Closer Connectivity: Four Reasons to Bring your Organization to the Edge

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Click to learn more about author Tim Parker.

Enterprises both big and small are rethinking their data and computing strategies as the demand for data increases. Simultaneously, businesses are placing a renewed focus on customer experience and brand reputation. As data infrastructure is currently built to handle hundreds of gigabytes (GB), but not yet terabytes, the opportunities and threats of the “data avalanche” should not be overlooked.

New technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are changing the way that people work, the rise of 5G networks are driving power advancements, and mobile devices are already prevalent in day-to-day life. With this, organizations are beginning to understand the importance of shifting their computing power and data to the geographical edge of enterprises in order to deploy closer to both users and devices.

To better compete in both experience and performance, while keeping within budget and remaining secure, businesses should look to deploy data on the edge sooner than later. With just half of businesses reportedly using edge computing at this time, and the remaining 50 percent planning to move to the edge over the next year, there is great reason and opportunity for organizations to get on board with driving stronger connectivity for customers.

Below, I’ve outlined the top four reasons to bring your organization to the edge:

  • 5G is Here and Growing

Current infrastructure supports 4G capacity. As mobile carriers continue to deploy 5G, traffic at the edge will rise due to the vast reduction in latency of mobile networks, the need for greater bandwidth, and higher device connectivity. Current infrastructures cannot handle this level of traffic, and it will be on organizations to decide which data will be processed, and where that processing will happen.

Obtaining the capital investment needed for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can often prove difficult, as many of the smaller providers don’t have the resources needed. Large providers, like AT&T and Verizon, who tout their capabilities with the network, have the deep pockets to make these deployments, which are currently underway in select markets. For other ISPs, though, making such improvements will mean circling back internally for funding and waiting for adoption rate data to justify investments.

  • Reducing Costs

The cost of moving terabytes over long distances is significant. In switching to an edge strategy and processing data closer to users and devices, organizations can substantially cut down on bandwidth use, and thus costs, while still ensuring that applications are accessible and secure in remote locations.

Smart decisions on the data that is needed and that which can be discarded at the edge will be critical for cost efficiency. Most IoT devices will flood networks with useless data, but about 3-5% will be valuable to either be acted upon or necessary to transport back to the core. Making the decision at the edge will result in a better cost model.

To move data to the edge, enterprises must be smart, strategic and quick in deciding which data needs to be processed at the edge, which can be dropped, and which should be sent back to the core data center to be analyzed, archived and stored.

  • The Opportunities of AI and IoT

Mobile devices are taking command of connectivity, driven by technologies like AI and IoT, which are here to stay. IoT, while we don’t actively see it in everything we do, is becoming integrated more and more into our daily lives. From smart devices that we use to monitor our home security to personal health and fitness, a large digital transformation is afoot. In fact, it is expected that the number of IoT devices in use will exceed 50 billion by 2020, with the potential to generate over one trillion network packets per second that are all set to go somewhere. IoT technology is prepared to deliver services across industries and areas like agriculture, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and more, that were never before conceived.

  • Advancements in the Gaming Community

Video content delivery, or live steaming, is the top driver of edge computing, according to responses from 92 percent of individuals in a recent survey. One example of “why” comes from the video gaming industry, which uses 3D and virtual reality to enhance the experience, but drives up the amount of data generated. In fact, the resolution capacities are soon set to double from 4K to 8K, meaning that pictures will get clearer and capacity issues will get bigger. This increase demands low latency and high throughput for a good user experience. Therefore, if providers were to process game data closer to gamers, instead of sending it to data centers far away, they could not only reduce transit costs, but optimize video workflows and deliver a high-quality, low latency stream for viewers and improve the gamer experience.

Businesses can no longer wait to bring their data and computing closer to their people and devices. Therefore, organizations must begin to plan on where their data processing will take place, potential needs for fog computing and where edge comes into play for them. With the right strategy, businesses can make smart decisions about edge computing that will impact their businesses for years to come.

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