Intelligent edge at IP Expo: The next frontier for design and data
- Posted on April 10, 2019
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
This article was originally written by Avanade alum Chris Lloyd-Jones.
I recently presented in the IP Expo Manchester Keynote Theatre, covering a topic that has increasingly been capturing my attention - why companies should be taking the time now, to prioritize design and data for their intelligent edge. Recent research demonstrates that successful IoT implementations require well-executed service and system design in order to be successful.
The location and timing of the presentation couldn't be more apt for the theme - given Manchester's manufacturing sector employs over 114,000 people, and that manufacturing accounts for 10% of the economic output of the UK, with 9% of these jobs located in the North West of England.
If you weren't lucky enough to be present at my talk in the world's first industrial city, well, you haven't missed out! Here are the key takeaways from my session:
1. Defining the intelligent edge: IoT which can robustly run business logic
Gartner predicts that 25 billion connected devices will be powered and enabled with IoT (internet of things) by 2021, which is only just on the horizon. Intelligent edge more specifically defines IoT as more than 'just a mobile device.' While the Edge is any compute platform which isn't the cloud, the intelligent edge is the ability to compute, and make the right decisions in the right locations.
2. Robust edge: Technology can now securely scale to meet business aspirations
Capabilities delivered by the intelligent edge aren't necessarily new; disconnected computing, connected sensor data, wired infrastructure, and digital-physical interaction have all been seen before. The difference today is that the technology is now secure and robust enough to deliver consistently on previous aspirations. We've moved from a "DIYoT" or do-it-yourself of things, to the beginning of a secured ecosystem with shared standards, compartmentalized applications, and the ability to run business logic & machine learning at the edge.
3. Networking and infrastructure: Connectivity is king
A move from disparate protocols and systems to one interconnected network has enabled machine to machine communication, to become machine to people communication. The creation of 4G networks, and the rise of 5G, in addition to low-power networking solutions such as LoRa, has allowed IoT to really unleash its potential. Moving forward, selecting the right connectivity option will be key to the success or failure of an intelligent edge implementation.
4. Momentum matters: Get started and keep moving with a defined business strategy
You won't be surprised to hear that a defined business strategy continues to be key, particularly when embracing the intelligent edge. Your strategy also needs to be threaded with industry expertise in order to be successful. This requires a defined return on investment, and C-level support for the implementation - ensuring the project has the sway to evolve businesses processes and involve employees & customers alike. Shortage of talent is not to be under-estimated when driving the initiative forward; with many organisations lacking the talent to think through new business models, and re-imaging their business processes. Once the project is up and running, businesses should design for their industry use cases, so that they can acquire the right talent to move forward and focus on their data security needs.
5. Competitive differentiation: Intelligent edge is key for business transformation
Once your business strategy is identified, you should have a clear roadmap in place for moving beyond operational efficiency, and focussing on how the intelligent edge can empower new business models. Fundamentally, research shows that IoT will influence today's business strategies with disruptive business operating models, and fast changing markets. For example, will you differentiate by doing "now" better? Will your business do new things? Will you aspire to own the market, or achieve brand recognition?