Cloud computing has been in the news so much lately that many business owners may be forgiven if they forget that the cloud isn’t the only game in town. Edge computing, conversely, is less covered by the news but has the potential to be just as transformative to a business’s operations as the cloud.
New technology, especially when combined with edge computing, can offer better efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery for businesses. Depending on how the company operates, edge computing has the potential to impact business processes on a fundamental level. To offer expert insight into the matter, 12 members of Forbes Technology Council explore several use cases for businesses where edge computing can offer significant benefits.
1. Positive Customer Experience
Innovations in cloud computing are making edge computing a reality. It is no longer about putting data and compute resources in the cloud. Those resources need to be close to the customer. That’s why I moved both my security service company and my podcast discovery company to the Google Cloud. Google allowed us to put our resources in eight data centers around the globe. – Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot
2. Consumer Data Privacy
Companies that deal with highly-sensitive consumer data are finding cloud computing to be dangerous due to the high cost of breaches. As a result, many of these companies are using edge computing for consumer data since it affords them more options for security and control. This can complicate the enterprise workflow, but it can bring benefits, especially in medical data companies. – Sean Byrnes, Outlier
3. The Internet Of Things
IoT is a major shift in the intelligence that businesses can implement for better data, customer experiences, on-site marketing and smarter processes. Edge computing makes the network operate at a level that enables high performance for IoT. Speeds near real-time mean user experience can be exceptional and can bring better, more efficient operations to businesses. – Frank Cittadino, QOS Networks
4. New Augmented Reality Capabilities
There’s a great deal of innovation in the pipeline. But few concepts rival augmented reality’s potential. AR will soon gain mass adoption and permeate both enterprise and consumer markets. Edge computing will enable new levels of user engagement to take place locally on AR devices. Through better computer processing, users can expect to see more vivid, faster AR experiences in the near future. – Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media LLC
5. Video Surveillance And Analytics
Video surveillance is already being deployed at the edge, as well as video analytics. Video creates 10 times more data than all other sources combined. It’s a great example of the kinds of data you need to start processing outside of the data center to minimize the amount being moved over the network and stored. Plus, it allows businesses to make real-time decisions on actionable data. – Bill Galloway, Pivot3 Inc
6. Industrial Operations
Industrial operations like plant floor processing require a high-speed response with a vast volume of data. The majority of that data is thrown away, but being able to detect anomalies in the data at the edge enable plant-operators to better detect when to respond to problems on the plant floor. This can lead to higher productivity by avoiding downtime. – Randal Kenworthy, Cognizant
7. Day-To-Day Operations For Field Workers
The combination of AR and mobile edge computing will improve the day-to-day operations of field workers and engineers dramatically. Data coming from smart glasses will be processed or pre-processed right on the mobile device — facial recognition, for example, could be processed within the cloud, find patterns, then provide visual hints to the worker. – Artem Petrov, Reinvently
8. Large Mission-Critical Applications
Edge computing is necessary for large, mission-critical applications, like military, aviation, etc. Everything else can wait. If cloud providers will make their services cheaper because of edge computing, then everybody will benefit. But something is telling me that they will make them more expensive, citing the “benefits” that you actually don’t desperately need. – Boris Kontsevoi, Intetics Inc.
9. Smart Buildings
As our conference rooms and facilities get smarter, there will be a temptation to have everything go to the cloud. There will be some benefit to having data hosted on site, both for security and stability considerations. We’re already seeing issues where cloud-based lighting can be frustrating during network outages, and reliability in the workplace is even more important. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket
10. Driverless Cars
The automotive industry has already invested billions in developing edge computing technology. For safe operation, these vehicles will need to gather and analyze vast amounts of data about their surroundings, directions and weather conditions, as well as communicate with other vehicles on the road. – Arnie Gordon, Arlyn Scales
Edge computing could enhance the customer experience for shoppers in retail stores, but also provide many benefits to the business itself, too. For instance, with edge computing, a large retail store could implement an infrared beacon technology that is able to generate in-store traffic patterns. This data can help retailers better understand their customers, as well as place items more strategically. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
12. Set-Top TV Boxes
Edge AI can enable a low-footprint, intelligent engine running on set-top box devices, which can analyze data in real time, encode it for AI, solve issues locally and provide intelligent feedback to upstream servers. Coupled with basic automation (edge robotic process automation bots) the AI engine can self-heal and fix many issues locally. – Ankur Garg, Hotify Inc.