OT and IT Edge Convergence and the Emergence of the Edge Marketplace
To win the edge ecosystem game, it will take a village approach. Edge is no longer a linear value chain, going from step to step. An emerging circular value chain, with an open and extendable platform in its center and edge-optimized hardware, software, solutions, and system integration is gluing everything together. Frost & Sullivan’s Muthuraman “RAM” Ramasamy unpacks this technology innovation occurring in the edge marketplace with Intel’s Ricky Watts.
The edge ecosystem is a fluid compute environment consisting of many partners who build all the applications and services of the edge infrastructure. Watts notes:
“Data is coming off devices, machines, in the manufacturing environment, manufacturing execution systems, SCADA systems, fixed-function appliances; data exists everywhere and is being accessed in that compute environment. That takes connectivity.”
This fusion of OT and IT systems enables manufacturers to run and create outcomes. From here, creating data marketplaces fosters an environment where large-scale manufacturers can share information, applications, and algorithmsIntel plays a critical role in the glue of the edge ecosystem, converging OT and IT systems together. Watts sees many things happening in the edge ecosystem over the next several years.
“It’s really bringing those capabilities together, not just at the silicon layer, but within the software layer, and then working with a very strong ecosystem of partners in that space to enable those solutions for those end customers.”
Because operational systems, by their nature, possess challenges going through this type of transformation, Watts says focusing on actions that create bottom-line efficiencies is a good tip-off point to provide immediate value.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of focus around the AI piece and how we get AI validated at intelligent and accessible bio in that environment, and then we’ll start to see the movement into the operational domains as we go forward.”
Critical to the success of edge solutions is scalability, and Watts admits that is the challenge manufacturers face in their environments today.
“At a single use case, you can quickly see a way of doing something to improve an outcome. How do you then scale that across a large environment, a large manufacturer? Some of those are things we are doing, which is how to scale these activities.”
Intel and its partner ecosystem aim to create solutions to build up and scale an entire environment. Intel is currently working with several large manufacturers on retooling their environments at scale.