Recent Investments and Team-Ups by AWS, Microsoft, and Google Demonstrate Their Intent to ‘Play It Big’ in Emerging Edge IT

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • The market for edge computing solutions is becoming increasingly competitive as the hyperscale cloud providers announce new service offerings and telco partnerships.
  • Going forward, solution providers will benefit from efforts to more clearly demonstrate and articulate the use cases and advantages of edge computing.

The recent launch of AWS Snowcone represents a further moment of intensification in the increasingly competitive market for edge infrastructure solutions. AWS Snowcone is a new edge computing and data transfer device from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is the smallest member of the AWS Snow Family of devices. At just under five pounds, the solution is designed to be highly portable and able to fit in a standard mailbox or a small backpack. It is also designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions and support a range of use cases outside the traditional data center – especially those that lack consistent network connectivity. Although Snowcone customers with internet connectivity will be able to send data to the AWS cloud using Ethernet or WiFi with AWS DataSync, one interesting innovation is the option to ship the device to AWS. This makes it suitable for edge use cases without any network connectivity, including drilling platforms, military operation sites, and remote filming locations. Continue reading “Recent Investments and Team-Ups by AWS, Microsoft, and Google Demonstrate Their Intent to ‘Play It Big’ in Emerging Edge IT”

Edge Computing Could Offer a Solution to Blockchain’s Limitations

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • A blockchain’s scalability is currently limited by the amount of power it consumes and the time lag involved when processing transactions across its distributed ledger.
  • By enabling local data processing and storage, edge computing could offer a solution to blockchain’s current scalability limitations.

The disruptions to global and local supply chains which occurred as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis have refocused attention on the ability of blockchain to enhance supply chain resilience. However, blockchain continues to face several basic challenges that prevent the technology from becoming truly scalable. These include the amount of power it consumes and the time lag that is involved when processing transactions across its distributed ledger. As a blockchain expands, both its power consumption and the amount of data processing latency increase, with inhibiting implications for platform scalability. Continue reading “Edge Computing Could Offer a Solution to Blockchain’s Limitations”

COVID-19: IoT and Edge Computing Could Support Green Recovery for UK Economy

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Edge computing and Internet of Things (IoT) innovation could play a major role in helping to drive a post COVID-19 recovery for the UK economy.
  • Initiatives to harness the benefits of edge computing will need to be collaborative, as well as addressing important questions about architecture design, energy use and security.

Edge computing involves the use of computer processing, data storage and analytics capabilities close to the places where data is collected and where digital content and applications are consumed. Edge computing is increasingly seen as an essential enabling technology for a wide range of applications related to IoT, including environmental monitoring and traffic optimization sensors as well as IoT solutions that support energy and water management in social housing and public sector buildings. Local processing capabilities remove the need to send data to far-off data centres for processing, therefore accelerating the speed at which IoT sensor data can be processed and acted on. An associated benefit is the lower bandwidth and storage consumption costs that can be gained by not having to send large volumes of data to be processed elsewhere. Continue reading “COVID-19: IoT and Edge Computing Could Support Green Recovery for UK Economy”

COVID-19: Edge Computing Can Help with Post-Crisis Recovery

Summary Bullets:

• GlobalData predicts that sales of edge computing infrastructure and services will grow by almost 14% in 2020, and will experience accelerated growth in the 2021-2024 period.

• As with 5G, edge computing can help with post-crisis economic stimulus efforts, creating new opportunities for businesses, while helping them operate in more efficient and adaptable ways.

Prior to the global outbreak of COVID-19, edge computing was widely perceived to be one of IT’s hottest new trends. However, the COVID-19 crisis has thrown industries and economies around the world into upheaval, with many businesses being forced to re-evaluate previous IT investment plans – including those that involve edge computing. Despite this, investments in edge computing technologies are expected to continue throughout the remainder of 2020, before picking up in 2021. This is because of the benefits edge computing enables, and the broad range of use cases edge computing technologies support. Together with 5G wireless networking and artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing can also help governments and businesses strengthen their digital infrastructures and support post-crisis economic recovery. Continue reading “COVID-19: Edge Computing Can Help with Post-Crisis Recovery”

COVID-19: Banks Will Weather the Storm with Robust, Agile IT

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • Efforts to bolster online banking and fintech apps in response to the COVID-19 crisis can significantly advance the digitalization of banking.
  • To help banks weather the COVID-19 storm, it is essential that they continue developing a supporting IT infrastructure that maximizes flexibility, agility, and efficiency.

Global banks currently face multiple challenges as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis. However, it is vital that banks remain committed to ongoing digital transformation strategies. Many major banks have recently embarked on digital transformation journeys that involve the adoption of cloud-based IT architectures, fintech solutions, and the use of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. Although the COVID-19 crisis has created short-term disruptions to banks’ normal operations, banks should prioritize the continuation of key IT transformation projects with a focus on their long-term benefits, including cost savings, operational efficiencies, increased business agility, and the ability to leverage new tools and capabilities. Continue reading “COVID-19: Banks Will Weather the Storm with Robust, Agile IT”

COVID-19: In Uncertain Times, IT Can Help Foster a Collaborative Response

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • As China’s IT industry returns to work, new geopolitical tensions compound economic uncertainties which, if not addressed, could threaten public health and economic recovery.
  • Global IT companies can help to find collaborative solutions that encourage a change of attitude and which emphasize international cooperation and resource sharing.

