Innovating At The Intelligent Edge

Innovating At The Intelligent Edge

By Amit Ronen

Conquering the next frontier in technology will take all the brainpower the technology community can muster. That frontier is the intelligent edge. That brainpower can be mustered with open source systems.

The intelligent edge is built on AI-driven software systems, which are embedded in everything from the energy grid to thermostats, smart watches, insulin pumps, industrial robots, autonomous vehicles, aviation systems and many more devices. These devices are part of a global cyber-physical system that spans hyperscale clouds, edge clouds and the electro-mechanical edge. We probably can’t yet imagine all the ways in which the intelligent edge will change how we live and work, but we can already see that the complexity and innovation it requires is unprecedented.

Open source will play a critical role in supporting and powering the intelligent edge because it allows developers access to a distributed collaborative environment, shared vision, reciprocity of findings and great tools—leveraging the full brain trust of the technology community.

Wind River’s experience with Linux and open source over the past nearly two decades across mission-critical industries is well-known throughout the industry. In fact, according to VDC Research, Wind River is ranked as the market leader in commercial embedded Linux global revenues. We are right in the middle of the action. By 2028, 63% of the global infrastructure edge footprint will be for use cases supporting applications in vertical markets such as healthcare, manufacturing, energy, logistics, smart cities, retail and transportation.

Digital Transformation Is Moving To The Edge

Digital transformation has been among the top priorities for over a decade now, with business growth dependent on how well companies use technologies to streamline work processes, improve customer experience or target their digital marketing. But cloud and embedded computing have ushered in a completely new area, with digital transformation now involving the creation of a connected society and a machine economy—the world in which critical infrastructure players are connecting their devices to get data out of them and offer new services, introduce new features, or integrate the devices in a larger system. As a natural extension of cloud computing, the intelligent edge cloud is a key enabler for the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The infrastructure investments to support the growing device and infrastructure edge demand will amount to a cumulative capital expenditure of up to $800 billion between 2019 and 2028. These expenditures will be relatively evenly split between equipment for the device and the infrastructure edges. The global IT power footprint for infrastructure edge deployments is conservatively forecast to increase from 1GW in 2019 to over 40GW by 2028, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 40%.

The verdict is in about how technology leaders are planning to go about creating a machine economy: 79% of technology leaders expect to increase their use of enterprise open source software for emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, edge computing and the Internet of Things. The relationship between edge computing and digital transformation pulls in enterprise open source as well. The majority (54%) of technology decision makers now say that digital transformation is an important use of enterprise open source.

Succeeding With Open Source At The Edge

While digital transformation is tough, and only 28% of the Global 2000 are actively succeeding in digitally transforming, it will become increasingly essential to change how teams develop, deploy and operate embedded devices and infuse them with capabilities like AI, in order to build greater levels of automation, autonomy and knowledge. As a greater percentage of compute workloads move away from data centers and to the edge, the companies most able to leverage the vast amount of powerful, real-time information will be the ones to have effectively sought out digital transformation.

Mission-critical embedded systems have some of the most demanding requirements, with the longest lifespans, and teams must plan to build, manage and maintain them over years or decades. This is especially challenging in an intelligent systems future that demands increasing vigilance around security and compliance.

As an example, Wind River Studio Linux Services directly addresses the evolving market needs of developing, deploying and maintaining embedded systems, and to help with challenges around security, defects, compliance and the ongoing management of mission-critical intelligent systems when using community-based open source software.

By helping developers build and deploy robust, reliable and secure Linux-based intelligent devices and systems, Studio Linux Services can remove the burden of monitoring and maintaining platforms so developers can instead focus on developing innovative and differentiated intelligent edge systems that maximize return on investment.

We understand that some organizations may want to start their Linux journey somewhere other than Wind River Linux. Perhaps they want to leverage a board-specific Linux from a semiconductor provider like NXP, TI or AMD. Regardless of how an organization sources its Linux platform, there are common challenges everyone must overcome.

At Wind River we approach the intelligent edge with the idea that we can get further by becoming part of an ecosystem, learning from one another and contributing to the open source community.

What do you think?

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