2 in 5 firms doubt whether edge could deliver promise

Nearly 40% of businesses planning edge deployments are concerned that current infrastructure capabilities won’t be able to support the promise of edge, even if two-thirds of enterprises investing in edge are solving real-world business challenges and more than four out of every five expect their dependency on third-party edge services to grow over the next two years.

This is according to the 2023 Edge Advantage Report from NTT.

Findings show that enterprises around the world are discovering the edge advantage, benefitting from digital technologies that accelerate data-driven decision making, secure physical and virtual assets, and control sustainably resilient operations. 

But while more than 80% of technology decision makers say their edge investment expectations have been met or exceeded, many fear that the rapid pace of technology evolution could cost them in the long term.

Current adopters see the fragmented management of compute, connectivity and IoT devices as a hindrance to realising the potential of edge. 

As such, those organisations that are combining private 5G and edge technologies report the highest benefits over enterprises who have adopted a legacy segregated approach, or none at all.

The report also revealed that though most organisations believe their network infrastructure can handle their current edge requirements, almost 40% of enterprises planning edge deployments acknowledge a need to upgrade their network in order to support the expected spike in connected devices and applications. Nearly two-thirds of enterprises that already deployed edge have coordinated a wide area network refresh.

In light of this, many organisations are planning to turn to partners to help them on their edge journey. So much so that 88% believe their organisation’s dependency on third-party edge services will grow in the next 24 months.

Among respondents, 90% prefer to consume edge services from a single partner that offers a central point of accountability and 94% declaring that “having more managed service options” is a top factor in making edge consumption easier.

“The growing need for faster processing and a distributed digital architecture is creating increased pressure on networks and infrastructure capabilities, driving both accelerated adoption of private 5G and edge,” said Shahid Ahmed, EVP on new ventures and innovation at NTT. 

“Achieving the edge advantage will require end-to-end solutions with holistic management and uncompromising accountability,” said Ahmed. “Only through utilising these solutions can enterprises gain instant access to data, where it is generated or collected, with near zero latency, and harness it to drive powerful business outcomes.”

The top reasons to deploy edge solutions include increasing employee safety, experience, and efficiency (79%), streamlining/digitising business processes (76%), improving customer experience/anticipating customer needs (74%), and increase use of data insights for decision-making (72%).

According to organisations that have already deployed edge, the top reasons to invest are to automate and integrate AI into business processes, and to gain real-time access to data. 

But achieving these objectives is a formidable challenge because they require tight orchestration of hardware, platforms, systems and devices, consistent operational performance without compromising security, and overcoming legacy infrastructure and technical debt.