Published 16 Feb 2022

Creating a level playing field with edge computing

By, Simon Michie, Chief Technology Officer

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For the many businesses in the UK that don’t happen to be in London or the south-east of England, a lack of local, modern technology infrastructure can really hold them back.

When it comes to working with technologies that require lots of data to be processed and moved between devices and data centres – such as machine learning and the Internet of Things – relying solely on on-premises facilities or the public cloud can lead to issues around network reliability and latency.

And for businesses that want to develop new, innovative applications designed for users and  devices located in the regions, and which require rapid response times, it can be even more of a headache to have the supporting infrastructure located hundreds of miles away.

Another problem is a lack of local in-person support: working through a problem with people in the same room, or at least in the same city or region, can speed things up considerably.

The potential beyond London

With innovation and venture capital often focused in the south-east of England, other parts of the UK are sometimes left to do their own thing. The creativity and pioneering spirit that cities like Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh are known for is sometimes held back by a relative lack of technology infrastructure.

Several years ago, the small Pennine town of Hebden Bridge was cited as the UK’s second ‘super city’ after London due to its position at the centre of the strip of urban development stretching from Liverpool, through Manchester, and on to Leeds.

While many were sceptical of the idea of Hebden Bridge being a major business location, the point remains that there are areas beyond London where creativity and economic connections means there is plenty of potential waiting to be unleashed.

This is backed up by Pulsant’s The Digital Divide report, which found that 61% of IT decision-makers based in London and south-east England feel their location is an advantage to their transformation ambitions, compared to 41% for those in the rest of the UK. In addition, 59% of organisations in and around London are already creating digital-only revenue streams compared to 46% of organisations in the rest of the UK.A contributing factor in these differences is likely to be that many of the technology vendors and networks are centred around London.

Bringing technology closer to home

Pulsant’s distributed edge-computing network is focused on addressing the technology needs of businesses across the whole of the UK. We know there is increased demand for compute capability at the edge and that the public cloud doesn’t provide what’s needed.

By deploying 11 data centres in the regions where there are sizeable populations and economic activity, we are giving businesses – and the 800,000 software developers across the UK – the infrastructure they need to support their edge-based initiatives.

Pulsant’s infrastructure – which is joined together by a 100 Gbps network backbone, offering less than 10ms latency across the UK – acts as bridge between national infrastructure and the edge. This is good for service providers operating across the UK and for end users in the regions that have been previously underserved.

Having applications and company and customer data nearby, rather than in public cloud, also addresses data security and sovereignty concerns, including the ongoing uncertainty around GDPR following the UK’s departure from the EU.

I’m a firm believer that the right infrastructure enables innovation. By creating the UK’s leading edge platform, we are providing the connectivity and interactivity to power innovation across the country.