As the trend towards more distributed IT edge architectures continues to expand, key industry stakeholders are collaborating to learn more about how these new technologies are impacting business growth opportunities. Once such recent event, the 2018 Edge Congress held in Austin, Texas, focused on the current state of edge deployments and reviewed both edge computing and industrial edge best practices and lessons learned.
Edge Congress Takeaways
Participants, which included representatives of leading IT and OT technology suppliers, application software business partners, engaged end users and industry analysts, came away hearing three major themes:
Physical security of edge deployments is a primary concern
Edge applications run close to the source of where local data is being generated. In many instances, these are remote areas where no nearby IT experts are available to physically safeguard the edge systems. Physical threats to industrial edge and edge computing systems can include unauthorized human presence, unusual local activity (like power outages), temperature and humidity extremes, liquid leaks and poor air quality to name a few. Some of the new micro data center solution configurations are beginning to bundle security extras such as digital video cameras, motion sensors, door contacts, glass-break sensors, vibration sensors, HID card access, management and monitoring, as well as temperature and humidity sensors. These sensors supply raw data, and software aggregates and analyzes that data to perform alerting, notification, and correction so that remote support teams can better respond.
Remote monitoring will play a key role in managing edge systems
As is the case with physical security, the day-to-day management of edge systems requires sophisticated remote management. In cases where no local management system is available on site, cloud-based management for edge devices becomes an option. Under such a scenario, hundreds of micro data centers running edge applications in the field can be updated through a simple command that is deployed once in the cloud. This helps to avoid a time-consuming situation where a command needs to be deployed hundreds of times locally. Under a sophisticated monitoring system, the systems manager knows where each micro data center is located, can visualize the specific configuration of each micro data center and can see a detailed message on the health of the system. In some cases, the management system will even recommend a course of action and generate service tickets for the local managed service provider (MSP).
Partnerships are driving major edge computing system rollouts
Joint offers that combine the experience of OT manufacturers, IT specialists and distributors are producing edge solutions that arrive at customer sites pre-configured, pre-tested and ready to plug in and operate. A featured example of this at the Edge Congress was a solution dubbed “data center in a box” which combined hyperconverged Scale servers, Schneider Electric racks, power distribution, power protection and environmental controls, and Ingram-Micro integration and installation services.
Retail and Manufacturing Emerge as Among the Most Active of Edge Computing Industries
Both retail and manufacturing industries are currently building momentum in terms of industrial edge and edge computing deployments as they pursue the business uptime benefits of Certainty in a Connected World. One retail example on display at the show, a fast food operation, uses smart panels that serve both as wide-screen oriented menus and as a message board for both employees and customers. No employee is involved in the ordering process and algorithms behind the scenes alter menus, pricing structures and promotions based on outside variables such as the temperature outside, time of day, and day of the week. For example, hot coffee and hot soups are promoted heavily on cold days, and data among the various restaurants in the chain is pooled and shared in order to maximize sales based on consumer behaviors.
A Look Ahead to Upcoming Edge Europe Conference
The next Edge Congress event will be held on January 31, 2019 in Amsterdam in the Netherlands (Edge Europe 2019). Key topics to be discussed will include how to manage multiple edges, new edge standards, current edge deployment opportunities, and edge deployment infrastructure requirements. Interested in attending? Register for Edge Europe 2019. To learn even more about edge opportunities for your organization access our edge computing resources site.