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Embracing the Intelligent Edge

Enterprises that not only survive but thrive in the future increasingly will analyze and act on data from devices on the edge of networks, HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri predicts.

Enterprises that not only survive but thrive in the future increasingly will analyze and act on data from devices on the edge of networks, predicts Hewlett Packard Enterprise President and CEO Antonio Neri.

 "Our vision of the future has never been more clear," Neri said at the HPE Discover conference in Las Vegas. “We believe the enterprise of the future will be edge-centric, cloud-enabled, and data driven.”

Businesses that can act quickly on a “continuous” stream of edge-generated data will win in the marketplace, he added.

To demonstrate HPE’s commitment to Intelligent Edge computing, Neri announced on Tuesday a $4 billion, four-year investment in the technology. HPE’s investment will go toward research and development on technologies and services to drive Intelligence Edge computing forward, in areas including security, automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, he said.

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One current roadblock to HPE’s vision of the Intelligent Edge is the glut of data that businesses already collect through sensors, Internet of Things (IoT) connections, smartphones, and other devices, Neri noted. About 94 percent of data generated on the edge is now untapped or lost.

Sharpening the vision

By 2022, about 75 percent of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed outside of the traditional data center or cloud, up from less than 10 percent in 2018, Neri said, citing Gartner projections.

That new data will come from edge devices, he predicted. Enterprises that capture that edge data, analyze it, and can act quickly on it will have a significant advantage over competitors. The Intelligent Edge will have a huge positive impact on the way people live and work, Neri said. Better analysis of edge-generated data will improve healthcare outcomes, enable better customer service, and create more efficient transportation systems.

The Intelligent Edge will also be entertaining. For example, smart stadiums will allow sports fans to feel as though they’re part of the action, with improved wireless services keeping them “on the edge of their seats,” Neri added.

Managing hybrid clouds

Another huge piece of the enterprise of the future will be cloud computing, with an increasing focus on hybrid clouds, Neri said. Hybrid clouds allow customization of cloud computing environments for every company, letting each decide which data and workloads should remain in-house and which should live on the public cloud.

HPE on Tuesday announced its GreenLake Hybrid Cloud management tool, designed to help customers manage and optimize their on- and off-premises clouds. HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud is an automated cloud operating model focused on allowing customers to use the exact cloud resources they need, the company said. Neri also promised the product would help cloud users improve performance, increase security, and reduce costs.

The data-driven, Intelligent Edge “revolution requires what we call an edge-to-cloud architecture,” Neri said. “A world with millions of clouds distributed everywhere—that’s the future as we see it.”

AI at the edge

Advancements in high-performance computing and artificial intelligence will help large organizations get to the Intelligent Edge future HPE envisions. As AI systems mature, they will help organizations make sense of all the edge data they now collect, Neri said.

AI development is still in its infancy, with AI systems mastering complex tasks like playing poker only in the past few years, noted Beena Ammanath, HPE's global vice president for big data, artificial intelligence, and innovation. While AI can excel at narrowly focused tasks, an AI with general intelligence is still years away, she said.

For example, a trained AI could probably beat anyone in the conference center in a game of chess, but “if this building were burning down, AI would continue to play chess, whereas you all would run out and try to escape the fire,” Ammanath noted.

Training more intelligent AI systems will take massive computing power, with the high-performance computing resources needed for companies to gain competitive advantages, added Dr. Eng Lim Goh, vice president and CTO for AI and high-performance computing at HPE.

Companies don’t want to take three months to train an AI system, Goh said: “Can I bring it down to a week? Can I bring it down to a day?”

Still, Ammanath said AI holds great promise for enterprises and their workforces. “I think AI is going to make us far better humans,” she said. “It’s going to take away the mundane, the boring, the routine tasks that we are forced to do, and actually enable us to be more creative.”

The new Intelligent Edge: Lessons for leaders

  • The enterprise of the future will collect, analyze, and act on data generated by edge devices.
  • Hybrid cloud computing will help companies make better use of their computing resources.
  • Advancements in artificial intelligence will help enterprises understand the massive amounts of edge data they collect.

This article/content was written by the individual writer identified and does not necessarily reflect the view of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company.