By Navinder Singh, General Manager at In2IT Technologies*
Businesses today must be more agile, efficient and proactive than ever, a feat that can only be successfully achieved through digital technologies that deliver enhanced intelligence, including the intelligent cloud, and the ability to process and analyse data at source, also known as the intelligent edge. By decentralising data storage, processing and intelligence capabilities, the workload on the data centre or central processing hub is reduced, eliminating bottlenecks, streamlining integration and allowing for improved operational efficiency.
Intelligence to ease integration issues
While uptake of cloud technologies has accelerated dramatically over the past two years, one of the biggest challenges remains the ability to integrate various applications and processes. Incorporating intelligence into devices at the edge that make use of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities aids with this integration and ensures that various applications can be brought into the overarching cloud strategy.
For instance, companies are often compelled to integrate their CRM and ERP solutions with cloud service providers, yet there is a lot of effort required in terms of resources for these applications to achieve seamless integration. AI gathers information from the ‘edge’ applications and as the integration requirements are predefined, this simplifies the integration process significantly and as a result, reduces costs. It also eliminates bottlenecks where processing and analysis was done centrally with data alignment across multiple applications. Processing becomes faster and more efficient.
Another example is Robotics-as-a-Service using drones. Previously, a drone might capture footage and relay this footage to a central server or data centre. However, with built-in AI, the drone can capture the best frames of the footage and transfer only these to the server. This lowers bandwidth usage and improves efficiencies.
Translating benefits to ROI
If data is processed and analysed at the edge, it doesn’t have to ‘travel’ and as such, there is less risk for it to be intercepted, which in turn reduces challenges in multiple other areas, so the intelligent edge offers a number of benefits to business. These include fewer bottlenecks with cloud integration, improved efficiencies, a reduction in bandwidth consumption, minimised latency, lower costs and complexity, improved reliability and enhanced security.
Return on investment (ROI) is also an area that needs to be carefully considered when it comes to implementing intelligent edge technologies. Proof of concepts can be invaluable in providing an idea of outcomes and ROI that can be achieved. It is also important to understand that implementing these technologies can be costly at the outset and fast ROI is very seldom achieved. However, the long-term ROI can be significant, because the benefits are ongoing and will continue to deliver returns long after the initial outlay in capital.
Pay attention to the edge
As cloud and hybrid cloud environments become the norm, the benefits that the intelligent edge deliver make it a compelling technology procurement decision. It helps in streamlining the business processes, data alignment across multiple applications, simplifying integrations and more. It also reduces the cost of security, which is one of the more expensive business applications, and helps businesses to optimise operations and drive greater efficiency. In addition, it reduces the costs and complexity associated with integration and migration of applications to the cloud. In an era of ‘always on’ and ‘instant gratification’, the intelligent edge is fast becoming the way of the future.