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2020: The year of edge computing and HCI

Thu 23 Jan 2020 | Alan Conboy

Alan Conboy discusses what’s in store for edge computing and HCI this year

In 2019, the IT infrastructure market saw the continued rise of edge computing and hyperconverged infrastructure as more and more industries realised their potential. Looking forward to 2020, it’s no surprise that more businesses will continue to make the most of the power of edge computing and hyperconverged infrastructure.


As a matter of fact, according to a Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics® Mobility Survey, “Fifty-seven percent of mobility decision makers said they have edge computing on their roadmap for the next 12 months.” However, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Here are my thoughts and predictions on what will be hot in the coming twelve months.


The developing landscape of IoT


According to research by Statista, the global IoT (Internet of Things) market will grow exponentially from $2.9 trillion in 2014 to $8.9 trillion in 2020. As a result, organisations will be gathering data and insights from almost everything we use – not just from the moment we wake up but even while we sleep. Technologists say the birth of the iPhone led to the upsurge of edge computing and IoT. Considering the extent of Apple’s accomplishments, we will see a much wider variety of businesses making use of this capability to put reasonable amounts of compute into a tiny form factor and move it into dedicated functions.


Subsequently in 2020, we can expect to see evolutionary expansion in the IoT space, rather than revolutionary. It will continue to progress, pushed forward by a requirement for more compelling, more efficient, cost-effective solutions, with edge computing at the forefront.


Keeping data close to the edge


As today’s world becomes more and more data-driven, it is unsurprising that the majority of this data is being created outside the four walls of the traditional data centre. As organisations get into the swing of 2020, they are beginning to closely analyse their cloud data storage. Cloud was originally perceived as the answer to all problems, but now the question is, at what cost? 


In the hope of keeping data closer to its origin, more companies are looking at hybrid cloud and edge computing strategies. This year, we’re expecting to see organisations more heavily relying on hybrid environments, and using edge computing to store, process, and minimise extensive quantities of data, which are then later transferred to a centralised data centre or the cloud.


Greater threats on the horizon


The past year saw an onslaught of news headlines around organisations from banks to airlines to hospitals, even entire local governments, falling victim to ransomware attacks. These menacing attacks are growing at a frightful pace, and will continue to become more sophisticated, more lucrative, and increasingly devious in 2020. Already this year has seen Travelex hitting the headlines as they fell victim to a ransomware attack. It is time for organisations of all sizes to think about what resources they need to modernise and protect their IT infrastructure. 


As these threats continue into in 2020, companies must understand that traditional legacy tools are not only obstructing their digital transformation journey, but leaving them exposed and vulnerable to tactical and well-organised criminals. Organisations should now be taking advantage of highly available solutions, such as hyperconverged infrastructure and edge computing, that allow them to not only keep up with changing consumer demands, but deploy the most effective cyber defences, disaster recovery, and backup.


With ransomware at the forefront of many IT professionals’ minds, a step-change is needed in their approach in case they have to face the aftermath of data being corrupted. These organisations will increasingly be guided by insurance companies as they take more of an active role, not just in the recovery of data, but in deciding whether or not to pay the ransom demand. The total cost of doing business will also escalate in conjunction with the growing threat of cyber-attacks, and every company, no matter the size, should be preparing themselves for the impact.


A smaller footprint


To address the needs of both IoT and edge computing, smaller computing form factors that perform enterprise-level tasks will be required. The principal driving factor of this trend will be the cost of deploying and maintaining computing systems outside of the data centre. The smaller the form factor, the lower the requirements for power, cooling, and space.


Even with 5G networks, cloud computing is simply not suitable for many computing needs at the edge of the network where IoT is growing. Small computing devices and appliances that can run business-critical applications and be highly available will be critical to meeting the growing computing demands of this new decade.


Smaller form factor computing will make technology more accessible outside of data centres, with a much more discrete footprint than traditional servers and server-based appliances. Many traditional systems can be replaced with smaller, cooler, and less power-hungry alternatives. A more compact footprint also aligns with the environmental initiatives of organisations around the world to reduce energy consumption into the coming years.  


2020 will be a momentous year, and a great start to the decade, for edge computing, IoT and data protection. We should expect to see major changes to the way organisations adopt these technologies, as well as how consumers respond to various innovations. 

Experts featured:

Alan Conboy

Office of the CTO
Scale Computing


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