By Jamie White
The Edge Global Congress Event held in Austin, Texas brought together some of the best minds in technology, science, and finance from across the globe to focus on Edge computing for use cases throughout multiple industries. The Edge and 5G evolution is making our technological ability faster, smarter, & more efficient within many facets of our daily lives. With faster response time and more redundant, reliable technology, we will see things like autonomous cars, remote surgeries in the medical field, and smart cities that optimize street lights, traffic lights, and waste management to essentially reduce the carbon footprint on our environment. Those are mere examples of how the Edge will benefit us in the future according to industry professionals at the event.
While many benefits of the Edge are on the horizon, there are still many questions that are being considered and processes that are being defined by the TIA Working Group (Telecommunications Industry Association) such as, “Where are the Edge data centers going to be located? How big are these Edge data centers going to be? How are we going to rate them? What type of power and cooling are we going to have?” In the Edge Global Congress event discussion panel, Tom Craft (Director of Engineering at Metrocell Solutions, CommScope), Tom Widawsky (Principal-Tech at HCR), Allison Boen (Director at Immersion Edge), and Harry Smeenk (SVP Technology Programs at TIA) provided insight into their ideas so far with the acknowledgment that there is still plenty of room for additional professionals to provide their expertise in getting all of these things defined for the future of Edge technology.
As far as the question of where the Edge will exist and how it would be cooled, Allison Boen of Immersion Edge was the right person for that topic. Allison’s quote was a favorite of the event saying, “The Edge is everywhere and anywhere.” The Edge could be a car itself or it could be located at the top of a light pole where data is collected for security cameras. However, in order to have the Edge data center anywhere, it has to be cooled efficiently in an environment free from dust, heat, and other elements so that’s where immersion comes into place. By immersing the server into fluid (mineral oil or water), it is protected from the elements, cooled much more efficiently (saving money on electricity), and provides the density needed to decrease latency. Allison explained, “You must have the density to have that kind of latency and you cannot get the kind of density we’re talking about in a traditional air-cooled environment.” Another benefit of the Edge data centers, as discussed in the panel, is their range in size from small, medium, or large depending on the use case.
Mobile Edge Computing was also a panel discussion at the Edge Global Congress Event. Wireless networks enable companies to gather and share data from devices such as vehicles, sensors, and other connected objects. Geoff Hollingworth, CMO of MobiledgeX, spoke about the dynamic between carriers as it relates to Edge technology. Geoff pointed out that wireless carriers built infrastructure for themselves and now with the cloud, other people can benefit from it. In the situation of Edge technology, carriers will be forced to work together in order to provide the type of redundancy needed, especially in the scope of autonomous cars and emergency vehicle GPS. If one network went down, the other would pick it up to allow for zero downtime, particularly with emergency situations where an EMS vehicle would be locating the emergency site or a person in need of assistance.
Overall, the Edge Global Congress event provided insightful discussion panels, influential speakers, and a joining of professionals who are all dedicated to a more distributed IT environment inclusive of IoT, 5G, AI, autonomous cars, smart cities, micro-data centers and of course the Edge.
Community Manager at datacenterpost.com
Jamie White, University of Mississippi graduate, is an editor, writer, and previous Business Development Consultant with Rackspace Managed Hosting, as well as Dell Computer Corporation. Jamie also comes from an extensive multifaceted journalism background in her experience working with WMC and WREG television stations in Memphis, the Daily Mississippian newspaper in Mississippi, WOXD radio station in Oxford, MS, in addition to freelance ghostwriting in the technology field, and managing her own personal blog. Jamie’s strength is embracing, writing, and publishing the content that is the most compelling for readers. “At the heart of what is possible is innovation and imagination.” – Intel