The channel to benefit from the $4.6 billion APAC edge opportunity

Edge computing is set to become a major focus for enterprises across the world, and the Asia-Pacific region will be one of the leaders in capitalising on the opportunity. According to data by GlobalData, the overall market for edge will lift to US$17.8 billion by 2025 – a CAGR of 15.6 per cent – and APAC will account for 26.4 per cent of spending.

Edge computing is principally a solution to data challenges in modern enterprise. When an enterprise is looking to deal with large sets of data in real time, or enable a remote site to operate autonomously, the link between the premises and the cloud can introduce latency into the data processing and result in a less-than-ideal outcome on site.

In a release, Principal Analyst at GlobalData, Chris Drake, said of the opportunity provided by edge: “the proliferation of products, services and solutions for edge computing is being driven by an interest in edge computing’s potential to enable a plethora of new applications. These include applications that leverage large amounts of data, and those that depend on real-time data processing capabilities, such as autonomous, driverless vehicles and virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR, AR, XR) applications.”

The types of edge

According to Vertiv, there are four “archetypes,” or reasons that businesses are turning to edge deployments. These are:

1) Data Intensive: When the amount of data involved in a project is so large that transferring it over the network to cloud systems would be impractical.

2) Human-Latency Sensitive: When any delay in the delivery of data would have an adverse effect on a user’s experience. This could be the use of augmented reality (where a user expects a real-time response to their actions), natural language processing, or smart retail, where the retail space and business responds directly to a consumer’s behaviour. With any delay in the data in these circumstances, the user can be “lost”.

3) Machine-to-Machine Latency Sensitive: This applies to machine learning and AI applications. Machines can process data much more quickly than humans, and so the consequences for slow delivery are high. Edge computing deployments can mitigate against that challenge.

4) Life Critical: Perhaps the most vital edge deployments of all, life critical applications need ultra-low latency and uninterrupted availability, otherwise the health of human beings is put at risk. Think about a self-driving car and how the tiniest delay in receiving and acting on instructions could cause a major accident. To mitigate this, most businesses will look to the edge, rather than the cloud, to run life critical applications.

Despite the interest (and need) to embrace the edge, enterprises do grapple with several key challenges that edge environments create. Most significantly, these include latency, security and availability. Of those security, is, as with all of IT, the biggest risk that needs to be managed. There are, however, solutions, according to Vertiv “For edge sites, both physical and data security must be considered. By distributing IT resources, edge computing complicates data security management,” Daniel Sim, senior director for channel business at Vertiv in Asia said.

“Integrated systems, in which all infrastructure is installed in racks or enclosures at the site, generally provide this level of physical security and can also be configured with sensors that generate alerts when the door is opened by unauthorized personnel.

“Integrated systems also address availability concerns by ensuring power protection, power distribution, thermal management, and monitoring systems are matched to application requirements. They can even reduce latency by enabling IT to be deployed in environments not designed for it. These systems have the added benefit of reducing deployment times by eliminating the need to ‘build’ systems on site.”

While this is a solution to the security (and other challenges) facing edge deployments, taking the integrated approach also relies on a great deal of architecting, deployment and management capabilities. For this reason, edge computing is, by necessity, a channel-driven project, and only the channel has the ability to take the necessarily holistic approach to deployments.

Bringing edge to the channel

To help facilitate the channel in engaging with their customers for the edge, Vertiv has build a robust partner program across the APAC region – one that it continues to refine to meet the needs of the market.

For example, in 2021, the company took steps to simplify and streamline how channel organisations interact with it, while also launching an e-commerce program for both B2B and B2C customers.

“We’ve seen a strong demand in the channel space throughout the region as the pandemic has shifted our focus towards strengthening and enhancing the edge computing space. At Vertiv, we’ve adopted a channel-first strategy where our goal is to improve the buyer experience and ensure ease of doing business with us. We do this by equipping our valued partners with the tools to help them succeed,” Vertiv’s Sim said at the time.

Tailored solutions are key to successful edge deployments, as the edge is always a solution to a very specific business challenge. To support their customers, the channel benefits from partnering with a distributor that has access to a broad suite of leading technologies that they can use to build these solutions.

To learn more about or to sign up to the Vertiv Partner Program, visit Partners.Vertiv.com.