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Organizations are awash in data pouring in from customers and equipment, among other sources. Yet without an ability to act on data where it lives in real time, manufacturers, retailers, and healthcare organizations find themselves drowning in a data deluge instead of commanding the helm of a data-first business.

Edge computing, which shifts computing resources to where data is created, is fast becoming mainstream. IDC forecasts worldwide spending on edge computing will reach $208 billion this year, an increase of 13% over 2022, and climbing to $317 billion by 2026.1 HPE’s president and CEO Antonio Neri has been quoted as saying that 80% of all data will be processed at the source, specifically the edge, by 2025.

Companies need to continue architecting their edge infrastructure so that it delivers computing capabilities and just enough artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to turn those large data streams into insights. Doing so will boost application performance while enabling organizations to analyze and act on data in real time. This, in turn, allows them to identify and correct anomalies, elevate user experiences, optimize operations, and orchestrate activity without human invention, depending on the use case.

“There are huge amounts of data that need to be analyzed in real time, but to do that, you can’t send hundreds of megabytes to someplace else and hope to get a result back in milliseconds,” explains Denis Vilfort, director in the office of the CTO at HPE. “Edge computing is about putting all things data center-like—networking, storage, servers, and software—at individual locations. You’re talking about a distributed, autonomous environment driven by increasing amounts of digitization.”

Edge at work

Companies that can effectively put edge data to work in real time are well positioned to shrink decision windows and accelerate desired business outcomes in nearly every business sector. Here’s how an intelligent edge delivers competitive advantage in three industries.

  • In the retail sector: Retailers are building out edge capabilities to deliver a frictionless shopping experience to customers, including streamlined logistics and interconnected shopping experiences. Investment in sensors and advanced communications solutions gather data every step of the way—across store shelves, warehouses, transportation networks, corporate offices, and more. This helps integrate online and in-store experiences, enable curbside delivery, optimize the supply chain, and easily expand and scale new services. Thanks to real-time data at the edge, this can all happen at the pace of business.
  • In manufacturing: Product quality is everything, with recalls and rework resulting in unnecessary costs and potential reputational damage. Manufacturers are tapping computer vision and ML capabilities at the edge to transform quality management. Video is analyzed in real time on the shop floor to automatically detect, flag, and correct quality issues. This in turn reduces scrap, minimizes manual rework, and helps firms move closer to the goal of zero defects. Video analysis can also be connected to manufacturing execution systems, supply chain, and enterprise resource planning platforms to address the impacts holistically across the organization.
  • In healthcare: Empowering the edge delivers a range of benefits from improving patient care to ensuring mission-critical uptime of all digital systems for hospitals and trauma centers. Real-time data and insights from medical devices and wearables allow practitioners to quickly identify maladies, stay abreast of health changes, and personalize treatments, among other things. Quality imaging at the point of care—at the edge—combined with AI/ML, helps physicians make more informed diagnoses faster, facilitating patient care and treatment.

In today’s fast-paced business climate, companies must be well positioned to pivot on a dime and take decisive action. Empowering a robust edge is key to unlocking the real-time data insights that drive agility and successful business outcomes.

To learn how HPE GreenLake can help you connect your edge, click here.

1IDC, “New IDC Spending Guide Forecasts Edge Computing Investments Will Reach $208 Billion in 2023,” February 2023