Why the Edge and AI Make a Good Partnership in Smarter Computing

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The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its continued proliferation has seen the technology changing the functionality of computers by making them infinitely smarter and adept at meeting our daily requirements.

A recent article by Scientific American provides examples of where AI can deliver solutions to issues such as the world’s current nickel shortage. Through AI, says the article, four alternative materials were identified that could replace nickel – undoubtedly a significant discovery.

However, for the world to harness the full potential of AI, ensuring its outcomes remain relevant — data and the computation and transmission thereof are crucial. Organisational decision-makers must ensure that data complexity and data silos are mitigated, and the right tools or platforms are in place before deploying AI.

Edge Computing Pushes AI to Do More

A fundamental part of fully utilising AI is the space where data processing occurs. Findings from IBM’s Global AI Adoption Index 2021 demonstrated that almost 90% of IT professionals believe data location is critical to the resultant success of AI projects.

This is where edge computing’s importance becomes evident. AI requires a robust edge data centre that focuses on keeping data on location for faster processing, higher security, and more efficient performance.

Edge computing offers much-needed speed for organisations that can be burdened with large volumes of raw data from AI. Processing is done on-site while the system’s speed allows for a timely output of the analysis. Latency is reduced significantly, allowing for real-time decision-making.

In an industrial or large-scale edge computing setting, the availability of real-time decision-making saves money, and effort and mitigates potential unplanned downtime. Accurate data also gives industrial players the ability to predict machine failures and implement predictive maintenance without disrupting the production capabilities – a major plus.

Ultimately, combined with the edge, AI can unlock new possibilities; enabling businesses to interact with their customers prolifically and accurately.

The combined power of AI and edge computing leads to:

  • Faster computing and insights.
  • Improved data security,
  • More efficient control over operations.

The future is fused

AI, already optimised by edge functionalities, will in the near receive a further boost with the ongoing global 5G rollout and quantum computing technologies, a rapidly emerging technology that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers.

It boggles the mind – the fusing, the ultra-high-speed, superconducting quantum processors, large bandwidth, and enhanced connectivity with the accessibility, scalability, and intelligence of edge computing as well as the accuracy and predictability offered by AI.

And in a real-life scenario, organisations will have a greater ability to respond to customer demands with actionable insights and focus on immediate value creation.


By George Senzere, solutions architect: Secure Power at Schneider Electric

Edited by Zintle Nkohla

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