Event round-up: Exploring the convergence of Edge, Cloud and AI

techUK’s Technology and Innovation Programme hosted the online conference Exploring the Convergence Between Edge Computing, Cloud and AI, as part of the Edge Computing Campaign Week. The session was chaired by Laura Foster, Programme Manager – Technology & Innovation, techUK.

The conference was split into two sections with a five minute interval. The first section explored the how the three forms of technologies worked together, whilst the second section focused on deployment of cloud, AI and edge computing.

Speakers Included:

  • Roger Jones, Solution Architect, EMEA, Cradlepoint
  • Matthew Armstrong-Barnes, Chief Technologist, HPE
  • Roy Illsley, Chief Analyst, Enterprise IT, Omdia
  • Joe Baguley, Chief Technology Officer, VMWare
  • Sarah Mannion, EMEA Technologist, NVIDIA
  • Wayne Soutter, Technical Business Development, Amazon Web Services
  • Kranthi Bairi, Head of Resources & Services, Atos
  • Michael Winterson, Vice President Business Development, Equinix
  • Laura Foster, Programme Manager Technology & Innovation, techUK
  • Kurtis Lindqvist, CEO,London Internet Exchange

The presentations from speakers are available below, recordings of the two panels are here:

Building the right infrastructure to power AI at the Edge

 

Powering smart cities with edge computing in a post-COVID world

 

    This conference was part of a six month campaign of activities and events around edge computing focused on “bringing business transformation to the edge." While not new, edge computing is fast becoming a key technology and an enabler of accelerating innovation in key industries.

    Throughout the session, speakers explored the ability of edge computing to power real-time data analytics, enable automation and deliver business transformation. Here are some key considerations from the conference:

    Defining the edge computing value chain

    Roy Islley from Omdia defined edge as ‘the edge of something’ – meaning it is the end point of connected infrastructure. To help with a definition, Omdia developed a five layer model, as seen below:

     

    Similarly, Joe Baguley of VMWare described edge computing as any form of compute happening outside the datacenter, echoed by the other two panelists, Matt Armstrong-Barnes, HPE and Roger Jones, Cradlepoint. There is growing requirement for compute power and storage to be close to the point of need whether through the benefits of streamlined data or near real-time response. However, edge computing currently has less computing power as compared to centralized computing system, which is why most use cases should explore a hybrid cloud/ edge solution.

    Companies will benefit from a hybrid cloud/edge solution

    As explored above, Matt Armstrong-Barnes, HPE emphasized that 80% of data will live and die at the edge in the next five years, due to more data being created across a business than can be reasonably centralized. This will create a demand for distributed analytics to streamline the data that can be centralized. There is still real value in centralizing some data, but it is unattainable to think this can all data can be ‘brought back’. In other words, edge computing can be advantageous by becoming a 'mini-data center' within company premises, closer to the source of the data. 

    Wayne Soutter from AWS highlighted to cost-benefit of cloud/edge convergence. Since cloud predominately uses a pay-as-you-go business model, it is imperative for businesses to use edge computing to streamline data to the cloud.

    As part of this, adoption of edge computing needs to explore how to regulate the data being processed. One solution arises in utilizing AI to process the amount of data being generated from IoT edge devices. Efficiently processing data will be key to security of edge networks, since security can be one of the biggest challenges hindering edge adoption. AI can also be used to spot abnormalities in data created by some IoT devices which can give companies a competitive advantage against cyber attacks.

    This model requires a deeper understanding of a companies’ network infrastructure. techUK hosted a webinar on building private networks for edge computing that you can view here if you would like to learn more.

    Edge computing is one part of a companies' journey to innovation

    As the second half of the session explored different use cases of edge computing, it became clear that the advancements in infrastructure and the streamlining of data enabled by an edge computing in turn allowed for more use cases. For example, during Kranthi Bairi’s (Atos) presentation, he showed how one smart utilities use case was part of a larger business plan of edge adoption.

    Similarly, In the final panel focused on smart cities, the speakers emphasized that smart cities are a process that touches at all parts of a city or community. It cannot function without edge computing, as edge allows cities to keep data generated by this process together.

    The panel also highlighted that business evolution needs to go hand in hand with cultural change. Emerging technologies, including edge computing, will pioneer innovation, but only if businesses push for change.

    techUK would like to thank all attendees and speakers for taking part in this online conference. This session was part of techUK’s Edge Computing campaign week and we encourage you tolisten and read the insights shared by industry experts here.

    If you are interested in learning more about techUK’s work with edge computing, please reach out to laura.foster@techUK.org.

    • Laura Foster

      Laura Foster

      Programme Manager | Technology and Innovation
    Atos - Smart Utilities case study (pdf)Omdia - Defining edge computing (pdf)

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