Cloud

Beyond edge computing: Digital business forcing infrastructure further past the cloud

The rise of digital touchpoint services beyond the edge will redefine infrastructure services, according to Gartner.

Rising digital business initiatives are forcing infrastructure service providers to expand offerings beyond edge computing technologies to deliver digital touchpoint services, according to a Monday report from Gartner.

Digital touchpoints refer to any interaction with a digital device, product or service, Gartner noted. For example, a digital touchpoint could be when a consumer books a flight online, wears a fitness tracker, or has a Q&A session with a chatbot.

By 2021, 65% of global infrastructure service providers will generate 55% of their revenue through edge-related services that help customers create business interactions at digital touchpoints, Gartner predicts.

SEE: IT leader's guide to edge computing (Tech Pro Research)

"Creating business moments at digital touchpoints is the new scalable way of engaging with customers," Rene Buest, senior research director at Gartner, said in a press release. "Infrastructure service providers that fail to embrace this development will lack a presence at digital touchpoints and struggle to interact closely with customers."

The massive increase in smart devices and human-machine interfaces is moving more computing resources to the edge, in support of digital touchpoints, according to Gartner. More organizations are also looking to the edge for better customer engagement, with changes in this space coming quickly. Some 27% of organizations are already planning to use edge computing in their infrastructure strategy, according to a Gartner survey, and by the end of 2019, 70% said they expect edge computing to become relevant to their infrastructure plan.

But what about the cloud? According to Gartner, while the cloud provides the digital business foundation for agile infrastructures and technology back-ends, digital project demands at digital touchpoints include real-time decision making and interactions, growth in data produced, autonomy, and enhanced security and privacy. Because of this, computer storage and services need to be located physically closer to people, with services being delivered at the edge.

SEE: FAQ: What Arm servers on AWS mean for your cloud and data center strategy (TechRepublic)

By 2022, half of large organizations will integrate edge computing principles into their projects, Gartner predicts, due in large part to massive growth in the Internet of Things (IoT).

"This enormous growth will need to be backed by reliable end-to-end infrastructure environments that support proximity, and that ensure low latency, high bandwidth, autonomy and privacy," Buest said in the release. "The cloud is no longer enough. Infrastructure service providers must exploit this growth by extending services beyond the edge in support of digital touchpoints."

Digital touchpoint services may include infrastructure management, integration, security, and data management and governance, Gartner noted.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Digital business initiatives are forcing infrastructure service providers to expand offerings beyond edge computing technologies to deliver digital touchpoint services. — Gartner, 2018
  • By 2021, 65% of global infrastructure service providers will generate 55% of their revenue through edge-related services that help customers create business interactions at digital touchpoints. — Gartner, 2018

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Image: iStockphoto/metamorworks

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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