Edge computing and IoT are helping companies cook the perfect potato chip and more

Edge computing and IoT are letting manufacturers improve quality control and retailers create individualized shopping experiences.

The future of edge computing and facial recognition

At Schneider Electric's 2018 Innovation Summit North America, Steven Carlini, vice president of innovation and data centers for the IT division of Schneider Electric, spoke with TechRepublic Senior Writer Teena Maddox about innovative edge computing applications. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

IoT, edge computing, and video analytics are improving manufacturing quality control

Steven Carlini: So as computing, at Schneider Electric, we've been very, very involved in IoT [Internet of Things] applications for edge. We didn't use to call them edge, but they are actually what we're calling edge applications right now. Pipeline management has always been one. We have a micro data center every 20 miles of a pipeline, and it's monitoring and managing things like flow rates, and monitoring for leaks and things like that.

We're also seeing integrated video analytics. And integrated video analytics, because of the resolution of cameras now, can be used to do quality control in manufacturing operations. So things like potato chip factories, instead of actually taking a potato chip and testing it to see if it has the salt and the right texture and the right cooking temperature, what they'll do is they'll video as the potato chips are coming down the line. They'll be able to tell the salt content, whether they're being overcooked or undercooked, and sending information upstream in the manufacturing process in real time.

We're doing the same thing with cement manufacturing. Integrated video analytics are being used as quality control.

Facial recognition has moved beyond public safety and into retail

Steven Carlini: Another integrated video analytics (IVA) application we're seeing is facial recognition. Initially facial recognition was used in stadiums, museums, tourist attractions, to keep the bad people out.

We're seeing a different application now. We're seeing it used in high-end retail. For people walking into a high-end retail, they'll know exactly who you are. They'll pull up your shopping history. They'll tailor the shopping experience to you based on your face.

You're also going to see things like hotel check-in being based on just your facial recognition as you walk into the lobby, so the world of IVA and facial recognition is just going to dramatically change your lifestyle in the future, and it's all going to be powered by having an edge computing device that has the local cache of all the information that you're going to need.

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Steven Carlini, vice president of innovation and data centers for the IT division of Schneider Electric, at the company's 2018 Innovation Summit North America

TechRepublic / Teena Maddox