Next-Level IoT: Three Ways Edge Processing Can Get You There

Chuck Pharris

Part 1 of 4 in the “Industrial IoT” series

In life, we’re often encouraged to live on the edge – to step outside our comfort zones and take chances. We’re told this newfound adventurousness is destined to lead us to new opportunities.

For businesses today, living on the edge means making decisions where people work. It means capitalizing on critical data at the point of origination – the edge of technology instead of a centralized core.

With the proliferation of connected devices, leveraging edge processing has become crucial for companies. By embracing this innovative approach, organizations can begin living on the edge and generating greater value for their Internet of Things (IoT) deployments.

Differentiate your enterprise with edge processing

In a recently published whitepaper, market-leading analyst firm Ovum outlined the top three ways edge processing benefits businesses and helps them take IoT to the next level.

According to the research, companies that embrace edge processing are able to:

  1. Accelerate decision making: Edge processing gives organizations the opportunity to analyze data almost instantly. Rather than waiting for key information to be transmitted to its technology core, a company can leverage edge processing to generate insight where the action takes place. In extreme sailing, Team AkzoNobel achieved this during the 2017–2018 Volvo Ocean Race. By tracking its athletes’ vitals using biometric sensors, the crew was able to analyze the physical condition of its sailors and make decisions to optimize performance – right onboard the ship.
  1. Minimize costs: Transporting data from the edge to the core doesn’t just save time. It saves money. Moving and storing large volumes of IoT data can be cost-prohibitive for businesses. Analyzing information at the edge eliminates the need to transmit data and maintain it in an expensive warehousing solution. Manufacturers, for instance, can use edge processing to analyze data – without moving it to the core – and predict trends to refine future production runs. By lowering data transmission and storage costs, these businesses can devote more money to addressing other essential needs, such as upgrading equipment or buying more raw materials.
  1. Trigger near-real-time business processes: Companies dedicate long hours to ensuring their business processes are as efficient as possible. Unfortunately, organizations that analyze data purely in core systems can’t perform at peak levels – because too much time passes between conflict and resolution. With edge processing, companies can execute complex business processes at the site of their connected devices. Data no longer has to travel between front- and back-end systems before employees can act. Take asset management, for example. An operations maintenance provider can leverage edge processing to detect an issue at the location of its connected device and quickly develop a solution. So, if a wind turbine malfunctions, the company immediately has the context it needs to empower staff to repair it – right there on the spot.

Get the competitive edge you’ve been waiting for

According to Ovum’s research, only 22% of organizations deploying IoT currently leverage edge processing. But by this time next year, nearly 50% of companies surveyed are expected to have put edge processing at the heart of their IoT strategies.

The sooner your business embraces edge processing, the sooner it can gain a decisive competitive advantage over organizations hesitating to adopt it – enabling your enterprise to experience faster decision making, lower costs, and greater operational efficiencies.

Download this brand-new Ovum white paper to learn more about how edge processing can help your organization realize the next level of IoT value.


Chuck Pharris

About Chuck Pharris

Chuck Pharris has over 25 years of experience in the manufacturing industries, driving sales and marketing at a large controls systems company, overseeing plant automation and supply chain management, and conducting energy analysis for the U.S. Department of Energy’s research laboratory. He has worked in all areas of plant automation, including process control, energy management, production management, and supply chain management. He currently is the global director of IoT marketing for SAP. Contact him at chuck.pharris@sap.com.