Autonomous vehicles have become a de facto analogy for emerging technology. It’s easy to understand why driverless cars won’t be engineered like those meant for humans. Cue the comparison here. Traditional data center service models are meant for a centralized architecture. The edge relies on distributed architecture; they can’t be built, operated, maintained the same way.
Edge computing brings more complexity to service delivery. With a lack of onsite staff, multiple sites and remote locations, manning every deployment with a database administrator, engineer, electrical expert and security guard will be too expensive. The customer needs a simple, integrated cost-effective solution, i.e. software.
In fact, edge requires a big shift in hardware and operations. It will rely on software and digital services to enable IT in understaffed locations and drive down price. The edge vision of software and services is characterized by:
- the ability to connect any asset to pull relevant, actionable data
- a dedicated support team the with right mix of skills and knowledge
- a certified, national partner network with depth and breadth of expertise
- real time visibility for customers into assets, maintenance, work orders and more
The Revolutionary Shift for Services and Edge Computing
A combination of technology, people, digitization, connectivity and intelligence will be the revolutionary mix to enable a far more efficient service model at the edge. In the old paradigm, each device is managed separately and requires its own IP address. In the new paradigm, one dashboard manages all parts as a single system.
Edge sites will be treated as complete, fully integrated micro data centers, not as individual components. Diagnostics will highlight issues across equipment. Recommendations around maintenance, repair, and optimization will prioritize assets. Remote experts will periodically review and report performance trends.
The Sum of Its Parts
Edge is the sum of its parts and must be looked at holistically. It’s a total solution made up of critical infrastructure, end devices, software and services and a connected network put together for economic and efficient operation without increased risk.
Once deployed, the use cases will follow. This may seem counterintuitive, but let’s go back to my original analogy. When the car was invented, there was no place to fuel up; cross-country trips with the family didn’t exist. Henry Ford wasn’t sitting around worrying about proof points; he moved forward with his automotive innovations and that’s when the gas stations, roadside motels, etc. followed. The same thing will happen with edge. It’s our job to enable innovation.
A Real Life Transformation
So what would this look like in real life? A large home improvement retailer with 2,300 stores was using a dispatch service for its single phase (aging) UPSs. A traditional field service model resulted in often mistaken perceptions of problems. When the retailer moved to a managed services model for its UPSs, it decreased average active faults from 70 to 10, saved 3,600 labor hours and improved stability by 82%.
Edge disruption can clearly transform service models. Find out more about Schneider’s edge computing solutions.