Published 7 Dec 2023

The Dawn of Automated Edge

By, Pulsant

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As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, a new frontier has emerged in the world of networks - the automated edge. But what exactly does this mean for business and why does it matter?

In simple terms, automated edge refers to self-configuring, self-optimising, and self-healing capabilities being built into edge devices and software.

Edge devices include network routers, switches, and access points as well as IP enabled devices or “things” such as sensors, that exist at the "edge" of networks.  As more things, devices, users, and bandwidth are added the effective management of network functions becomes more complex and challenging.

With IDC recently predicting that the Internet of Things (IoT) data volumes would increase worldwide from 13.6 zettabytes a few years ago, to 79.4 zettabytes by 2025 data is becoming even more challenging to manage. Users' expectations of what this data can deliver are also changing, as they demand increasingly real time access to content, which means local processing and low latency connections are essential to provide the best possible user experiences.

This is where automation comes in.

With automated edge technology, edge devices have embedded intelligence that allows them to automatically optimise network policies as conditions change. For example, if an outage or cyber-attack disrupts connectivity, automated edge devices detect the issue in real-time and begin rerouting traffic through alternate paths to minimise downtime.

Greater levels of automation combined with AI, make it possible to enable autonomous decision making within networks, setting up and taking down connections to devices, data sources and applications in real-time. This is especially vital for industries reliant on always-on, low latency connectivity such as financial services, transport and healthcare. IT teams no longer need to be manually alerted of network events and then take action. 

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As emerging technologies like AI, VR (Virtual Reality), IoT and 5G continue to impact business infrastructure at the edge, complexity and user demands will only intensify. Automated edge serves as the catalyst for IT teams to effectively harness the full power of modern, dynamic edge networks by unlocking greater resilience, scalability, and innovation

Doing this today, across a range of systems and services is an increasingly difficult balancing act. According to recent 451 research, over 90% of IT Leaders agree that a single solution to manage multi-vendor networks and edge devices would significantly improve operations. Automated edge allows organisations to scale control and visibility over network operations and services across multiple vendors - all from a single dashboard. This consolidation represents a major leap forward for network management efficiency and agility.

The automated edge is a key foundation for fully exploiting the huge potential of future innovation that will sit at the edge.

Today most 5G networks are deployed to private, single user applications. Soon 5G will become publicly available to multiple devices and users, driving a rapid expansion in the range of applications using this wireless connectivity. Current pilots with autonomous buses in cities such as Edinburgh, for instance, when rolled out in the future, will need the continuous connectivity, real time data and automation to be successful. Increasing use of video analytics in retail shopping applications required large volumes of video footage to be analysed both in real-time and connected to other data sources such as payment systems, at a speed that maintains responsive user experiences. The automated edge delivers a reliable, scalable, and adaptable foundation for these kinds of changing conditions.

So in essence, automated edge removes network complexity and establishes an intelligent foundation that gives organisations the flexibility, speed, and resilience required to unlock transformational new technologies.

It lays the groundwork for the "limitless potential of all that can be built on top." Things we cannot even conceive of yet may one day be built on top of automated, self-optimising edge architectures.

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