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Schneider research explores how edge computing can enable the shift to a digital-first world

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Edge computing is key to enabling the shift to a digital-first world, according to research commissioned by Schneider Electric. 

Succeeding at Digital First Connected Operations, which was published by research firm IDC, gathered responses from over 1,000 IT and operations professionals to offer insight into what is driving investments into the edge. 

Respondents were global, representing firms in the United States, China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, India, and Ireland across industrial, healthcare, education, and other verticals.  The organisations ranged in size from 100 to more than 1,000 employees. 

“As organisations seek to create new or improved experiences for customers and to become more operationally efficient, improve safety and security, and become more sustainable, they are leaning more on digital technologies. The white paper examines the crucial role that edge computing and edge deployments play in enabling digital-first, connected operations,” says Chris Hanley, SVP, Commercial Operations & Global Channels, leading edge commercial strategy, Schneider Electric. 

“It highlights strategies that IT professionals and decision makers can adopt to future-proof their edge computing capabilities to support remote, connected, secure, reliable, resilient, and sustainable operations.”

Edge computing is a major enabler of a digital-first shift. In fact, the most common use cases of edge infrastructure include cybersecurity systems to monitor the operational network locally as well as storing and processing operational data to bring it to the cloud, according to the research.

Further, when organisations were asked why they were investing in edge computing to support these workloads, respondents cited, ‘improve cybersecurity’ (50%) and ‘systems resiliency and reliability’ (44%). Yet, there are various challenges that organisations must overcome to ensure their edge infrastructure, and thus, their connected operations, are resilient and reliable. 

However, despite the promise of the edge, many organisations reported connectivity and power outage concerns. In fact, 32% of respondents experienced a ‘lack of connectivity or slow connectivity’ with their edge deployments, while 31% experienced a ‘utility power outage or power surge lasting more than 60 seconds.’

How organisations can future-proof edge capabilities to support their transition to digital-first connected operations

The white paper outlines ways in which organisations can future-proof edge capabilities to support their transition to digital-first connected operations, highlighting several areas in which to achieve this: 

  • Resilient, secure, sustainable power and connectivity resources: By including resilient power and connectivity resources early in the edge planning phases, companies can reduce the risk of downtime.
  • Remote monitoring and management of edge resources at large scale: The ongoing management of edge infrastructure at scale will challenge all organisations. Having the right skills in the right place at the right time will be difficult if not impossible. Ensure that your edge resources are equipped to support continuous remote monitoring and autonomous operation.
  • Trusted partners that can provide the necessary skills for the above edge resources: Consider trusted partners to provide industry best practices and service in situations or locations where it is not economically or physically feasible to do it yourself. Trusted service partners can often predict problems before they occur. Further, look for partners that also have a commitment to sustainability since among those surveyed, 82% cited commitment to sustainability as a selection criterion for edge solution providers.
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