computing at the forefront

Poor sale in retail

IDC predicts that by 2023, there will be more than 50% of new enterprise IT infrastructure Scattered will be on the edge Instead of enterprise data centers, up from less than 10% in 2020. By 2024, the number of applications on the edge will increase by 800%. This growth is being driven by a range of industries: edge computing enables innovations in retail, healthcare, and manufacturing. For example, retailers can deploy video analytics technologies on an advanced computing node, or piece of hardware with storage and networking capabilities, located near their store locations, enabling them to predict theft.

“The video analytics system runs on the edge, analyzing customer movements to detect behaviors that predict theft in real time,” says Paul Savile, Senior Vice President of Product Management, an unsuitable workload for a public cloud for reasons of speed, cost, and service at technology company Lumen, which offers Sophisticated computing platform. There is no need to spread edge computing in every retail location. “From a single central node in a single market area, say, the size of Denver, edge computing can serve multiple retail locations within five milliseconds,” Savile says.

There can be concerns about consumer privacy when it comes to analytics that identify certain behaviors. But with the right practices, such as anonymity, this type of app can be an important tool in the arsenal as many retailers, grappling with the shutdowns and restrictions following the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, are struggling to find ways to operate profitably.

“From a single central node in a single market area, say, the size of Denver, edge computing can serve multiple retail locations within five milliseconds.”

Paul Saville, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Lumen

A massive US retailer, with 2019 revenue of $16.4 billion, Gap was an early user of edge computing. One of the biggest use cases for edge is in cash registers or other points of sale at more than 2,500 retail stores, where millions of transactions are processed. Sophisticated computing allows Gap to obtain nearly a second of data on sales performance. And during the pandemic, Edge is helping the retailer keep track of the number of people in its stores.

says Shivkumar Krishnan, Gap’s Head of Stores Engineering, referring to regulations designed to curb the spread of the deadly disease. “So, to ensure that capacity was not overrun, we had to make sure that we were measuring occupancy almost in real time.”

Processing data on the edge node eliminates the many points of failure that exist from the store to the cloud, according to Krishnan, everything from switches, routers, communications circuits, and the cloud providers themselves. The edge gives the retailer the full ability to process all transactions in any store, and they only move to the cloud if the edge fails. Krishnan can remotely monitor and manage most of the retailer’s 100,000+ devices used for sales and other store operations.

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