By Andy Nallappan, CTO and Director of Software Business Operations, Broadcom Software
In December 2021, Broadcom Software published our blog: Predictions for 2022. We will now explore each of these predictions in more depth in this blog series. For this blog, our topic is edge computing.
The future has a way of quickly becoming the present.
A couple of decades ago, when almost all centralized computing ran in data centers, companies started talking on how to speed up decision making and reduce the latency issues that were frustrating users (commonly known as the “world wait”). This problem became more acute as the increasing use of mobile and IoT devices put new pressure on existing Internet infrastructure.
The tech world responded by shifting to a new model in which data storage and processing would take place as close to the end user as possible. This decentralization of computer power, known as edge computing, progressed slowly; in 2018, alone 10% of business data it was being processed outside of cloud-based data centers.
But seemingly overnight, we’ve seen a surge in momentum, thanks in no small part to the massive spread of the Internet of Things and the need to bridge a widening gap between computers’ data collection and its use to improve the business.
Gartner now estimates the percentage of data that is created and processed at the edge will reach 75% within the next 3 years as more companies understand the benefits of moving computing resources to the physical location of data creation. The speed of this transformation is extraordinary, and you can now find implementations essentially everywhere with the expansion of edge computing across industries and use cases. In fact, global spending on edge computing is expected to reach $176 billion in 2022, an increase of 14.8% from last year, according to IDC.
Edge, AI and the future
Edge computing solutions take many forms, and a major reason for their popularity is that edge deployments help address use cases that the cloud cannot. This is why edge is finding a role in the development of autonomous vehicles, as well as remote monitoring of assets in the oil and gas industry. It is also playing a key role in smart grids, where it can monitor energy use and analyze consumption, as well as predictive maintenance to proactively detect changes in production lines. prior to problems arise.
Think about the implications for the manufacturing sites involved with what is known as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT)). Insights based on Edge Computing will be able to help plants reduce waste and also improve overall product quality. And it will contribute to greater safety when finding problems, allowing maintenance teams to recognize changes in factory conditions and then respond in real time.
Let us consider the example offered by the luxury car manufacturer, Audi, which requires its manufacturing facilities to be fully loaded with IoT devices with low latency demands. Each plant can produce 1,000 vehicles a day, with more than 5,000 welds per car. But that also means 5 million welds to inspect each day. The company adopted online inspection of every weld, where sensors in each welding gun can analyze the data surrounding each weld; all that information is processed in real time at the edge.
All of this skims the surface when you think about the future, as companies combine edge computing with the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). This will happen when you consider the huge investments companies are already making in AI. In fact, a McKinsey survey from last year reported that half of respondents said they had implemented AI in at least one business function. The advent of edge AIas it’s called, has many people excited about the prospects of an era marked by even faster computing, improved data security, and more efficient operational controls.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. As I mentioned earlier, we all saw this transition as inevitable as we went along; the surprise is the rhythm of this movement towards the edge. And that’s why it’s becoming one of the biggest tech topics for 2022, and beyond.
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About Andy Nallappan:
Andy is the CTO and Director of Software Business Operations for Broadcom Software. He oversees DevOps, SaaS Platform & Operations, and Marketing for the software business divisions within Broadcom.