3 min

Opportunities at the Edge

Edge computing helps organizations solve common IT challenges and meet their business goals.

For the past decade, much of the IT conversation has been dominated by the cloud, and for good reason. By now, many organizations have largely optimized their cloud environments, and they are seeking ways to further improve performance and power new applications. 

Increasingly, we’re seeing IT and business leaders look to edge computing as their next technology frontier. 

The edge has always been an important part of IT environments, especially for organizations in sectors such as energy that tend to have far-flung assets. But we’re beginning to see more organizations turn to edge computing for a wider array of applications. 

In particular, edge computing can help organizations with the following use cases:

Driving Business Outcomes Through Video Analytics

Organizations across industries have long used edge infrastructure to support video surveillance and physical security. In the past, this has typically been limited to basic networking and storage. 

Emerging video analytics solutions can help boost physical security and identify opportunities to improve efficiency, but they also require a more robust edge computing environment. Depending on the use case, an organization might also need to invest in a higher tier of storage to instantly retrieve video footage and run analytics software against it.

Video Analytics Provides Valuable Data for Retailers

The retail sector has several potential applications that require improved edge computing infrastructure. The distributed nature of the industry has made it something of a leader in edge computing, with companies long using local infrastructure to help support payment systems and other in-store use cases. 

However, as technology becomes a more important part of the in-store experience for shoppers, retailers should continue their investments in edge technology. For instance, video analytics can help stores track customers’ foot traffic patterns and use that information to optimize product placement. Other retail use cases range from functions as simple as self-checkout to processes as complex as demand forecasting.

How Edge Computing Supports Remote Work

The rise of remote work since the early months of 2020 has led to increased demand for virtual desktop infrastructure. Virtual desktops have been key to helping remote employees stay productive during this challenging time, and many companies still rely on VDI to support a hybrid work model as employees return to the office on a part-time basis. 

Some organizations use cloud-hosted virtual desktops, but this isn’t always a great fit, especially for employees who work with large files, such as those in engineering, architecture and data science fields. For organizations in these industries, it often makes sense to place the infrastructure that supports their virtual desktops at the edge, where it can better support latency-sensitive workflows.

Smart Cities Are Discovering the Value of Edge Computing

One use case that always seems to be brought up in conversations about edge computing is that of autonomous vehicles. Certainly, this is an important emerging application, but there is a whole array of use cases for smart cities that edge infrastructure can support. These include not only self-driving buses and other transit options, but also Internet of Things sensors and devices that do everything from tracking air and water quality to powering smart traffic signals and enabling sewage system improvements. 

We know that more data-intensive use cases will transform industries in the coming decade. To process this data in real time — in ways that create tangible value — organizations must make investments at the edge.

Story by Anthony Placeres

Anthony  Placeres

Anthony Placeres

CDW Expert
Anthony Placeres is a distinguished architect with over 13 years of tenure at CDW. His expertise lies in AI infrastructure and high-performance computing with experience supporting the financial services, health and life sciences, and manufacturing industries. His passion is to assist customers in adopting accelerated computing solutions to meet the surging demand for cutting-edge AI applications.