Industry 4.0 and The Edge Imperative, Ripe for Industrial Innovation

More than ever, milliseconds matter, given the power of Industry 4.0, and recognizing current challenges in delivering the low-latency, high-speed local and cloud networking required by industrial technology innovators who are driving forward more automation, AI, and remote control systems, Lumen Technologies is investing in delivering next-generation data connectivity to businesses across the United States and the world.

Earlier this year, Lumen commissioned a study by Quadrant Strategies, surveying more than 1,700 senior IT decision-makers and C-suite executives worldwide so they could better understand, in detail, the business requirements and use cases driving the adoption of “edge compute” infrastructure, platforms, software, and services.

According to the report, 83% of executives polled say architectures present latency, coverage, and cost issues, with network latency the biggest determinant of application performance.

“To transform data into amazing, differentiated experiences, next-gen applications need a secure, distributed edge compute architecture that operates close to where things and people produce or consume information,” the authors wrote. “That’s why 96% of U.S. IT decision-makers say they would be more likely to move critical workloads to the edge if their edge network could cover 95% of the U.S. within five milliseconds.”

The report also highlights the attractiveness of an edge service-subscription model, which is a solid alternative to on-premises staff and infrastructure, and the positive impact on cost savings over the long term.

As we know, the “edge” means different things to different people. When asked, “Where is the ‘edge’ in Edge Compute?” a growing number of global IT decision-makers say it is at the cloud datacenter. Other answers range from IoT, on-premises data centers, end-user devices, and cell towers with no clear consensus.

“Lumen defines edge compute as the delivery of technology services—from data processing, storage, security services, and other application services—delivered from a low-latency location near the point of digital interaction,” as the report puts it. An edge location can be on-premises or at a nearby service location, as long as it is close enough to impose less than ten milliseconds of data transfer latency.

It’s All About the Applications

On-premises edge compute may be ideal for supporting real-time VR/AR and tactile internet applications.

Metro edge compute is ideal for smart manufacturing, video analytics, point-of-sale transactions, retail robotics, and IoT use cases where sub-10 millisecond latency is critical, but so is the ability to consolidate data from multiple nearby points of interaction.

The report reveals that a stunning 93% of global IT decision-makers agree that moving their organization’s high-performance applications from cloud-based apps to metro edge compute locations will reduce lag time and improve performance, especially where real-time computing and communications is required, including in health monitoring, autonomous vehicle piloting, and smart manufacturing.

The importance of orchestration was also a main consideration based on the report.

“Whether managing IoT devices, online customer engagement, or automated supply chains, unified orchestration of on-premises, core-cloud, and edge environments is important to many IT leaders because it can help them manage next-gen distributed application performance, security, regulatory compliance, and cost. Over half of global IT leaders say the lack of orchestration between IT infrastructure and applications negatively impacts the operational agility of their organizations.”

One of the most interesting findings? When asked about their highest-priority applications, more global IT decision-makers say edge compute and IoT are mission-critical rather than 5G.

In addition, significant security concerns were expressed by half of global IT decision-makers about their organizations using 5G networks.

“IT leaders tend to agree that 5G is not a standalone solution. Four out of five agreed that 5G needs edge compute more than edge compute needs 5G. “5G offers compelling benefits, but it needs an underlying fiber network to deliver the security, availability, and TCO that IT leaders need.”

You can access the white paper here.

Arti Loftus

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt. She is passionate about digital art, and concept art in particular. She has a love for all things fiction and fantasy ranging from TV shows to video games and spends a large amount of time drawing using nothing but her imagination. Arti has a BTEC ND in Computing and also a degree in Computing - Multimedia from the University of Hertfordshire. She lives in Hertfordshire, UK with her husband, teenage son and her cat named Khaleesi.

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