Businesses are living in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), where they must scale to the edge to reap the rewards of personalisation, greater interconnectedness and intelligent processes. Previously ‘dumb’ edge devices must be able to process and analyse information locally before sending data to the cloud.
Having an ‘intelligent edge’ is essential in order to reduce network strain and bandwidth issues, while lowering costs and reducing the likelihood of a cyber-attack. But there is much more to be gained: organisations are using edge computing to create smarter buildings, cities and work spaces, more integrated and personalised retail and travel experiences, and more efficient factory floors.
In its Worldwide Embedded and Intelligent Systems 2015-2020 Market Forecast, IDC explains that edge intelligence helps “to enable and realise the true value of IoT” by pushing processing for data-intensive and processing applications away from the core to the edge of the network.
The Expanding Intelligent Edge
“The vision of intelligent connected systems is real and far-reaching,” comments Mario Morales, IDC program vice president. “The IT and Operational Technology industries are moving beyond the IoT buzz and are now deploying intelligent systems in specific markets like retail, industrial automation, automotive systems, and directly in our homes,” he says.
And, as processors, microcontrollers, and connectivity become embedded into a plethora of new devices, edge intelligence in smart appliances, industrial machines, and automobiles continues to grow, says IDC.
“A radical transformation is underway from the cloud to the edge of every major system. In an effort to address the opportunity, both edge and cloud infrastructure needs to continue to scale and support trillions of sensors and billions of systems,” says Les Santiago, IDC research director.
Indeed, Gartner has famously predicted that by 2020, some 20.4 billion IoT devices will connect to enterprise networks each second. “These devices will range from wearable computers to agricultural sensors that test soil moisture to diagnostic chips inside heavy equipment such as power plant turbines,” says Yanick Pouffary, Chief Technologist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “The number of connections among these objects will expand exponentially, along with the systems and users that tap into them.”
Weathering the Perfect Storm
She adds, “It is a perfect storm of data, the sheer magnitude of which will require businesses to change how they design and operate their networks—and the processes by which they absorb and analyse the information those networks generate.”
Pouffary advises businesses to talk to the experts at HPE Pointnext, an innovative IT services organisation whose consultants are trained to help simplify Hybrid IT, and power the Intelligent Edge through smart, connected devices.
HPE Pointnext is also able to recommend the best edge computing systems to implement, such as the HPE EdgeLine series of industrial-grade IoT Converged Edge Systems, and HPE Intelligent Gateway Systems.
Pouffary explains, “The edge of your network—people, devices, and spaces—must be a growing, significant piece of your hybrid IT infrastructure. This will require shifting some of the computing workload from centralised data centres to the network edge.”
Pouffary concludes, “Managing such networks is complex, to be sure, but it also offers businesses an unprecedented opportunity to innovate, realise efficiencies and cost reductions, and enhance the experiences of customers, employees, and other users, all by using the insights gained from people and things at the edges of their networks.”