Edge, a buzz or reality?

The world is changing at an ever-increasing rate. Everyone is agreed on this. COVID-19 has brought about a digital acceleration in the short term. The volume of data is currently growing exponentially. Edge data centres play an important role in optimising user experience and efficiency.



The definition of edge is that the data centre is closer to the source and users of the data. Here is an example to make this more understandable. A self-driving car is controlled via data coming from edge data centres spread across its territory. After all, self-driving cars very quickly exchange large amounts of data with each other and with the traffic infrastructure, requiring an immediate decision and response. It is therefore necessary for the data to be processed and fed back close to the source. This is one of the applications of edge data centres.

They collect data and, if necessary, process it, and then send it - whether or not via other data centres along the route - to a central data centre where data is collected across the entire region. At the same time, the edge data centre passes on data from a central data centre to local users. It is therefore two-way traffic.

Some important developments in which edge data centres play a role

Teleworking
The fact that many employers and employees have now made the move to teleworking is a ray of hope in the whole COVID-19 story. However, this also means that fast connections in the offices of companies and organisations are no longer sufficient. People need a fast connection at home and on the road to be able to collaborate on centrally available documents, videos and data. Also, to be able to hold online meetings where people can see each other very clearly and do not have to miss out on body language because of the lack of bandwidth and fast data traffic. Data centres are the nodes of telecom connections; the shared files and data must be made available to everyone. So edge data centres play an important role in facilitating efficient teleworking.

Shared applications
There are many applications and data in the cloud. Just think of office software, CRMs, ERPs, and other commonly used applications. These applications need to be made available to users. And today the users are ... at home! So edge data centres are needed to ensure that the larger and smaller cloud software platforms are accessible from anywhere, at any time.

Internet of Things (IoT)
It is currently estimated that between 20.4 billion and 31 billion devices worldwide are connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). It is predicted that by 2025 some 75 billion phones will be connected worldwide. This means that the number of connected devices would triple by 2025.

There are many applications involved. For example:
  • monitoring the development of coronary patients who are ill at home;
  • the Predictable Maintenance Process (PMP), or the (preventive) maintenance of, for example, industrial machines, which send out signals that were previously shown to be indicators of failure;
  • the Smart Watch, which is not smart without up-to-date data;
  • Smart Cities, in which, for example, data from traffic lights are collected and fed back in order to optimise throughput and save everyone time;
  • the surgeon who performs an operation remotely via a robot on site, giving, for example, developing countries access to the most relevant specialists worldwide. The robot is connected and should be able to receive and send signals.
Streaming services and other audio and video data streams
This content must also be delivered to the users. Soon we will have our own Flemish streaming service. Flemish people abroad will also want to use it, surely? The content will be replicated from one place to another. After all, latency, or the delay in the delivery of the data, causes interruptions for the user. And what is more important today for suppliers in this competitive business than the user experience? You guessed it: edge data centres at central points around the world need to replicate data flows and bring them to as many users as possible.

Fast connections are fundamental to every data centre in the performance of its role

5G is indispensable for a number of developments today. The edge data centre can be:
  • a box or container on the pavement or in a building (LCL is available, check!);
  • a link within a network of data centres; LCL has four, which enables us to cover the entire country very nicely (LCL is connected, check!);
  • a central point for the collection and processing of data, in the centre of Europe. At the centre of the world even, for companies with a local presence here (LCL is reliable, check!).
We can safely assume that the end user - you and I - wants smooth content management without delays. The same applies here: the denser the content, the better the user experience. Because LCL likes to think in collaboration with its customers, edge data centres are a solution that we fully support. In this way, we contribute to the success of our customers.