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Role of Edge in reshaping India’s digital transformation journey

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India, the land of immense possibilities, especially in terms of demography, culture, and the kind of evolution it’s going through. The country with its soaring economy is an emerging manufacturing hub of the world and aims to become the third largest economy globally achieving the $5 trillion mark. Technology has a key role to play in achieving the benchmark and further pushing the developments. 

Tale of transformation: India’s digitalisation journey

India is the largest digitally connected democracy across the globe. The Government of India has been proactive in taking multiple measures to streamline technology adoption and make way for digital transformation in the country. From making most government offices paperless to rolling out the ‘Digital India’ initiative, from setting up the world’s largest database of unique identity authentication ‘Aadhaar’ to leading the way in digital payments with ‘Unified Payments Interface (UPI)’, and the most recent addition is the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, are simple examples of the enthusiastic pro-tech approach of the Government.

After the internet came into existence, cloud computing was considered a major turning point for governments and industries. And, looking at technology trends, it would not be wrong to call Edge the new hype from the IT world. 

Being future-ready with Edge

With the rollout of 5G in India, Edge got unleashed and proved its mettle in multiple use cases. Even moving ahead, as we gear up to be future-ready, Edge displays its relevance that will be driving the industries in the years to come. 

Vice President of Engineering at Honeywell Connected Enterprise, India, Praveen Shetty says, “As India embraces the transformative journey of digital evolution, the role of edge computing is paramount when it comes to speed, efficiency, and operations safety. Edge computing is revolutionising automation solutions, helping analyze the patterns and trends of IoT devices. Safeguarding edge and adapting to 5G network will be a top priority for future digital transformation.”

An exemplary take on Edge’s potential is to understand its use case in autonomous Vehicles. These automobiles are not as futuristic as they sound, as we’ve scaled enough in the technology space. To help such cars make the right decisions in real-time, ensure security, and extend a phenomenal user experience, Edge is the key. 

Another critical example could be from the healthcare sector – robotic surgery. In order to perform the medical procedure precisely and safely, the robot needs a proper and timely feed of insights from the real-time data collection and processing at the Edge data centres. At such a crucial moment, where a patient’s life is at stake, there’s no scope for neither mistakes nor delay. If the data collected were shared with the core data centre, which is normally located at a faraway location, for processing and analysis, it could drastically impact the entire procedure due to delayed insight feeds. 

Further use cases of Edge can be observed in multiple other critical areas like space sciences and satellite monitoring, national security, smart surveillance and monitoring, wearable healthcare devices, real-time disaster response, remote crowd management, smart cities, education, and so much more.

While sharing his vantage points on the subject, Sriraman Raghunathan, Digital Innovation and Strategy Principal, Marlabs outlines, “Edge computing brings computational power closer to the data source, reducing latency and enabling real-time decision-making. As India strives for comprehensive digital transformation, edge computing emerges as a powerful ally in overcoming infrastructure constraints, enabling real-time applications, enhancing IoT implementations, strengthening data security, and supporting decentralised energy infrastructure. Its key implications in India would be helping overcome infrastructural challenges by bridging the digital divide across rural India by providing localised processing power for faster response time and improved performance, enabling real-time applications for telemedicine, precision agriculture, smart classrooms, where timely decisions are critical, especially in rural India.” 

Complementing what Shetty said and adding his perspective on the subject, Raghunathan adds, “By harnessing the convergence of edge computing, 5G and hybrid cloud India can leapfrog into a digitally advanced era, ensuring that the benefits of technology reach all corners of the nation and contribute to inclusive and sustainable development.”

To portray a more security-centric perspective on Edge, the Director for Solutions Engineering at NetApp India, Shuja Mirza underlines, “Edge computing has a dual impact on cybersecurity. Processing data closer to the source can enhance security by reducing the attack surface, but the distributed nature introduces complexities and potential vulnerabilities. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures across the edge infrastructure is crucial for a secure computing environment, irrespective of the specific solution.”

“Edge computing solutions redefine data accessibility, benefiting both service providers and citizens of India… By distributing computing resources across the network edge, the system becomes more resilient. In a country as vast and diverse as India, with varying levels of infrastructure development, this is crucial. Edge computing allows for localised data processing, reducing the impact of network failures, and ensuring services remain accessible even in challenging conditions,” he adds.

Meanwhile, supporting Mirza’s take, Vaibhav Tare, Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Fulcrum Digital says, “Edge computing is poised to be a cornerstone of India’s digital transformation landscape. It helps in optimizing network bandwidth by processing data closer to the source. This is particularly beneficial in a country like India that has a large population, and where network congestion can be a challenge. By offloading processing tasks to the edge, unnecessary data traffic on the central network is reduced, resulting in a more efficient use of available bandwidth.”

Further, Tare in his vantage point on cybersecurity in Edge highlights, “Edge computing introduces both opportunities and challenges for cybersecurity. On one hand, encryption at the source enhances data security. While on the other, decentralisation complexity, resource constraints in edge devices, and interconnected ecosystems pose certain challenges.”

Conclusion

Edge is a promising technology that certainly holds the potential to be the next turning point in industrial and IT development. With its distributed architecture closer to the source and flexibility, Edge can be a game-changer in transforming business processes across industries. However, when it comes to cybersecurity, the technology seems to have complexities, and hence, organisations need to adopt a comprehensive security solution and framework.

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