply chain that ensure minimal disruption to businesses and eliminates threats before implementation. We leverage system control processes to maintain and control data access/ownership. We also track every solution sold from the component level and up; from the moment the chip is put on the motherboard through delivery to the end customer.

The ecosystem

The level of innovation that’s happening in the Edge is unlike anything that the world has previously experienced. We believe that there’s no one single technology Edge platform solution that can support the diverse use cases across industry verticals. Rather, our approach has been to create a horizontal platform, where our ecosystem partners can build solutions for vertical, geographical or very specific horizontal use cases. In my view, this collaborative approach will drive massive opportunity. IDC concurs, estimating in its FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2020 Predictions that by 2024, there will be an 800 percent growth in the number of applications being launched at the Edge.

Looking ahead

I’m inspired by the vast potential of Edge technology. I envision it becoming more pervasive in our homes, workplaces and streets, and supporting our daily decision making. I’m personally excited to think about how Edge technology will impact our individual lives and improve our world. From connected healthcare devices to public safety initiatives through to autonomous cars, Edge technology will play a valuable role in saving lives, reducing injuries and preventing crime, ultimately making all our lives safer and richer.

  • Please get in touch – I’d love to hear your Edge plans or alternatively, how you’re already leveraging Edge technology for your business.

–Outcomes at the Edge: How organizations are transforming

–7 technology themes that will forever change your IT and business world

About the Author: Varun Chhabra

Varun Chhabra is Senior Vice President of Infrastructure (ISG) and Telecom Marketing at Dell. He has been with Dell since 2015. Prior to joining Dell, Varun worked at Microsoft, where he held a variety of product marketing roles supporting the Intelligent Cloud (Microsoft Azure and Windows Server) business, as well as at Oracle, where he was a software developer. Varun has an MBA from the University of Michigan, and a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.