Maximising operational efficiencies with edge technology
Nathi Dube, Director, PBT Innovation at PBT Group
Edge computing is revolutionising data processing and analytics, affording businesses unprecedented ways to streamline operations and augment user experiences. By fusing centralised computing’s power with a dispersed architectural design, edge computing equips devices at the network’s extremity to locally collect, process, and analyse data.
Previously, data collected from edge devices would be gathered and housed centrally for processing and interpretation. This method gave rise to delays, undermining real-time decision-making. Edge computing allows data to be processed and interpreted at the source, negating latency, and facilitating immediate responses. This is important in our current customer-oriented landscape, where personalised user experiences and expedited service delivery are key.
Boosting the experience
Edge devices, such as AI-driven intelligent systems, can analyse data instantaneously, offering businesses valuable insights to augment customer service. By understanding customer habits and preferences from their initial interaction with edge devices, businesses can provide anticipatory and reactive services. For example, AI-enabled IVR systems can adeptly direct customer calls, diminishing wait times, while sophisticated queuing systems can analyse data to enhance waiting periods.
Edge computing does not render cloud computing redundant; it supplements it. This hybrid design blends the cloud’s scalability and security with the edge devices’ swift responsiveness and real-time processing capabilities. Time-sensitive tasks can be performed on edge devices, while tasks not dependent on time can be processed in the cloud or data centre. This hybrid strategy optimises operational efficiencies, striking the perfect balance between immediate resource availability and swift decision-making.
- Enhanced data security: Edge computing permits local processing and analysis of sensitive data, decreasing the risk of data interception during transmission, assuring compliance with data privacy laws, and reducing data transmission costs.
- Instant responsiveness: Processing data at the edge allows decisions to be made in real time, thus improving responsiveness and user experiences.
- Superior data quality: Processing data closer to its capture point markedly enhances its quality, enabling informed decision-making.
- Reliable systems: Edge computing facilitates autonomous systems, ensuring operation even during network outages, thus improving overall system reliability.
- Network resilience: With the emergence of 5G technology, edge devices can utilise stable private networks, guaranteeing low-latency connectivity and enabling automation across various sectors, including manufacturing, mining, and agriculture.
The edge in action
- Security and surveillance: Edge devices like smart cameras using computer vision can analyse video footage in real time, aiding law enforcement agencies in criminal suspect identification and proactive crime prevention.
- 5G private networks: Sectors such as mining are adopting 5G technology to digitise operations, thereby enhancing efficiencies, safety, and reducing costs.
- IoT edge: IoT edge devices and sensors process substantial real-time data volumes, enabling immediate decision-making and augmenting overall IoT capabilities.
- Retail: Edge computing facilitates personalised shopping experiences by merging online and offline channels. Retail apps can suggest products based on customer history, inform customers of promotions, and support autonomous stores, driving round-the-clock operations.
The edge of the future
Owing to edge computing’s prowess, an increasing number of companies can process and analyse data closer to its source. By enhancing their market responsiveness, they can significantly improve operational efficiencies while providing users with more pertinent experiences tailored to their needs.