SIMPLY THE EDGE

Intelligent devices, at the “edge” of central IT and close to operations, add a powerful dimension to the existing IT infrastructure

It’s quite the page turner: we are standing on the edge of a precipice. And, it’s a promising one too. Edge core technologies – such as 5G, IoT, and embedded AI–- are pushing the boundaries of central IT infrastructure further and further, closer towards the “real” world of business operations. And the tipping point is right here; where compute, storage, and processing power join at the source of data collectors, sensors, and actors – that’s where innovation ignites. Simply put, with IT infrastructure now turning into a genuine “infostructure,” it’s so much better than all the rest.

Bernd Wachter Expert in Residence

WHAT

  • An IT infrastructure needs to be fluid, requiring data to flow seamlessly from the central cloud, to its periphery at the edge (“fog”), and all the way to the inside of devices (“mist”) – enabling a new generation of application services and solutions.
  • The interfaces between Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) keep improving, easily connecting physical assets and devices to IT systems, often in real time, and secured with zero-trust capabilities at the edge.
  • Digital twins of edge devices pop up in all major industries, but more notably in “intelligent industries” such as manufacturing and utilities, where OT and IT merge most naturally.
  • The combination of high-performance 5G networks and hyperscaler-quality edge services enables new applications and solutions that were previously technically unfathomable.
  • Add while we’re at the edge, add AI to the mix – through TinyML, Tiny Machine Learning – and a new world of potential business models arises, from household and wearables, to industrial devices and installations, connected cars, and even professional healthcare.
  • Applying DevOps principles to the edge (“EdgeOps”) guarantees a secure, continuous delivery of up-to-date solutions and services up to – and beyond – the very edges of the existing IT infrastructure.

USE

  • Vodafone Germany deployed a private 5G network at the Porsche Development Center, enhancing Porsche’s framework conditions for the strategic development of new vehicle systems and functions at the industrial facility.
  • Aramco leveraged the FogHorn Lightning Edge AI platform to build edge-powered solutions across multiple sites, improving safety, facilitating proactive monitoring for equipment failure, as well as automating drilling equipment and processes.
  • Thailand's Medical Services Department partnered with Huawei to offer 5G technology to public hospitals to launch smart telemedicine services, leveraging digital technologies using 5G infrastructure, AI, Big Data and Cloud Edge Computing.
  • Working with IBM, NASA plans to use edge computing capabilities in space to implement live DNA sequencing and data analysis of microbes directly on the International Space Station to keep astronauts safe from contamination.
  • Mastercard partnered with Verizon Business to build transformational solutions for its payments and commerce ecosystem. 5G and edge computing are integrated with Mastercard’s retail solutions to enable autonomous in-store checkout.

IMPACT

  • The edge is where IT and OT merge, thus becoming a key enabler for discrete and process manufacturing plants to become intelligent (‘Industry 4.0’) players, benefiting from increased adaptivity, flexibility, and responsiveness.
  • The same principles of Intelligent Industry can be applied to other sectors (for example through Society 5.0 for the public sector or retail), reaping comparable benefits of fusing “cyberspace” and “physical space.”
  • There is infinite potential to add value to all kinds of physical products, from the provision of usage analytics to customers, autonomous driving cars, or even to mitigate forest fires with IoT sensors on trees.
  • The way to a more sustainable world is opened: fully utilizing intelligent, collaborative IoT and edge services that can develop energy-efficient manufacturing plants, develop smart cities that optimize traffic movement, and so much more.

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