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Chris Arkenberg
Naima Hoque Essing
Sanket S. Nesargi
Jeff Loucks

All of the pieces needed to realize these visions appear to be falling into place. Computation is cheap, powerful, and small. Sensors are ubiquitous. Networks are becoming faster and more specialized. Artificial intelligence (AI) has moved beyond hype into broad application, powered by specialized semiconductors.

As these components mature and converge, another big shift in technology is underway. The intelligent edge combines computing power, AI technology, data analytics, and advanced connectivity to quickly act on data much closer to where it is captured. Cloud capabilities—led by hyperscale cloud companies, IT companies, and telecoms—are expanding from data centers out to the edge of networks where more use cases benefit from rapid and intelligent responses to incoming data.

And the edge is becoming central, as businesses across all industries face ever-greater amounts of data, more complex operations, and more dynamic markets. Whether from customers, products, or embedded sensors, real-time data places more demands on businesses to be sensing and responsive. The ability to leverage data quickly and effectively can drive operational efficiencies and competitive advantages. Hyperscalers, IT companies, and connectivity providers are moving to meet business needs with edge computing and intelligence.

Timeliness, connectivity, security

Businesses can enable greater efficiencies and valuable new use cases by leveraging the key capabilities of the intelligent edge:1

  • More efficient use of bandwidth and greater network visibility
  • Resiliency against poor, unreliable, and lost connectivity
  • Support for low-latency use cases and fast response times
  • Greater automation and autonomy
  • More control over data triage, normalization, residency, and privacy

Reducing the distance between where data is captured and processed not only alleviates internet traffic and associated transit costs—it can improve latency, bandwidth utilization, and infrastructure costs. The intelligent edge can also deliver greater visibility into network conditions and an awareness of the operating environment. If connectivity to the core is lost, or if wide area networks (WANs) are unreliable, edge operations can continue and then reconnect when resources are available, without losing data consistency.

  1. Beena Ammanath, David Jarvis, and Susanne Hupfer, Thriving in the era of pervasive AI: Deloitte’s State of AI in the Enterprise, 3rd Edition, Deloitte Insights, July 14, 2020.

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  2. Duncan Stewart et al., Bringing AI to the device: Edge AI chips come into their own, Deloitte Insights, December 9, 2019.

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  3. Ken Carroll and Mahesh Chandramouli, Scaling IoT to meet enterprise needs, Deloitte Insights, June 20, 2019.

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  4. Jennifer Deutsch et al., Taking tax to the cloud: Why leading businesses are putting tax at the center of the ERP cloud migration, Deloitte Insights, June 15, 2020.

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  5. Dan Littmann et al., Enterprises building their future with 5G and Wi-Fi 6: Deloitte’s Study on Advanced Wireless, Deloitte Insights, June 1, 2020.

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