There may be trouble ahead for companies unable to plan and operate in near-real-time. Edge computing provides the solution.
A pilot entering cloudy, turbulent skies is effectively flying blind. It’s a critical situation. Every moment that ticks by without clear visibility means things can change and danger levels increase. It may become impossible to reach the destination airport. Data is needed immediately – facts about the aircraft, its status, position, nearby hazards, and weather conditions – so the pilot is able to proceed without guesswork and regain full control.
Flying is one of my passions and I’m loving this new fully electric single-engine airplane!
Many companies today are also flying blind. Maybe yours is one of them? As you aim for a key business goal – perhaps a particular profit margin or an error-free target, or maybe an important KPI or complex decision – are you sometimes just feeling your way? It would be better to always know what’s happening in real time in the real world and therefore in your business.
Eliminate guesswork; regain control
To know what’s happening, your business needs to receive and analyse an “explosion of data” from an increasing number of digital sources outside the cloud and the data centre, including sensors, IoT devices, still and high-definition video cameras, and actuators. And this needs to be done in an ever-reducing window of time. If your competitors can do it faster, you’ll be in trouble.
The solution is edge computing. Instead of shipping all your data to the cloud for processing, an edge computing IT infrastructure allows you to crunch it close to its source to extract insights and inform your organisation for more effective planning and execution. This doesn’t mean processing data on your PCs, laptops and tablets; it refers to new technology that you position in your field offices, retail stores or manufacturing floor, connected to your private, public, or hybrid cloud or your data centre.
Let’s look at a real-world example. Public transport companies are under pressure to stick to schedules, attract more commuters, and offer a more inclusive service. With edge computing, wheelchair users can be detected while waiting for their bus or train and an alert sent to the driver that this passenger may need extra help. Nice. This can be extended to an elderly person or a single parent with a toddler and stroller. The result is a safer ride for everyone and, by factoring in these events, the service remains on time.
Surprisingly enough, most public transport companies have no way of knowing on a regular basis (never mind in near-real-time) how many people are using their vehicles, where they enter, and especially where they get off. This is a serious blind spot for planning and operations. And how about detecting that squeaking breaks are getting worn out and require maintenance?
Processing raw data near its source is arguably the No.1 benefit of edge computing, since it allows you to:
- Detect events in near-real-time and therefore react very quickly
- Greatly reduce the size of data you need to send to the cloud
- Remove any intrusion into the privacy of users and citizens
- Carry on working even if the network goes down for a moment
If you’d like to dive deeper into this, please see one of my other blogs – Making the case for edge computing. And in a future blog, I will demystify the key features to look for in an edge-to-cloud solution so you remain lock-in free and future proofed.
Today there’s no need to fly blind. Whether you’re about to embrace the cloud or you’re there already, now is a great time to add edge computing to your mix. For help with your journey to the edge, please get in touch. You can count on our goal-oriented advice.