Mr. Bhagwati Prasad, Vice President, Business Development, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric

For this edition of Edge Talks, we spoke to Mr. Bhagwati Prasad, Vice President, Business Development, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric.

1. We have heard the term Edge Computing often used. But what exactly is it?

Edge Computing is the processing of data closer to the collection point or user. This data is typically data collected by Internet-Of-Things (IOT) devices which is processed close to the point of collection and usage before it is sent back for centralised processing in the cloud or a centralised data centre.

The exponential growth in IOT sensors and smart devices has led to an explosion of data collected which needs to be processed for information and insights. These big data analytics are now used by corporations, institutions and governments to make real-time decisions such as changing menus and updating prices in retail stores, controlling smart traffic lights, autonomous vehicles and managing emergency room wait times in hospitals. For these real-time analyses to take place effectively, the huge amounts of data must be processed close to the source of the data – or what the industry calls the edge of the network. There are other reasons like data sovereignty, cost etc. which also drive need for Edge Computing.

2. How will Edge Computing change the IT industry?

The need to process data at the edge has in turn given rise to a whole spectrum of Edge computing hardware, software and services. According to research firm Grand View Research, the Edge Computing market is expected to grow to US$3.24 billion by 2025, representing a CAGR of 41% from 2017 to 2025.

The growth of Edge Computing will give rise to new areas of computing needs. For instance, to ensure that the connected IOT sensors captures data round-the-clock without interruption, there has been a significant demand for we call secure power protection systems.

3. How do you see the advent of edge data centres impacting hosting infrastructure?

Edge data centers are coming up in places closer to the user, where there is no IT or physical infrastructure expertise available. Some of these are also called unmanned sites. At the same time, these sites could be very critical. Thus, special needs are being placed in kind of physical infrastructure to support the processing and storage equipment. This physical infrastructure would consist of equipment that guards against critical hardware failure, such as UPS, IT Racks, Ventilation and cooling systems, temperature, humidity sensors, security etc. Also, since these sites are spread wide out, there is a need for an integrated monitoring, alerting and services platform to be able to take action. Thus, all the physical infrastructure will need to be able to be connected remotely either using traditional methods or using advanced cloud technologies. This would allow monitoring, alerting, predicting and preventing data centre failures before they even happen.

4. How do you think the Edge will impact the everyday citizen?

The rise of Edge Computing leads to real-time decisions that will bring many benefits to everyone. In retail stores, new technologies are improving the customer experience in many ways. One example will be for a user to be able to try one dress but then be able to visualise different colours of the same by using smart mirrors, saving time spent in shopping. Similarly, Smart traffic light systems powered by IOT sensors can better control traffic light timings to improve traffic flow, hospitals can use beds with sensors that can track the occupancy of beds and match this to patient inflow to reduce emergency wait times, bus companies can track passenger traffic on its fleet of buses to better schedule bus routes to efficiently meet commuter demands.

Bhagwati Prasad and Schneider Electric will be at Edge Asia in Singapore on 11 April. Meet them there!