Endless opportunities at the Intelligent Edge

intelligent edge

In the past 24 months we’ve seen Artificial Intelligence (AI) go mainstream with consumers and enterprises. Today you can find AI in automobiles, appliances, wearables, speakers, buildings, industrial systems, and just about everything in between. 

These advancements are truly remarkable, and yet we have an insatiable appetite for even better and faster technologies.

As more devices and data get pushed to the edge, a pesky reality emerges—smart devices become less intelligent, can tackle fewer complex tasks, and operate at slower speeds than we demand. The challenges intensify with the widespread use of Internet of Things (IoT), and as 5G becomes increasingly pervasive – but the benefits still outweigh the challenges.

With shifting customer needs, and a new global remote workforce, this is an incredible time for growth in the Telecommunications industry – and the competition is fierce among Communications Service Providers (CSPs) as they race to deliver and enable smarter, faster, and more powerful solutions and services.

To do so, many are betting big on the intelligent edge – the combination of advanced connectivity, compact processing power, and AI located near devices that use and generate data.

Unprecedented opportunity for innovation and growth

According to Deloitte, “The intelligent edge is poised to propel tech and telecom companies toward the next generation of connectivity and efficiency, driving another wave of industry growth.”

The firm predicts that in 2021, the global market for the intelligent edge will expand to $12 billion, continuing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 35 percent. Expansion in 2021 will be driven primarily by telecoms deploying the intelligent edge for 5G networks, and by hyperscale cloud providers optimizing their infrastructure and service offerings.

By 2023, 70 percent of enterprises will run some amount of data processing at the edge. With more devices and data at the edge and with more diverse bandwidth needing to emerge, CSPS have an opportunity to transform services and the way they are delivered.

In some cases, CSPs are using intelligent edge technologies to provide next-generation data centers and edge hubs to power dynamic connectivity for 5G. Having these capabilities enables CSPs to provide better service quality to subscribers and enterprise customers.

With the intelligent edge, enterprises can remove the traditional data center from the equation and allow the computation to occur precisely when and where it is needed most, all in real-time.

For example, game makers can instantly launch a new VR game by tapping into device intelligence, edge gateways, real-time access to a user’s surroundings – without sending data back and forth and speeding up the entire experience.

Oil rigs, farms, and military operations that often lack reliable connectivity can harness real-time data processing and AI technology to bring digital capabilities to remote regions and sensitive environments.

Another example is healthcare.

In 2020, COVID-19 accelerated the telehealth movement, and it continues to evolve at an amazing pace. By moving to the intelligent edge, healthcare professionals are expanding their remote patient monitor (RPM) capabilities to include people living in remote rural locations.

They can also extend home healthcare to communities that previously lacked the bandwidth to support these services. By reducing latency, and increasing computing power, the remote healthcare experience has become much more viable and effective.

The proof is in the numbers and a recent study indicates that 80 percent of telehealth patients are likely to have another virtual visit.

Whether it is healthcare, automotive, or manufacturing, the intelligent edge has and will continue to open the door to massive growth – and much of the innovation will be driven by and with CSPs. They have a unique opportunity to spark fundamental shifts and critical new revenue streams.

By bringing computing power to the data, not the other way around, CSPs are unlocking the ability to build products and services that will continue to keep us coming back for more. The next 2-3 years are going to be a race among the CSPs, each seeking to take advantage of the amazing technological era we’re living in.

AI, Edge, IoT, and 5G are here to stay – and when combined, there are no limits.