Living on the Edge, Post-Pandemic

Image Credit: iStockphoto/ PK pix

Among everything else that happened in 2020, as organizations and their employees became more geographically dispersed the amount of data traffic started to increase significantly.

From March 2020, when the first lockdowns happened, many conventional methods of communication began to be outstripped.

The new paradigm called for rapid connectivity between a greater number of locations and the exchange of ever-increasing quantities of data, at the fastest speed possible.

All of which accelerated the major trends which were occurring anyway: the shift for many organizations to embrace edge computing, and the rapid journey to the – increasingly hybrid – cloud.

This is a world on the cusp of 5G connectivity and the activation of the Internet of Things, with connectivity advanced by a new generation of small low orbiting satellites. Add all this together and the momentum for change and transformation is irresistible.

As 2021 begins, it is clear that many of the old ways of working are in the dustbin of history. Working from home, at least for a good portion of the week, will become the norm for millions of people around the world.

They’ll be using their own devices and using home wi-fi or the wi-fi in a shared workspace, café or library, even a public park. Colleagues in many different locations will need to collaborate on projects and deliver product in real time, not just drop into zoom calls to talk.

At the same time, billions of devices will be connected to the internet, from autonomous cars and trains to wearable’s, road based sensors and smart devices in healthcare. IoT devices will be ubiquitous.

The amount of data generated will grow exponentially and so will the resources dedicated to its analysis, and to the Artificial Intelligence applications which will flow from that.

According to Intel, by 2023 around 75% of the data created will be outside the data center: in factories, stores, hospitals, homes and out on the streets of smart cities. And more than 50% of this data will need to processed, stored and analyzed directly at the edge so that its use can be optimized.

Intel says that virtualization of the core network will hit a tipping point of more than 80% by 2024, a journey accelerated by 5G core deployments from this year.

People will need to connect not just to their colleagues and peers, but to devices and sensors which will give them the data and the functionality they need. Welcome to a new ecosystem of humans, sensors and robot colleagues.

The need is for scalability and rapid deployment, and the ability to change course fast – and that means business strategies in addition to the service providers organizations engage with. All of this has to come, of course, at a reasonable cost with the ability to upgrade rapidly, which creates another argument for everything-as-a-service.

To make sense of this from an infrastructure perspective, edge computing is the most powerful solution because it is the best configuration to deliver the latency and bandwidth which competitive and agile organizations will need to operate successfully.

Edge is the right approach to enable the world of industry 4.0. It promises an infrastructure which allows businesses to finally rid themselves of legacy, and position themselves to be more flexible and efficient.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has turbo charged the adoption of many new technologies, and accelerated digitalization towards industry 4.0.

With vaccines rolling out around the world and the economic outlook improving, there are reasons to be optimistic and see the pandemic, while recognizing the tragedy it has brought.

As the world recovers and technology transforms, society will begin to understand the benefits of – in terms of IT architecture — really living on the edge.

Image Credit: iStockphoto/ PK pix