Edge computing: Drive innovation, business growth and efficiency
The Dell Technologies range of solutions is making edge-based deployment a reality for organizations worldwide.
The unprecedented events of 2020 have put the spotlight on changing consumer and business behavior as well as the imperative for digital transformation across all industries.
Over the past year, in many ways, the changes we have seen in how we work and the ways in which industry and commerce have had to adapt at speed, have accelerated the urgency for digital transformation. The need for high performance, low latency and network connectivity out to the edge has never been greater.
Across the industry, edge computing is validated as one of the key enablers of digital change. In its Top 10 Technology Trends of the 4th Industrial Revolution, Forbes1 magazine listed edge computing in the top five. And, when you look at the other areas of tech innovation listed by Forbes – artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, 5G – you realize how inextricably linked they are to the transformative potential of edge computing, especially when you consider that by 2025, 75% of data is going to be processed at the edge.2
Edge technology is the answer to many of today’s pressing business issues, including: increasing data volumes, costs of data transport, and insights that arrive too late to be actionable.
Forrester, in its edge computing report3, highlights the need to move data analysis to the edge to address barriers to business growth. They found that 49% of firms surveyed identified the need to be able to monitor structured and unstructured data in real time, and a massive 76% stated that the need to identify “the ideal location” for data analysis are at the forefront of challenges to forward progress.
Additionally, in a recent report4, McKinsey identified a total of 107 different use-cases for edge technology (as an example, an everyday use-case is highlighted in this film). And, although edge computing is relevant to solutions across every industry, we are focusing on three key industries where organizations are being transformed using edge technology.
Transportation is taking a leading edge with Smart Technology
Today’s world is becoming increasingly urban. It is estimated that as soon as 2050, 7.5 billion people will be city dwellers5. This means that cities around the world are experiencing unprecedented population growth. For example, Mumbai’s population is set to rise from 20 million in 2020 to 42 million by 20506.
It is this growth that is driving the need for smart solutions to meet urban challenges. By 2023 IDC predicts that global spend on smart city initiatives will reach $189bn7. This investment is all about creating environments that improve safety and security, enhance citizen experience, lower the cost of delivering services, and embrace sustainability.
Edge computing, combined with computer vision and 5G, are playing lead roles in driving smart, urban transportation solutions.
Urban mass transportation embraces edge computing
Connected public transportation systems are now able to reduce passenger wait time by 30%8 and public bus operators can improve service levels through fleet tracking, smart fare collection and live video monitoring.
Smart tech reduces road travel times
The number of cars is set to reach 2 billion by 20409, so countries around the world are investing in smart technologies to manage increased traffic flows. These technologies can help shave 30 minutes off of the daily commute and improve emergency service arrival time by 10-15%8.
Connected air travel boosts customer experience
By harnessing edge technology, computer vision and 5G, airlines are now able to drive operational efficiency, such as by reducing delays through visual inspection-based pre-emptive maintenance; improving safety and security using biometric technology at smart gates; and enhancing customer experience by delivering a smooth, fully connected journeys.
Keeping rail efficiency targets on track
Automation is driving rail efficiency – 23% of cities with a metro network now have at least one fully-automated line10. Edge-computing enabled smart technology is also improving rail security – Transport For London now operates over 12,000 smart cameras on platforms and trains to help ensure safety11.
Edge computing is fueling energy’s smart tech revolution
The energy industry is undergoing significant transformation. The utility grid is moving from a legacy one-way structure to a dynamic, predictive, data-driven network. And, there is huge growth in renewable, cleaner energy technology – renewables now deliver 33% of global energy12 (as explained in this white paper).
Transformation is creating opportunities for the energy industry to address legacy infrastructure and to innovate. Central to digital transformation is the need to be empowered by data that is captured and analyzed at the edge of the operations network.
One of the key edge use-cases for the energy industry is automated distribution – Forrester3 reports that 84% of utility companies are implementing or planning to implement edge-enabled distribution automation – along with grid modernization, analytics at the edge and embracing smart solutions.
