It’s no secret that applications and machines are becoming more interconnected, enabling the exchange of business-critical data. So, what does this mean for the Industrial Automation industry, where much of this data is generated at the Edge and away from traditional IT resources? When it comes to IIoT – is now the time to focus on the edge? ARC Advisory Group released a market report asking this question and more. Their research uncovered the acceptance of IIoT and Edge concepts, reasons for embracing the Edge, and how to plan for the Edge.
IIoT and Edge Acceptance
Through the data received in the ARC survey, respondents support the use of robust and capable edge devices to enable real-time decision making. They see the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) as an extension of the edge – taking shape of industrial devices, machines, controllers and sensors to gather and analyze data.
Interestingly, 60% still plan to use the hybrid approach when it comes to making future investments in cloud and edge. So, while edge computing often presents itself as an intriguing opportunity, many people are making a balance.
This tells us that this mix of edge and cloud-based technologies will be the foundation for the future automation infrastructure.
Reasons for Embracing the Edge
Respondents were asked about infrastructure and operational issues that drive their interest in edge solution deployment. It was found that many responses involved operational concerns centering around asset reliability and process efficiency. Research uncovered the top three needs driving organizations’ plans to deploy systems and connectivity at the edge:
- Analyzing and controlling devices
- Reduced data security risks
- Improved process speed/reduced latency issues
These operational factors “overlay nicely with user’s perceptions of the benefits of edge computing as enabling faster, better decisions at the production level, and translating that into action,” says ARC.
Planning for the Industrial Edge
When asked about future plans to implement edge computing and analytics, it was revealed:
- A majority expect to be in fact-finding mode over the next year
- Slightly over a third will be investigating the feasibility of the edge for their organization or selecting potential technology providers
- Another third expects to be conducting a pilot program during the next year
The majority of those respondents also revealed that they envision sourcing new skills or personnel within the org to leverage edge analytic solutions. In addition, they expect that the responsibility for the edge will be shared between IT and OT departments, reflecting an overall trend toward IT/OT convergence.