IBM: edge computing drives responsive COVID-19 operations
With organisations around the world striving to navigate through the challenges posed by COVID-19 many are turning to digital transformation and technology in order to adapt to the new normal.
“One enabling technology that many are taking into consideration is edge computing. Edge derives its name from the ability to take advantage of processing power, increased bandwidth and AI at the “edge” of the network, where data is captured and actions are taken, rather than transmitting large volumes of data to a cloud or on-premises data center for processing,” commented Skip Snyder, Senior Partner, Global Intelligent Connected Operations Leader, IBM GBS.
In a recent study conducted by IBM, the company looked at 1,500 executives globally and discovered that a growing number of leaders see value in edge computing. Within the report, 91% of respondents expect their organisation to implement edge computing within five years.
Among the executives surveyed, numerous benefits relating to edge computing were detailed. One of the most crucial benefits highlighted included operational responsiveness.
“Real-time data processing at the edge allows businesses to get more immediate insights from connected devices and systems. The ability to analyze data at its source allows businesses to make decisions and take action based on the most current data at any point in time. And in the midst of COVID-19, where business conditions are constantly shifting, operational responsiveness is essential,” added Snyder.
According to the research conducted by IBM, 84% of executives are expecting edge applications to have a positive impact on operational responsiveness in the next five years, and will lead to significant business benefits.
In addition a large majority of respondents believe edge computing will help to reduce operating costs and automate workflows in the next five years, as well as close to half expecting edge capabilities to increase productivity and accelerate decision making.
“Imagine in industrial settings, such as a factory or plant, where edge computing combined with 5G could, for example, help manufacturers more quickly and efficiently enable automated machines and industrial robots to analyze data right on a facility’s floor. Looking ahead, edge, 5G and AI will enable businesses to take advantage of video and acoustic analytics that can detect and address potential problems on the spot,” commented Snyder, who further explains that edge computing can be applied to multiple industries not just manufacturing.
“The benefits of edge apply across many other industries as well. For example, in agriculture, sustainable agriculture companies could equip plants with IoT-enabled sensors and use edge computing to monitor the growth needs and ideal harvest time for individual plants. In retail, a retailer could use AI-infused edge applications to mitigate profit-sensitive issues like spillage, shrinkage and spoilage or to capture the full value of price adjustments based on traffic patterns, weather or other real-time variables. An automotive company could improve driver experiences through alerts and car-to-car communications, and across industries, the combination of edge computing and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) devices has the potential to enable smarter supply chains, better equipping them to handle disruption of all kinds.”
Looking to the future, Snyder contemplates that as we move into the new normal, more innovative uses of edge computing will emerge.
“Organisations will need to make the most of every advantage technology can give them as they adjust to operating in the uncharted territory the COVID-19 pandemic has created. The combination of edge computing, 5G and AI will create the opportunities they need to be responsive to the market and thrive amidst disruption.”