In recent days, the world has watched optimistically as travel and other restrictions in China’s Hubei province, where the global COVID-19 pandemic started, have been slowly relaxed and as manufacturing in China progressively returns to normal. This optimism also extends to China’s IT manufacturing sector, with Inspur, Lenovo, Huawei, and other IT vendors all reporting a return to normal production. Continue reading “COVID-19: In Uncertain Times, IT Can Help Foster a Collaborative Response”

COVID-19: What Does the Crisis Mean for IT Infrastructure?

C. Drake

Summary Bullets:

  • The COVID-19 crisis poses several challenges for IT infrastructure vendors and customers, including the initial disruptions created by the crisis and those related to longer-term economic slowdown.
  • But it is not all bad news, and in various ways, the IT infrastructure sector is showing resilience, increased demand, and the potential to push through this crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis poses several challenges for IT infrastructure vendors and their customers. Some of these relate to the disruptions created by the onset of the crisis; others will stem from the slowdown in economic activity that is expected to accompany it. Economic slowdown will halt or delay IT purchasing and projects and make enterprise customers less likely to take chances with new technology investments. Project delays – whether due to supply chain issues, customer slowdowns, or illness among key personnel – will damage vendor bottom lines, while small vendors with low cash reserves may be severely impacted. The stresses being endured by people across the IT industry are very real and will also cause a loss of productivity and project delays. Continue reading “COVID-19: What Does the Crisis Mean for IT Infrastructure?”

COVID-19: UK’s National Health Service Enlists Big Data, AI, and Cloud to Fight the Virus

Summary Bullets:

• The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) plans to harness the power of big data, AI, and cloud computing to manage and help contain the health crisis created by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

• Technology partners supporting this big data-based initiative include Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services.

The UK’s NHS has unveiled a government-initiated plan to harness the power of big data, AI, and cloud computing to manage and help contain the health crisis created by COVID-19. Specifically, the UK government has commissioned NHS England, NHS Improvement, which oversees the local NHS trusts, and NHSX, which is responsible for NHS digital innovation, to construct a big data platform to help those responsible for coordinating the response to the crisis – including government and health service officials. Continue reading “COVID-19: UK’s National Health Service Enlists Big Data, AI, and Cloud to Fight the Virus”

COVID-19: South Korea Shows How IT can be Effective When Combined with Rigorous Testing

Summary Bullets:

• South Korea’s strategy to combat COVID-19 has relied on a combination of extensive testing and the use of IT to enforce widespread tracing, monitoring, and quarantine.

• Government-initiated mobile phone applications have helped local authorities with limited personnel to manage large numbers of quarantined people.

Although South Korea was one of the earliest countries to experience a major outbreak of COVID-19, the country has recently seen a significant daily decline in the number of new cases. Meanwhile, although the number of deaths attributed to the virus recently saw a slight rise, this followed a long period during which there had been no increase. Other countries are now looking at South Korea to understand what they can learn from its COVID-19 experience. Continue reading “COVID-19: South Korea Shows How IT can be Effective When Combined with Rigorous Testing”

China’s Use of IT to Fight the Coronavirus Prompts Wider Applicability and Governance Questions

Summary Bullets:

• China has become a test bed for the potential to harness IT to manage and mitigate the effects of major health crises like the coronavirus.

• The widespread use of technologies like AI, big data, robotics, and blockchain raises questions about wider applicability, and concerns about longer-term governance.

Recent weeks have seen China emerge as a test bed for the potential to harness IT to manage and mitigate the effects of major health crises like the coronavirus. As of 11th March, China had almost 80,800 confirmed cases of the virus, also known as COVID-19, which had killed over 3,000 people. The economic impact of the virus has also been widely documented and includes disruptions to supply chains and lost business for countless shops, bars, and restaurants.

But China has also seen several applications of IT to help combat and manage impact of the virus. Examples include the use of workplace collaboration tools such as Alibaba’s DingTalk, Tencent’s WeChat, and ByteDance’s Feishu by businesses, hospitals, schools, and universities. These platforms enable various remote working arrangements, as well as the use of online classrooms, which support distance learning. Others include the provision of digital mapping tools. Baidu has created an epidemic map feature on the Baidu Map App that offers real-time location information about confirmed and suspected cases of the virus, as well as travel disruptions caused by enforced quarantines. Meanwhile, Tencent provides a self-examination tool on its WeChat platform to help users experiencing symptoms such as a fever or cough self-evaluate their condition and make any necessary arrangements. Tencent also maintains a map depicting clinics and hospitals that treat coronavirus patients. Continue reading “China’s Use of IT to Fight the Coronavirus Prompts Wider Applicability and Governance Questions”