IT Management

Edge: Where Physical Things Meet the Digital World

Edge computing is the practice of processing data near the edge of the network, where the data is usually generated and consumed. This means you have high speed correlation in real time, enabling businesses to garner meaningful insights, create personalized experiences and make critical decisions.

Expensive network bandwidth link and faster response times drive many organizations to choose Edge computing. Edge is ideal, in places that require limited network connectivity to cloud services, computing, analytics and storage. It is the best choice where you need instantaneous data processing for real-time decision making – all without having to send the data to a cloud first.

McKinsey & Company identified over 100 edge use cases representing a potential value over $200 billion in hardware by 2025”.

Among the market segments adopting Edge are retail, education, logistics, public sector, healthcare and utilities.

Let’s consider how Edge has assisted some of these early adopters:

  • In Retail, what matters most is being open for business and being able to transact. Edge delivers better customer experience, operational excellence, supply chain efficiency and inventory optimization – key factors that drive success.
  • In Education, Edge is helping to create immersive learning experiences for students, overcoming some of the challenges inherent to online learning.
  • In Healthcare, Edge facilitates access to timely information in circumstances that can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Business are already seeing multiple benefits with Edge

  • Reduced IoT solution costs – locally managing data reduces the need for cloud and network resources
  • Better opportunity to manage risk – the data is distributed therefore the risk is also distributed
  • Faster response time – minimized latency for users/customers enhances user/customer experience
  • Local autonomy – intermittent connectivity to the cloud no longer brings the business to a halt
  • Bridging IT and OT – for example, legacy CCTV systems in a grocery store can be connected to edge computing – allows the store to gather valuable insights, such as identifying hazards in real-time and analyzing customer behavior.

Always-on and always-available is no longer nice to have, it has become an IT and business necessity

In a Tier 3 or Tier 4 data center, BCP (Business Continuity Plan) is obvious. The Edge however requires some thoughts and holistic design to ensure that it is not your single point of failure or the weakest link in your network.

The solutions you need to ensure resilience, scale and proactive incident resolution have traditionally been subcontracted to your data center or cloud operator. Now, they are within your control.

A survey by EMC Global Data Protection Index finds that organizations in Australia experience an average of 3 days of unexpected downtime due to power outages. The recovery process is complex in the business sites where digital connectivity and data collection technology is affected.

More and more critical services hosted in the Edge demand the same efficiency and availability of large data centers. These installations, if excluded from your Edge design, can be expensive to retrofit.

How do you know that your Edge solution is energy efficient and sustainable?

Today’s energy automation technology enables this resilience and efficiency to be available economically, even on a smaller scale.

Most retailers operate at a 4% profit margin; a 15% reduction in energy consumption will increase profit margin from 4 to 4.75% – an 18.7% increase in store profit.

Organizations are starting to integrate how they use and buy energy with sustainability initiatives to see additional benefits such as increased efficiency, financial savings and more sustainable operations across their global footprint. Although companies spend more than $450B on energy and sustainability programs, up to 48% have no strategic plan.

Building the Sustainable Edge with APC by Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric’s integrated edge solutions enable businesses to deliver next-gen customer experiences. Discover Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure solutions: Micro Data Center, EcoStruxure IT and Smart-UPS Lithium-ion, and how they are building the sustainable edge for businesses to provide optimal customer experience.

Find out more about Schneider Electric’s edge computing solutions.

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