By Steve Wells, Rohit Talwar, and Alexandra Whittington
Over the next five years, organisations in every industry will experience change on an unprecedented scale as people, digital devices, smart technologies, and an ever-expanding network come together to transform commerce, work, education, healthcare, recreation, and more. A whole new range of possibilities emerges when we can engage with literally every device and build intelligence and connectivity into physical objects such as office furniture and clothing. The path to 2025 will spawn new customer-centric businesses, enable entire new industries and reinvent existing ones, challenge us to adapt and evolve, and facilitate greater access, equity, and inclusion across every aspect of society – this is the potential of the Edge.
We define the Edge as the new experiences being enabled by Edge technologies for customers, employees, students, patients, and any users of network services. Edge technologies allow the processing of data by devices at the Edge of networks, which is where users and devices are. It is where things connect to the network, whether they are wired or wireless. The Edge is where actions take place. Over time, these actions at the Edge will become smarter.
Smart meets digital at the Edge – smart conference rooms, smart assembly lines, smart menu ordering, smart stadiums, and a range of technology-enabled smart experiences. The opportunity at the Edge is driven by many things, including smart applications powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, data analysis, next-generation Wi-Fi, 5G communications, and “Edge-to-cloud computing.”
The new Edge network combines AI, ML, and automation to continuously learn, predict, and adapt to changes, needs, and threats in real time. The new Edge network utilizes technologies and software to make sense of the resulting insights, enabling businesses to act and respond, optimizing the experience for the customer or user wherever they are.
Pushing intelligence out to the Edge will drive change in the design of our products, services, processes, and organizations, and transform how decisions get made – giving greater autonomy to the devices at the Edge.
A Call to Action
Capturing the Edge opportunity requires radical shifts in strategic thinking, an investment in developing deep digital experiences, experimentation with new business and revenue models, and evolution of the IT function. This change needs to be owned and driven from the C-suite. Such initiatives clearly require a vision, defined goals, and a robust delivery plan. However, before an organization can start to articulate these, most need to go through a preparatory phase to ensure they are ready to embark on a transformation of this scale.
The opportunity at the Edge represents a new way of conceiving business – designing from the outside in and putting the organization’s focus on what happens at the Edge to maximize value for customers and employees, while also driving operational efficiency. Although it may seem that the concept is in its infancy, the nature of competition and the exponential rate of advancement in the underlying technologies mean that the pace of adoption will accelerate. This will lead in turn to transformational shifts in the experiences created and the business and revenue models adopted across every sector. For the C-suite, the call to action is clear. The only question is: how quickly can you respond to start building the future?
This article is excerpted from Opportunity at the Edge – Change, Challenge, and Transformation on the Path to 2025. Download and read the eBook for free click here. To read the full article click here.
Image Credit: Gerd Altmann / https://pixabay.com/images/id-1709208