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Jun 08 2017

Here's to life on the edge as enterprise IT infrastructure gets redefined

Twitter: @trobrecht

IoT devices have been joining enterprise IT infrastructure at a sensational pace. Think office monitoring sensors, system control devices, virtual and augmented enterprise applications, just to name a few. Technology has considerably improved the way we do day-to-day business already, but so much more is to come.

In our journey to ubiquitous automation, latency is taking a front row seat, and some applications, like haptic VR or autonomous vehicles, are feasible only in the cloud edge.

Bringing computing power and intelligence to the edge of the network, as close as possible to the node where the data is collected, speeds up the processing of data. And the great news is that this “edge computing” is already a reality.

In their recent webcast, ‘Dawn of the DX Economy: New Rules, Roles & Requirements’, analyst firm IDC estimates that  the amount of IoT data processed at the edge of the network will pass 40% by 2019. As further evidence, the importance of edge computing was a key takeway from the IoT World 2017 event in California last month.

Nokia is a pioneer in edge computing and our Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) delivers an experience that is ultra-responsive and guarantees enterprise grade privacy and security, keeping data local. But this is just the beginning. At Nokia Bell Labs, we are already envisioning the next steps, the network of the future, what we call “Future X” – a massively distributed, continuously adaptive, learning and optimizing network where, edge cloud is a key pillar.

AWS & Nokia join forces to benefit Industrial IoT ecosystem

For years I’ve observed the convergence of IT and telco and believe that cloud services are one of the areas where the two paths have definitely crossed. And we have further confirmation this week at the AWS Pop-Up Loft event in San Francisco this week, where AWS (Amazon Web Services) announced that Nokia Multi-access Edge Computing has been chosen to complement their Greengrass (GG) software. The combination of Nokia MEC and AWS GG distributed cloud capabilities will bring significant advantages to the Industrial IoT ecosystem – to IoT sensors, devices and application developers.

Latency-sensitive applications are enabled and the reliability of continuous operations increases as devices are no longer impacted by a temporary loss of connection to the central cloud. Likewise, the need for data storage in the cloud decreases alongside bandwidth costs.

Take oil companies, for example. They can pair real-time drilling data with production data from nearby wells to automatically adapt their drilling strategy.

Or consider mining, where our MEC-GG solution enables devices to operate even when they have only intermittent connectivity to the cloud. Once the device reconnects, it synchronizes its data with the cloud.

KPI performance figures from Nokia MEC and AWS GG testing in Nokia Lab are very promising: 93% of messages were processed at the edge of the network, round-trips time decreased by 28% and latency was 39% lower compared to the case where data needs to reach the centralized core.

Other Nokia edge computing milestones include: delivering extreme mobile data capacity and real-time video at a major Shanghai motor race; bringing real-time live streaming to stadium mobile users in Taiwan; helping pilgrims better navigate their journey during the holy seasons in Saudi Arabia; and  improving speed of access to data services in congested areas of the USA.

These are just a few of the applications that edge computing and private mobile networks can make possible today.

If you’re looking for support in your enterprise digital transformation and ready to embrace the opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial revolution, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Check our webpage to learn more about MEC and the industries we’re collaborating with.

About Thorsten Robrecht

Thorsten is vice president, Vertical Network Slices, Nokia and excited to be leading this growth area, which creates innovative end-to-end solutions within the merging telco and IT industry. His focus areas include: Car2X, manufacturing, logistics, media & entertainment and public safety.