From offices to ships to schools: the edge is everywhere we are. Here are the ways edge technologies improve more than just business outcomes.
One of the great advantages of my job is that I get to be part of a technology company and team that is changing lives around the world. We’re innovating edge technology to help solve global problems – edge for good, as we like to say. Our customer stories show innovative, successful examples of solving global challenges in areas like education, medical care and sustainability, and these are just a few that come to mind.
During my career, I’ve learned that technology is always evolving and getting better. Recently, we have seen a massive shift to edge technology, which offers real-time decision-making because of the edge’s proximity to where the data is created. Driving this enormous shift are factors such as improved customer experiences, enhanced safety and reduced cost alongside technological developments in sensor affordability, machine learning, software-defined infrastructure and others. In fact, Gartner estimates that 75% of the data will be created outside of the data center and cloud by 2025. The edge is our next frontier.
While I appreciate how we drive better business outcomes with edge technology, I am inspired by how it is used for the greater good. Let’s start with a powerful example that is helping to bring equity to underserved communities via newfound access to learning resources.
Education is the bedrock of a stronger future, but educational opportunity is a distinct privilege held by a minority of the world’s total population. Teachers and school-age children need access to online educational content to enable and democratize education globally. However, 66% of school-age children around the world do not have reliable internet connectivity at home, if at all. That means about 1.3 billion children worldwide cannot access self-training or self-education content online. Limited or no connectivity is most prevalent in rural areas, further impeding education because teachers also cannot access learning resources. What is the impact? Millions of schools are without access to learning resources, which means billions of individuals do not receive comprehensive education. Resolving these challenges is vital in shaping a better future for us all.
One of our Dell sales managers in Latin America, Alessio Hagen, wanted to change this reality. With inspiration and passion, Alessio went to governments throughout Latin America to rally support for an edge-powered solution that helps educate children, especially those in rural areas without internet access or electricity. As a result of his efforts, a new Dell edge solution was born and is being implemented throughout Latin America and beyond. In the face of intermittent or no internet connectivity, the solution helps teachers and students access learning resources. Employing an all-in-one solution that uses broadband and satellite communication, teachers can access and download educational content, regardless of internet connectivity.
In addition, the solution helps to bridge gaps in areas without access to electricity. Children can take laptops home with them, and when they return to school, they can charge them. The edge can do this because it is beyond the data center, outside of the cloud, and it resides amidst us in our day-to-day lives. This edge solution is a force for good, in the absence of connectivity and power, to level the educational playing field for the betterment of countries, communities and children around the world. To date, the solution is deployed at over 10,000 schools across Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and India. View the short video on this compelling educational edge use case here.
Serving the Underserved
An additional edge example is delivering life-changing services to underserved populations around the world. Today, only 6% of the billion-plus people living in developing countries have access to adequate medical care. Mercy Ships, a global nonprofit organization, aims to change that by bringing healing and hope to these underserved populations.
Mercy Ships employs floating hospitals staffed with hundreds of medical volunteers and equipped with state-of-the-art surgical and IT equipment to bring care to people wherever they are located. That’s why the edge is so vital to Mercy Ships mission, staff and patients. Across its fleet and international support center, Mercy Ships uses innovative technology that runs in the background as a powerful yet silent enabler to help staff deliver medical care. Streamlined technology that provides sophisticated capabilities while being simple to run helps the medical staff stay focused on delivering life-saving surgeries and high-quality patient care.
With the edge generating real-time insights, Mercy Ships can handle a multitude of tasks more efficiently and responsively. In healthcare, time is crucial to patient well-being. Medical staff have automated administrative tasks to gain more time with patients. Innovative edge technology provides the foundation for on-ship virtual consultations with other medical professionals around the world to quickly respond to patient needs. In addition, Mercy Ships trains local medical personnel, such as surgeons and nurses, to better equip each location to deliver care. Through edge technology, Mercy Ships is bringing life-changing services to developing areas around the world that do not have ready access to medical care. View the video on this transformational edge case study here.
Sustainability is an area of increasing importance, and it’s using the edge to help companies more credibly demonstrate progress. As organizations prioritize sustainability initiatives, they often purchase carbon credits from third-party companies to offset their carbon footprint. However, the buying and selling of carbon credits are vulnerable to fraud. So much so that the Financial Review recently reported that as much as 80% of government-issued carbon credits are “flawed” and a “sham.”
To counter this fraudulent activity, underlying edge data that is combined with external data must be trustworthy and transparent. To enable credible measurement, reporting and validation, Dell Technologies developed Data Confidence Fabric. This solution provides a standardized approach for capturing and validating data so that organizations can be confident in their data and preserve marketplace credibility around sustainability initiatives. Data Confidence Fabric helps to streamline and accelerate data collection, measurement and analysis of emissions data at the edge, bolstering the confidence and trustworthiness of international carbon credits between buyers and sellers.
The results? We are advancing sustainability initiatives by verifying the accuracy of carbon credits and helping companies reduce their emissions for environmental good. Looking to the future, confidence in data generated at the edge can further mobilize carbon credits in infrastructure, transportation and beyond. This allows companies to innovate faster, a key tenet of advancing sustainability initiatives. Here’s more on how we’re using Data Confidence Fabric for real-time carbon credit verification.
The edge is where we all are – in a building, on a ship, in the country, at an office or at a school. That makes the edge an ideal vehicle for good and one that we must safeguard appropriately. The power of the edge is providing me and my team an amazing opportunity to be part of something so much bigger and better than ourselves: edge for good.
Keep Reading: Advance Sustainability with Data Confidence at the Edge