IT Brief UK - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
NTT reveals advantage of edge computing in new report
Fri, 2nd Jun 2023

 NTT has officially launched its Edge Advantage Report. The report found that although two thirds of enterprises investing in edge are solving real-world business challenges, and 8 out of 10 organisations expect their dependency on third-party edge services to grow over the next two years, nearly 40% are concerned that current infrastructure capabilities won't be able to support the promise of edge.

According to the researchers, enterprises around the world are discovering the edge advantage, benefitting from digital technologies that accelerate data-driven decision making, secure physical and virtual assets, and control sustainably resilient operations. But while more than 80% of technology decision makers say their edge investment expectations have been met or exceeded, many fear that the rapid pace of technology evolution could cost them in the long term.

Infrastructure capabilities

Current adopters see the fragmented management of compute, connectivity and IoT devices as a hindrance to realizing the potential of edge, the report states. As such, those organixations that are combining private 5G and edge technologies report the highest benefits over enterprises who have adopted a legacy segregated approach, or none at all.

The report also revealed that though most organisations believe their network infrastructure can handle their current edge requirements, almost 40% of enterprises plan to upgrade their network in order to support the expected spike in connected devices and applications in the near future. In fact, two-thirds of enterprises that already deployed edge have coordinated a wide area network refresh.

In light of this, many organisations are planning to turn to partners to help them on their edge journey. So much so that 88% believe their organisations dependency on third-party edge services will grow in the next 24 months, with 91% expressing a preference to consume edge services from a single partner that offers a central point of accountability and 94% declaring that having more managed service options is a top factor in making edge consumption easier.

Shahid Ahmed, EVP New Ventures & Innovation at NTT, says, "The growing need for faster processing and a distributed digital architecture is creating increased pressure on networks and infrastructure capabilities, driving both accelerated adoption of private 5G and edge.

"Achieving the edge advantage will require end-to-end solutions with holistic management and uncompromising accountability. Only through utilising these solutions can enterprises gain instant access to data, where it is generated or collected, with near zero latency, and harness it to drive powerful business outcomes."

An industry view

The motivation behind edge adoption can vary from industry to industry, the report highlights. Among manufacturing firms, operational efficiency is the top-ranked edge investment driver, with data security second. Manufacturing firms are striving to be just-in-time organisations that meet and even anticipate market needs, turning data into competitive advantage.

Here's the breakdown of the top reasons to deploy edge solutions:

  • Increasing employee safety, experience, and efficiency (79%)
  • Streamlining/digitising business processes (76%)
  • Improving customer experience/anticipating customer needs (74%)
  • Increase use of data insights for decision-making (72%)

When it comes to improving supply chain efficiency and resilience, 100% of healthcare, transportation and manufacturing organisations have had their edge expectations met or exceeded. The same can be said for increasing employee safety, experience, and efficiency in the energy sector.

Edge-optimised applications take advantage of low latency, predictability and high bandwidth for real-time data collection to perform according to industry- specific needs, the report states. With the benefits of edge clear, its hardly surprising that nine in ten (93%) respondents consider it a competitive advantage within their industry.

Complex environments

According to organisations that have already deployed edge, the top reasons to invest are to automate and integrate AI into business processes, and to gain real-time access to data.

But achieving these objectives is a formidable challenge because they require:

  • Tight orchestration of hardware, platforms, systems and devices
  • Consistent operational performance without compromising security
  • Overcoming legacy infrastructure and technical debt

Organisations need help to navigate the complexity of adopting edge and next generation technologies into what is, traditionally, a complex and change averse environment. Legacy protocols and systems need to be carefully managed to ensure production is not impacted while migrations are in progress.

The challenges that an organisation can encounter are key drivers in why 94% of enterprises partner for edge expertise and 90% want a single edge partner that can do it all. But those that successfully harness the benefits of edge can look to grow their business, improve agility, enhance sustainable business practices, and improve quality control.