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What Life On the 'Edge' Will Mean for Your Customers

The emergence of commercial 5G services will throw fuel onto the edge fire. Are you ready?

August 31, 2018

4 Min Read
Edge Computing

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Rags Srinivasan

By Rags Srinivasan, Senior Director, Growth Verticals at Seagate Technology

Edge computing, one of Gartner’s ten strategic technology trends for 2018, is a response to demands for reduced latency and the rise in applications that demand real-time processing of critical information. It delivers services to the end user faster by moving computing closer to the source of data. If data is processed near where it’s generated, that also greatly reduces the load on network resources and opens up a whole world of potential new applications.

According to the Data Age 2025 study sponsored by my company, by 2025, almost a quarter (23 percent) of all data will be created at the edge — up from just 12 percent in 2017. By 2022, the edge computing market is expected to reach $6.72 billion.

What does this mean for your business? Let’s examine the most likely customer uses. 

Edge computing can enable truly smart logistics systems and drive efficiencies from real-time data generated by connected devices. These applications demand low-latency machine intelligence, which edge provides thanks to that ability to store and analyze data much closer to its source. It typically takes 150-200 milliseconds for data to travel from where it’s generated to a cloud provider and back, whereas having edge servers or gateways closer to these devices could shorten that time to between 2 and 5 milliseconds. What might that mean for a customer?

If a manufacturing business needs to automatically assess what it produces for anomalies, for example, and make decisions to amend this on the fly, this reduced latency adds up to a major productivity boost. Help customers implement this kind of real-time intelligence across the supply chain, and you give that enterprise a serious advantage.

The edge could also prove a huge boost for customers that have to operate in remote locations or in situations where internet connectivity is limited or intermittent. It allows you to guarantee the always-on functionality of essential services. This helps reduce costly downtime while improving staff productivity and operational efficiency.

My advice is, start thinking about how edge computing could revolutionize how your customers do business. Pretty soon, 5G networks will be here, and they’re going to change the way we live and work. Upload costs per MB could be just a tenth of what they are currently with 4G LTE — meaning more data can be affordably collected and processed at the edge.

Super-responsive, low-latency 5G networks will provide the means to really make the most of connected devices and IoT-enabled applications. Expect enterprises to increase their investments in …

… cloud infrastructure. You need to make sure they don’t overlook the need for intelligent storage, and ensure security is built in from the beginning rather than tacked on at the end. By its nature, the edge will mean that every customer’s data will be more dispersed than it is currently, with the security burden spread across a wide network. This makes features such as data-at-rest encryption vital.

As they increase their edge investments, customers will need trusted advisers to help them get the architecture right, to manage the huge increases in data volume and, potentially, costs. The future will be about edge and cloud working together to help businesses make smarter decisions instantly and drive up productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction. Are you ready to make it happen?

Rags Srinivasan is senior director of growth verticals at Seagate Technology. Based in Silicon Valley, he has deep experience building storage systems and solutions for enterprise and cloud data centers. Rags is currently focused on defining data management for edge, IoT and artificial intelligence.

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