If there’s one thing we know for sure about the next few years, it’s that the digital and physical worlds are going to be bridged in new ways in every industry. With business agility more crucial than ever as companies search for ways to stand out, businesses will be looking to benefit from these new connections through an unending supply of real-time intelligence. To get those insights, there’s an essential need for real-time analytics, which brings with it a need for low latency and high resiliency. To make it all possible, companies are turning to edge computing (EC).
Why edge computing now?
EC has been growing in prominence over the last few years, and there continues to be more and more use cases stressing its importance. This is because the technology helps to increase processing speeds by processing data close to the devices it comes from and the users that need it. This improves productivity and collaboration, giving an overall boost to operational efficiency.
Here are a few examples of different ways industries are using this technology:
- Finance. Faster cybersecurity threat detection.
- Manufacturing. Real-time detection of issues with assembly line equipment.
- Construction. Artificial reality and virtual reality used to preview changes before demolition.
- Supply chain. Smart assistants ensuring the correct items have been selected for each delivery.
And, here are a few ways EC can be used in every industry:
- Working alongside Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G to provide comprehensive insights that were previously unheard of in areas such as remote monitoring, factory floor automation, and predictive maintenance for network infrastructure and physical equipment.
- Supporting quantum computing, especially in the fields of medicine, science and cybersecurity.
- Decreasing storage needs and operational costs by only sending pertinent information to the cloud.
- Working toward an “always connected environment” where there are no handoffs but only constant connectivity for everything from main floors to stairways and basements.
The importance of the WiFi network
EC depends on two things -- a reliable network connection for all edge platforms and a constant influx of data from all other connected devices. This underscores the need for an optimized WiFi network, one that supports all devices and technologies to the best of its ability, regardless of the circumstances.
In today’s fast-paced, complex WiFi environment, where networks are responsible for hundreds or even thousands of connected devices, the easiest way to achieve optimization is through the use of a WiFi Automation platform. These platforms automate the WiFi monitoring and analytics process, performing real-time computations on thousands of data packets a second, something impossible for the human members of your team. Just as edge platforms improve operational efficiency by providing real-time business insights, WiFi automation platforms provide real-time network insights, ensuring that the networks supporting EC are problem free.
To be sure that your network is optimized and that you are getting the best ROI from all infrastructure, smart sensors and edge platforms, you need to have:
- Complete visibility and proactive alerts
- Remote control
- End user device testing
- Historical analytics
Here are some reasons why:
Complete visibility and proactive alerts
The best insights come when information from all sources is synthesized and used to inform decision making. In the world of technology, this is only possible if all pieces of the network maintain a strong network connection and work as intended.
If they are to confidently provide this work environment, IT teams require visibility into backend and frontend infrastructure, connected devices, software, non-WiFi devices like microwaves and Bluetooth that can affect the network, and interference from any nearby networks. In other words, they require complete visibility into the entire RF ecosystem.
This is because your WiFi network exists within this ecosystem, and the entire system is dynamic. When users move around a building, when devices connect and disconnect, when a new company moves in on the floor above you, when all your printers are replaced with smart printers - the network changes. Sometimes changes have no ripple effects, other times issues occur. The only way to know for sure is with complete visibility, and the best way to utilize that complete visibility is to pair it with proactive alerts.
Proactive alerts are possible when a WiFi Automation platform uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to learn to recognize normal and abnormal network behavior. With this intelligence, the platform can automatically alert IT to any changes in behavior, allowing IT to review and resolve any issues, oftentimes before end users are ever affected.
As an example, if there’s a problem with the IoT sensors on a certain piece of equipment in a manufacturing plant, the edge platform responsible for analyzing data and providing critical insights isn’t going to have the information that it needs to best inform decision makers. Rather than waiting for IT to be manually alerted to an issue by end users, losing who knows how many minutes or hours of data, work with an automation platform to get alerts almost instantaneously and resolve issues faster than ever.
Oftentimes, IT teams are responsible for maintaining networks in various places. This covers everything from maintaining facilities in the same city, to overseeing plants and offices in multiple countries. When an issue strikes, teams without remote network access are often forced to travel onsite, and networks remain unoptimized for however long the journey takes. This is less than ideal.
The solution is to provide IT with remote access to the network, enabling them to troubleshoot and resolve issues from any location at any time.
End-user device testing
Rather than requiring IT to individually test all end user devices, this is instead a recommendation to work with an Automation platform that will connect to the network as if it’s an end user device before running network tests. This ensures that all test results match the experience of end users.
The platform should also automatically update IT with test results, keeping alive the proactive environment needed for the most efficient optimization.
Use historical data to easily review trends over time in key areas of network health and performance. This information helps administrators design cost-effective and personalized plans for network upgrades and updates, future-proofing the network for the next few years.
The best way to support edge computing
Actionable intelligence is the name of the game, and that intelligence must come from every level of a business - from its physical operations to its digital analytics. As businesses turn to edge computing for faster data insights, optimized networks become a critical foundation for success. Look to WiFi sutomation platforms for proactive, future-proofed insights that support improved operational efficiency across the board.