Is rapid adoption and deployment of the Edge making it mainstream

Is rapid adoption and deployment of the Edge making it mainstream

Like the cloud, the network Edge has become a key area of business opportunity for IT infrastructure vendors operating in-country, regionally, globally. Top executives from Zebra Technologies, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, Fortinet, Ciena, and Intel respond.

Edge computing is a technology that brings data processing and analysis closer to the source of data, which can provide a range of benefits to enterprises. These include reduced latency, improved reliability, enhanced security, cost savings, and improved operational efficiency. By processing data at the edge, enterprises can reduce the amount of data that needs to be transmitted over the network, which can significantly reduce the latency of data transfers.

Talal Shaikh, Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, Heriot-Watt University Dubai

Edge devices can also continue to operate even if they lose connectivity to the cloud, which can help prevent downtime and service disruptions. Furthermore, edge computing can help keep sensitive data closer to the source and limit the number of points of access, thereby enhancing the security of data.

“Edge computing enables real-time data processing and faster decision-making, which can improve operational efficiency in various industries such as manufacturing,” says Heriot-Watt University Dubai’s Shaikh.

Edge computing is constantly evolving to meet the increasing demand for efficient and cost-effective data processing, storage, and analysis closer to the edge of the network. By the end of 2023, Gartner predicts that more than half of large enterprises will have at least six edge computing use cases deployed, which is a significant increase compared to just 1% in 2019.

“These innovations are enabling significant developments across various industries, including autonomous vehicles, manufacturing, and smart grids,” adds Shaikh.

Market expectations

Hozefa Saylawala, Director, Middle East and North Africa, Zebra Technologies

Enterprises are looking for rugged, reliable products and solutions for their front-line workers. Enterprises want to digitise operations, gain visibility of assets and inventory, empower their workers, and optimise workflows. “They face changing customer expectations, higher volumes of orders and faster delivery times, and need to be able to hire, train and retain workers faster,” says Saylawala

Zebra offers a large and diverse selection of enterprise-grade mobile computers including handhelds, tablets, wearables and vehicle-mounted mobile computers. Zebra gives a performance edge to help those at the front line of business and government succeed through increased productivity, improved operational efficiency and enhanced customer service.

Zebra provides enterprise-grade Android-based mobile computing solutions and owns more than 60% market share globally, with solutions optimised for the front-line of retail, hospitality, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, public safety, utilities, telecommunications and healthcare industries.

Kalle Bjorn, Senior Director, Systems Engineering ME at Fortinet

Edge computing is about bringing the compute processing and data closer to the users. Solutions can do this through real-time visibility, streamlined enforcement, dynamic policy adjustment, and automated response to compromised devices or anomalous activity.

“As the network perimeter continues to dissolve, due in part to edge computing technologies and the global shift to remote work, organisations need to leverage all the existing security advantages, which means knowing how to implement a zero-trust security strategy,” says Fortinet’s Bjorn.

According to a report published by Quadintel, the Middle East and Africa edge computing market is expected to reach US$1.46 billion by 2023. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33%.

Azz-Eddine Mansouri, General Manager at Ciena Middle East

“Low-band 5G and 4G, which are being implemented with edge computing to enable low latency use cases and demonstrate the business case for high-band 5G rollout, are one of the fundamental breakthroughs driving this expansion. Due to the desire for increasingly sophisticated and intelligent use cases from businesses, this may speed up the adoption of 5G coverage and devices,” says Ciena’s Azz-Eddine Mansouri.

“Zebra sells and creates solutions with its channel partners. Comprised of applications, utilities and tools, Zebra Mobility DNA delivers experiences that businesses receive over the lifetime of every Zebra mobile computer raising mobile user productivity, minimising IT complexities, and lowering total cost of ownership — achieving greater business outcomes, says Zebra’s Saylawala.


New enterprises are largely investing in their digital transformation efforts to remain competitive but are often posed with the challenge of implementing virtualisation rapidly and successfully.

As data-driven services are becoming more pervasive and complex, they require more compute and intelligence closer to the endpoint devices that are both generating and consuming data at the edge. The customer outcome is near real time insight that enables a more personalised experience for their customer and a competitive advantage.

Ahmed Ibrahim, Director, Global Business Development – Service Providers at Intel

Intel has worked in open standards for years to align edge use cases and fix common integration challenges for future-proofed, extensible, open solutions. “Intel has over 73,000 edge deployments returning real business value,” says Intel’s Ibrahim. Intel Market Ready Solutions put deployment on a fast track with a mature ecosystem of 1,200 edge partners and hundreds of Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions.

With the increasing use of Internet of Things, IoT devices – from smart cameras, mobile point-of-sale kiosks, medical sensors, and industrial PCs to gateways and computing infrastructure – the need for faster and near-real-time actionable insights is rapidly driving the adoption and use of edge computing at a rapid pace.

When deploying edge-based solutions, businesses are primarily looking for multiple benefits.

Increase speed and lower latency, which will help quicken system response time and enable faster transactions and better experiences that could be vital in near real-time applications, such as autonomous vehicle operation.

Improve network traffic management helps minimise the amount of data sent over the network to the cloud, reducing the bandwidth and costs of transmitting and storing large volumes of data.

Greater reliability means the amount of data that networks can transmit at one time is increased. For locations with subpar internet connectivity, being able to store and process data at the edge to improve reliability when the cloud connection is disrupted is key.

Enhanced security ensures data is stored safely and with proper implementation. An edge computing solution can increase data security by limiting the transmission of data over the internet.

Implementing edge solutions

The first step for enterprises is to assess their requirements based on the data it generates, the volume of data and its criticality. This can help determine the suitable edge computing architecture. Secondly, since edge computing relies on edge devices that can perform data processing and analysis, enterprises need to identify the edge devices they need to deploy to support their edge computing infrastructures. The devices could be anything from sensors to smartphones.

Once the edge devices are identified, enterprises should choose the right edge computing platform. This could range from AWS IoT Greengrass, Microsoft Azure IoT Edge, to Google Cloud IoT edge, among others. After choosing the platform, the edge devices need to be deployed at the edge locations, where they can collect, process, and analyse the data.

Edge computing’s ability to process and deliver high-volume data enables self-driving vehicles to operate efficiently while also ensuring security, reliability, and scalability. In manufacturing, edge computing allows manufacturers to extract and analyse real-time data for quicker problem-solving, improving operational efficiency and avoiding supply chain disruptions.

By the end of 2023, Gartner predicts that more than half of large enterprises will have at least six edge computing use cases deployed.

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