Edge Computing is real. Enterprises are making money, saving money, improving operations, and delighting their customers. Today. But sometimes, the concept seems to many to be vague, or a “future”, or simply hype. With such certainty and uncertainty vying for your attention, it is not surprising that many skeptics say, “if it is so real, prove it. And even more importantly, tell me what I should do about it. Today”.
We define Edge Computing as a form of distributed computing, where workloads, (compute and data) are placed in the optimal location between the Edge and the Core (backend data center or the cloud) to solve for the variables of latency, bandwidth, autonomy, and regulatory/compliance factors. Use cases abound, with “horizontal capabilities” such as Computer vision or ML/AI mapped to vertical industries and their business needs. An example might include Computer Vision (ML enabled “smart cameras”) that can be tasked with performing quality control in a factory setting, diagnosis assistance for colonoscopies in healthcare, or facial recognition in law enforcement or retail settings. This short blog cannot do justice to the flood of viable and valuable use cases we have catalogued over the past few years. Suffice it to say, “Edge is Real”. But how can an enterprise begin to internalize the benefits of Edge, and start building a strategy and timeline to capitalize on it?
The Gartner Strategic Roadmap document offers a model for evolving or emerging technologies, in which we examine an idealized future state, contrast it with today’s “ugly reality” or non-idealized state, and then present a Gap Analysis and suggested actions and milestones to get from the “ugly reality” to the idealized state. The “2021 Strategic Roadmap for Edge Computing” is such an analysis, and offers practical advice on actions enterprises should be taking today. For example, in the below model, a Future State element could be the emergence of standard architectures and models for the complete Edge “stack”. A Current State issue might be the prevalence of bespoke, monolithic implementations that are non-reusable “one-offs”
In vertical industries such as Retail and the Industrial segments, Edge is being broadly implemented. In Healthcare, the opportunities are enormous but emerging more slowly. In yet other industries, enterprises are taking a bit more conservative stance. For now. Using the Roadmap model provides an approach that ANY enterprise can use to examine their own priorities, to build a timeline for implementation or even just consideration. We hope you find it useful, and look forward to working with you on the journey.