Edge Technology Finds Success Even as Skills are Lacking

Internet of Things (IoT) devices and external users have made edge technologies a growing priority. But even as strong use cases have emerged for new technologies at the network’s edge, IT departments have struggled to find the talent to implement edge solutions.

Those are some of the key takeaways from a new study by Aruba Networks, which found that 72% of IT leaders are actively using edge technologies to deliver new outcomes. Those further along in deployment maturity gain greater business value from edge data by using it to inform decisions and processes.

Edge success, it turns out, is all about the capacity to collect, process, store and analyze data at the edge, the Aruba study found.

“The vast majority of IT leaders are already embracing the edge or are preparing to,” said Partha Narasimhan, CTO and HPE Senior Fellow for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company. “Developing an edge strategy against the backdrop of existing cloud implementations is becoming a necessity as the number of connected devices increases and it becomes impractical to transfer vast volumes of data to a cloud or data center environment.”

Edge growth is linked to network congestion. Data generated from an immense number of users and IoT devices and sensors can’t all be funneled to central locations. Real-time processing and analysis can best be achieved close to the edge. The Aruba survey indicates that 82% of IT execs have a growing sense of urgency to implement integrated systems to handle data at the edge.

Edge IT skills lacking

But with a new IT arena unfolding, a skills gap has emerged. 92% of IT decision makers admit they lack the skills required to fully unlock the value of edge data.  In tandem with a talent shortage, security concerns can also inhibit edge initiatives. According to Aruba, 57% think connecting devices at the edge adds vulnerability to the network.

Yet these concerns pale in comparison to the challenges driving edge technology. 33% of those surveyed complained of too much data for their systems to handle. 28% said they can’t process data quickly enough to take effective actions.

The allure of the edge, for many, outweighs the risks. 53% of IT execs noted better operational efficiencies and costs as benefits of edge tools, while 47% cited higher productivity. 44% valued greater insight into customer behavior. 40% used the edge to differentiate their products and services from those of the competition.

Edge use cases

CIOs who can navigate the challenges of being an early edge adopter have found a number of successful use cases thus far. They include:

  • Tracking goods throughout the supply chain

  • improving the speed and accuracy of facial recognition

  • Better user experience due to elimination of latency for always on tools and applications

“Harnessing insights at the edge is an opportunity for enterprises to revolutionize their approach to data and unlock its value as a business asset,” said Narasimhan. “Organizations that can process, store and analyze data at the edge will be able to use that data first to optimize their existing business model, and over time, will develop innovative products, services and experiences to transform their offerings.”

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb has been writing about IT and engineering for more than 25 years. Originally from Scotland, he now lives in Florida.

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