How to Capitalize on the Demand for Edge Computing
Businesses of all types are relying more and more on immediate, mobile-enabled services. For example, contactless pickup has become increasingly popular in retail. An offering like this requires low-latency data transfers in hundreds of locations to ensure accurate communication of inventory between the mobile app and the store’s inventory system. That’s why retailers began investing heavily in edge-computing networks during the pandemic to create seamless omnichannel experiences with real-time processing and analytics power.
Although business leaders recognize the benefits of edge computing, not all companies are positioned to make a seamless transition. This presents an excellent opportunity for solution providers. How can managed service providers (MSPs) position themselves to capitalize on this trend? Here are three ways that MSPs can establish their expertise and meet the growing demand for edge computing.
1. Cultivate Knowledge across Industries
Although some vertical industries are early adopters of edge technology, any company can apply edge computing to increase efficiency and develop new revenue streams. That’s why providers should cultivate extensive knowledge across industries on how edge computing can deliver actionable insights and boost effectiveness. For example, banks investing in edge computing to avoid latency in data transmissions will have different functionality needs than a hospital with next-generation robotics that assist doctors in performing surgery. By taking the time to develop a deep understanding of industry needs, MSPs can better recommend and deploy the right edge architecture.
2. Work within IoT Ecosystems
Businesses are increasingly relying on IoT applications, with 61% of enterprises(link is external) now showing a high level of IoT maturity, according to Gartner. However, the costs associated with sending the large volume of data collected within IoT applications makes local processing much more practical. Having a plug-and-play option that wraps around the entire edge and existing IoT infrastructure can simplify device management and boost operational efficiency. Next-gen solutions that also have interoperability with third-party and proprietary technologies help to deliver deep insights across the edge environment.
3. Repurpose Existing Facilities
Edge data centers can be located anywhere from a retail environment to an office filled with employees. Being able to repurpose existing facilities to accommodate an edge data center is extremely valuable. Channel partners can do this by using purpose-built hardware and software to add critical power services at the edge. MSPs must also ensure that the technology has reliability and remote, standardized deployment and management, regardless of the type of environment. In addition, intelligent analytics applications can be used to do predictive, proactive maintenance to reduce the risk of downtime. As businesses grow and open new locations, MSPs can continue to meet their needs through the use of this hardware and software.
Due to these complexities, companies are looking for help to get the level of availability they need to provide a good customer experience. When it comes to power, they will likely not have the time to address critical IT power needs, so they will turn to a partner for support. According to analyst firm IDC, more than 60% of end-user organizations want outside help in managing their edge deployments. Strategic partners can assist with this by building a managed power services practice to help their customers and grow their business – a win-win. By having the right services, tools, and partnerships in place, MSPs can use this high-tech infrastructure to maximize their profitability and customer service.
IDC predicts(link is external) that more than half of new IT infrastructure deployed will be at the edge by 2023. That’s five times more than what it is today. As the use of edge infrastructure explodes, with edge computing assets becoming critical to business operations, the MSPs that embrace this trend will be the ones to capitalize on this new wave of technology most successfully.
LARRY HANN is the director NAM channel software and digital services at APC by Schneider Electric. Hann works to help IT partners solve real customer problems using actionable data from the APC by Schneider Electric’s data platform powered by the EcoStruxure IT SaaS Architecture. He has been with APC for more than 20 years, supporting North American business relationships as manager for Tier 2 OEM partners and the Tier 1 IT distribution team. Additionally, Hann has held various positions with APC’s government channel partners, strategic partners and national-account businesses.
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