The transformative power of automated distribution
Through the adoption of edge technologies, energy companies are able to measure, monitor and manage energy seamlessly. Smart devices can collect data from diverse sources and advanced analytics can be performed at the point of data collection. We are also seeing the emergence of new substation technology platforms that are driving grid modernization and are helping to improve existing edge-based operations. Machine virtualization is the foundation of these platforms, which delivers increased grid reliability and system resilience. Substation platforms help to reduce overall costs, improve safety and enhance cybersecurity.
Creating truly modern energy grids
Edge technology is playing a key role in the two-way communication between the utility and its customers, and is helping to enable energy providers to predict problems and deploy resources accordingly. Modern grid platforms facilitate efficient management of complex distribution networks and enable accurate forecasting of energy demand.
Driving Intelligence – analytics at the edge
Delivering analytics at the edge means the energy industry can use data more effectively and efficiently. Utility companies can predict and prevent problems in real time, cost-effectively deploy resources in real-time, and increase grid optimization & reliability.
Smart solutions drive energy efficiency and safety
Smart computer vision cameras – fixed or attached to drones – combined with machine learning, mean that energy companies can efficiently inspect assets and run algorithms to analyze their condition. Computer vision can also enable monitoring of facilities or substations to improve safety and security.
Telecommunications: Leveraging the growth potential of 5G
5G presents the telecommunications industry, and many other vertical sectors with tremendous growth opportunities. 5G transformation represents an incredible $2 trillion opportunity for industry and society13. And to enable that transformation by the end of 2023, the global telecommunications industry is expected to spend $124bn on software-defined networking and network function virtualization hardware, software and services13.
With 4G we are held back by legacy and proprietary hardware and software. The move to 5G promises a new world that is open, cloud-native and software-defined. Note that, although there are obstacles that need to be overcome to realise the new generation’s full potential, we are very much on a journey toward 5G implementation. That’s where edge computing comes in.
5G and edge computing are inextricably linked technologies. They both improve the performance of applications and enable huge amounts of data to be processed in real-time. Telecom operators have reported that 5G can deliver speeds up to 20 times faster than 4G, but to do this the industry has to overcome low latency standards. Edge computing will reduce network latency by processing data close to the end user.
These are just a few of the key benefits of uniting 5G and edge technology:
Short term gain on the road to 5G
In the short-term there is a growing argument that telecommunications operators can combine 4G and edge to support 5G services as coverage is being built, enabling performance enhancement of applications and significant increases in data processing.
Long-term gains of edge and 5G
To drive the use-cases for 5G, ultra-low latency has to be achieved. This can be achieved through edge computing creating shorter distances for data to travel. With heavy data applications, such as high-definition video, sending data back to the cloud won’t deliver the required customer experience – it must to be at the edge. Latency is one of the biggest barriers to demand for mobile streaming. Combining 5G and edge technology will improve viewing experiences as the speed at which mobile devices connect to the internet increases.
Tremendous growth in industry verticals
There are enormous opportunities in real-time services across industries, ranging from manufacturing to healthcare, retail and more. These opportunities include: vehicle automation, precision medical and robotics, cyber security and mobile virtual reality.
Global connectivity will grow
For countries with limited network infrastructure, edge computing will allow content providers to get closer to the end user, improving access and performance quality in emerging markets.
As a global leader in edge technologies and solutions, Dell Technologies is working with businesses across the globe; not just in transportation, utilities, and telecommunications, but across other industries, including retail, healthcare, manufacturing, safety and security and more. To learn more about Dell Technologies Edge Solutions and services please visit: DellTechnologies.com/Edge and to learn more, please take a moment to watch this informative film.
For further deep dives into Dell Technologies’ category experience, please visit this site. Also, for businesses about to start on their transformative journey, this guide provides five practical principles for edge deployment.
As we move further with digital transformation, and realize the benefits of the 4th industrial revolution, the edge computing needs of businesses will continue to increase. By getting close to the end-user and to the point of data creation, companies enable a world of efficiency, innovation and business growth.
2 Gartner, ‘What Edge Computing Means for Infrastructure and Operations Leaders’ (2018)
3 Forrester, ‘IoT Deployment Is Driving Analytics to The Edge’ (2019)
4 McKinsey, ‘New demand, new markets: What edge computing means for hardware companies’ (2018)
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