Is edge computing about to revolutionise supply chain operations

A technology expert predicts that a powerful new tool promises to add a revolutionary new…...

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A technology expert predicts that a powerful new tool promises to add a revolutionary new dimension to procurement transformation: edge computing. Writing in Supply Chain Brain, Chief Technology Officer, Neeraj Murarka, who specialises in edge computing, explains that when combined with the digital distributed ledger blockchain, it may shortly be about to circumvent many of the vulnerabilities that plague supply chains today and improve supply chain operations, including supply relationship management.

Edge computing processes and analyses data along a network ‘edge’ close to the data sources. It distributes the power of a cloud-based data centre across multiple mini data centres, each of which is run locally, serving connected devices in its vicinity.

Murarka gives the example of an oil rig at sea – a typical sea-based rig gathers operational data from dozens of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Each device in a cloud network must send its data to a data centre on the mainland, a process leading to significant delay and using huge amounts of bandwidth and computational power as it inevitably involves the transfer of superfluous data. If the rig ran its own node, to collect, store, and process data before feeding it back to the mainland data centre, it would bring major improvements as the sensors connected to the rig’s server would not suffer from downtime or the congestion problems affecting the rest of the network, as is now the case.

Murarka writes: “In this manner, edge computing greatly enhances the scalability of current infrastructure. One could envision a near future wherein every business or organization runs its own compact data centre, massively reducing the strain on the main data centres, and neutralizing the threat of a single point of failure.” It will, he believes, support the long-dreamt-of marriage of supply chains and blockchains, eradicating a multitude of vulnerabilities. He believes it will soon be “turbocharging the potential of data systems across a myriad of sectors.”

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