The accelerating growth of edge computing in the Philippines

Published April 8, 2021, 6:00 AM

by Len Amadora

In the recently concluded Digital Week: Southeast Asia organized by W. Media, Schneider Electric presented the research highlighting the accelerated growth trend of edge computing in the Philippines.

Simply defined, edge computing brings the computing and processing power closer to the end user. Edge computing reduces latency to deliver the speed and agility required by advanced digital applications. Through edge computing, businesses are able to deploy applications that utilize the internet of things to improve customer experience and operational efficiency, as well as develop new revenue streams. Steven Cheng, Director of Edge Computing and Ecommerce at Schneider Electric explains that the need for edge computing is becoming greater, as more people are becoming connected. 

“According to the International Data Corporation, the overall trend is that everyone is digitizing, with 80 billion connected devices by 2025, helping generate 180 trillion gigabytes of new data per year,” Cheng explains. “Business spending on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation technologies will see explosive growth over the next few years. According to research by KPMG, enterprises will spend US$232 billion on these technologies by 2025, compared to just US$12.4 billion back in 2018.”

The speed of digitization trends presents an opportunity for greater adoption for edge computing and hybrid IT deployments. “We know that the use of cloud computing by enterprises will continue to grow, but we also see greater dependence to remain on-premise, at the ‘edge,’” he adds.

IT professionals highlight edge computing as their most urgent priority 

Schneider Electric surveyed more than 100 IT professionals in the Philippines to determine the state of edge computing in the country. Among IT professionals surveyed, 17 percent listed edge computing as the most urgent priority for their organizations. Meanwhile, 42 percent of IT professionals surveyed are familiar with edge computing and have multiple edge sites. The top industries that have adopted edge computing in the country include banking and finance, education, business process outsourcing, healthcare, and retail.

The same survey also found that the median today is five edge sites. Schneider Electric expects this to become nine sites in the next 24 months, with up to 34 percent more adopters. Moreover, early adopters of edge computing in the Philippines have already seen benefits, reporting a reduction in IT costs by 10 percent and an improvement in customer experience by 10percent.

Cheng points out that limitations of the cloud make it necessary for parts or all of the computing architecture to be local to meet the demand for real-time data, ensuring increased processing speeds, providing location accuracy, and enhancing overall customer experience. He further adds there are five imperatives that are driving edge computing, which are: latency or the time of response, which ideally should be less than 100 millisecond; security and privacy, ensuring that data being collected is protected while complying with regulatory requirements; bandwidth, or the ability to handle massive data streams and interpret them locally to the client or users; interactivity, supporting experiences such as virtual reality or augmented reality; and autonomy, which means the ability to be monitored remotely.

“When we look at these requirements, it’s not surprising that bringing the computing closer to the user is the best approach to bridge limitations, so local edge is the big focus today,” Cheng says. 

Cheng also describes how innovations in edge computing are applicable across multiple industries. For example, edge computing plays a big role in retail for purchasing via self-checkout counters, monitoring fridge temperatures, and employing virtual reality or augmented reality to enhance the customer experience. Edge computing can also provide real-time data for manufacturers on managing robots in the production process, detecting safety hazards in real-time, and providing input on product quality to relay instructions in upstream processes. 

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure simplifies edge management

In deploying edge computing across various industries, Schneider Electric has developed a complete portfolio to address various challenges, which may occur in various environments, including industrial and harsh outdoor environments, commercial and office environments, and the available space for IT environments.

“In an industrial environment, it may be a harsh environment with challenges such as temperature control, dust, and even the exposure to water. It may not have restricted access as well. In a commercial environment, the space may lack restricted access or noise restrictions. Finally, in some IT environments, these may just be traditional wiring closets or telecom rooms. Ensuring availability of adequate power and security will be of primary concern,” Cheng explains.

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure solution addresses these concerns, as the company has micro data centers and modular all-in-one data centers, depending on the edge environment, available space, physical security needed, and applications to be deployed. The company also provides best-in-class components that are configured into solutions, all of which are fully integrated and highly customizable.

Ultimately, all these are setting the stage of computing everywhere and everything. With greater digitization, companies should consider the advantages and possibilities presented by edge computing.