As the volume and speed of data continues to increase, organisations are starting to see the inefficient effects of streaming copious amounts of information to a cloud or data centre for processing. According to Gartner, by 2022, more than 50% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside the data centre or cloud. By 2025, it’s predicted that this figure will reach 75%.
At the core of this IT infrastructure transformation is edge computing. By facilitating localised capabilities and delivering near real-time insights, edge computing acts as a decentralised extension of cellular networks, data centres and the cloud.
As the hype around the edge has surmounted over the past number of years, the time is now for telecoms providers to seize this opportunity and decide how to maximise and future-proof their edge computing strategy. As society begins to accept the adjustment to a more remote working model, in addition to the rollout of commercial 5G, edge computing is positioned to gain momentum with business adoption and it’s up to telcos to take advantage. Developing an edge strategy not only provides a competitive edge for telcos but there are many benefits and transformative use cases for players within the telecoms space that come along with it.
Three things essential to the future of edge computing
Bringing the edge to life
Many of the leading edge use cases will be found in the enterprise segment, such as industrial automation, smart factories and campus networks. Visual analytics use cases in retail or sports stadiums are also examples of edge enabled use cases, but there are many other examples, including smart homes, smart cities, drone deliveries, smart real estate, and waste management.
As a telco provider, you can leverage your existing telco edge infrastructure and resources to deliver new capabilities. These improved capabilities can include reduced latency for real-time-sensitive applications and quality of service for connected devices at rest or in motion. All of these capabilities can work as a value-added layer between sensors at the edge and central decision engines.
With the growing number of connected devices comes the increase in traffic and amounts of device-generated data, all of which needs to be transmitted over networks. This is enabled by 5G and scalable data management solutions.
Rooting your strategy in data analytics
This is where a robust data strategy is crucial, and where telcos look to major cloud analytics providers for support.
One of the important capabilities of the edge is its ability to process significant amounts of data right where it’s being generated, and then being able to find the right data points quickly for local or remote processing. As mentioned earlier, the edge is a telco provider’s golden ticket for addressing the tsunami of user- and device-generated data.
Responding to the invaluable role that data analytics plays in a successful edge strategy, telcos need to take note and make sure their strategies are rooted in data analytics. 5G is the first generation of mobile networks where analytics is embedded in core network functions, as defined by the standard bodies.
Across the network, from the core to the edge, telcos need to consider how data and analytics should be managed. Some data will inherently be processed centrally, and other assets at the edge. The data strategy, in this context, plays the role of ensuring that edge data and distributed, often autonomous, decision making is informed by “central intelligence” and vice versa. Analytic capabilities across all aspects of the network and all network functions, need to be orchestrated. As sensors at the edge generate constantly changing time and location data, new analytical capabilities are required. Geospatial, temporal and time-series analytics are examples of critical capabilities in an edge strategy for telecoms providers.
The value-add of the edge is poised to be game-changing for many organisations across industries – including telecommunications. Edge computing has raised the bar for next-generation technologies and applications to deliver a significant increase in performance. It’s now up to the telcoms providers to either promote an edge strategy to gain a competitive industry edge and harness the immense power of user and device-generated data, or get left behind.