Research uncovers Edge Computing challenges, highlights strategies for future proofing Edge capabilities




Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, has released findings from a newly commissioned IDC White Paper entitled, Succeeding at Digital First Connected Operations, that highlights the power of edge computing in enabling the shift to a digital-first world.

The white paper details responses from over 1,000 IT and operations professionals across industrial, healthcare, education, and other verticals as well as a series of in-depth interviews with industrial enterprises.

Respondents were global, representing firms in the US, China, Japan, Germany, the UK, India, and Ireland. The organizations ranged in size from 100 to more than 1,000 employees. Responses provided insights about the factors driving edge investments, the challenges firms faced while deploying to the edge, obstacles to continued investment, and strategic recommendations to future-proof edge capabilities.

“As organizations seek to create new or improved experiences for customers and to become more operationally efficient, improve safety and security, and become more sustainable, they are leaning more on digital technologies. The white paper examines the crucial role that edge computing and edge deployments play in enabling digital-first, connected operations,” says Chris Hanley, the Senior VP, Commercial Operations & Global Channels, leading edge commercial strategy, Schneider Electric. “It highlights strategies that IT professional and decision makers can adopt to future proof their edge computing capabilities to support remote, connected, secure, reliable, resilient, and sustainable operations.”

Edge computing is one of the major enablers of a digital-first paradigm. In fact, the most common use cases of edge infrastructure include cybersecurity systems to monitor the operational network locally as well as storing and processing operational data to bring it to the cloud. Further, when organizations were asked why they were investing in edge computing to support these workloads, respondents cited, “improve cybersecurity” (50%) and “systems resiliency and reliability” (44%). Yet, there are various challenges that organizations must overcome to ensure their edge infrastructure, and thus, their connected operations, are resilient and reliable. Despite the promise of the edge, many organizations report connectivity and power outage concerns. In fact, 32% of respondents have experienced a “lack of connectivity or slow connectivity” with their edge deployments. Further, 31% have experienced a “utility power outage or power surge lasting more than 60 seconds.”

Challenges to overcome when transitioning to digital-first connected operations  

“Resilient edge resources are the foundation for shifting to digital-first, connected operations,” said Jennifer Cooke, Research Director, Edge Strategies, IDC. “Organizations will become vulnerable if and when their technology fails. To future proof edge deployments, leaders must develop a strategy that addresses concerns, such as cybersecurity and connectivity issues, and ensures access to the skills required to maintain resilient edge infrastructures.”

How organizations can future-proof edge capabilities to support their transition to digital-first connected operations

  • Resilient, secure, sustainable power and connectivity resources: By including resilient power and connectivity resources early in the edge planning phases, companies can reduce the risk of downtime.
  • Remote Monitoring and Management of edge resources at large scale: The ongoing management of edge infrastructure at scale will challenge all organizations. Having the
    right skills in the right place at the right time will be difficult if not impossible. Ensure that your edge resources are equipped to support continuous remote monitoring and autonomous
  • Trusted partners that can provide the necessary skills for the above edge resources: Consider trusted partners to provide industry best practices and service in situations or locations where it is not economically or physically feasible to do it yourself. Trusted service partners can often predict problems before they occur. Further, look for partners that also have a commitment to sustainability since among those surveyed, 82% cited commitment to sustainability as a selection criterion for edge solution providers 

As a trusted partner and full solution provider, Schneider Electric works closely with customers in designing their strategies to ensure certainty, resiliency, security and sustainability throughout the design, deployment and management at the edge via:

  • Resilient, secure, connected and sustainable physical infrastructure solutions for any edge environment – delivering certainty in a connected world;
  • A cloud-based monitoring and management platform EcoStruxure IT providing remote visibility including security, data-driven insights and recommendations, reporting capabilities and digital service capabilities; and
  • An integrated ecosystem composed of IT Technology alliances, a global network of trusted experienced channel partners and service engineers as well as rules-based design tools.

EcoStruxure is Schneider Electric’s open, interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform. It delivers enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity for customers. EcoStruxure leverages advancements in IoT, mobility, sensing, cloud, analytics, and cybersecurity to deliver innovation at every level. This includes connected products, edge computing control and apps, analytics, and services. EcoStruxure has been deployed in more than 480,000 sites, with the support of more than 20,000 system integrators and developers, connecting over 1.6 million assets under management through over 40 digital services.

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