Recently, cloud computing has impacted countless fields of endeavor. For marketing research teams, the technology has translated into massive data storage and efficient retrieval. But as invariably happens, something new comes along to grab a portion of limelight. One of these newcomers, however, is grabbing more than a little. It’s called ‘edge computing’.
Edge computing describes a process in which critical data is locally collected and analyzed. Basically, it captures info right at the source, like bottled water from a mountain spring. No ‘long’ trips to the cloud for data analysis. Case in point is an industrial machine that captures on-the-spot, real-time data about production, evaluates the info, and makes necessary adjustments.
A major advantage of real-time data collection is the elimination of delays. True, such delays often last only a few seconds. But in the realm of industrial efficiency, micro-slowdowns multiplied over weeks and months can cost thousands, if not millions. Being infinitely quicker, localized data analysis allows for instantaneous adjustments.
It’s easy to imagine a place for edge computing in the realm of brand marketing, particularly in the research arena. But it needn’t stop there. Fulfillment processes, for instance, would gain tremendously by real time data. This will be obvious with the arrival of the ‘internet of things.’ Within this system, devices are linked in efficient networks. Among the connected will be ordinary household items. With edge computing technology on the job, devices can snap info straight to a brand’s receiving zone.
If, for example, a ‘smart’ fridge gets low on chunky chocolate cake, edge processing can inform the brand in seconds. Said brand can then ping the cake lover’s smart phone with a message about an amazing sale on chocolate layered. The same holds true with burned-out light bulbs and any other replaceable product. Edge computing will expedite the collection of such information, providing critical data about everything from user habits to product usage.
Not surprisingly, tech superstars are leading the way down the edge-computing path. Microsoft, for instance, is developing edge technology that combines local data collection with its sophisticated cloud systems. Other players include Facebook, Google, Cisco, Intel, and IBM.
Thus far, edge computing developers are focused on industrial usage. But, as typically happens, new technologies are adopted by other fields. Marketing teams could well embrace the evolution in the very near future.
If you have questions or comments about the impact of new technologies on marketing processes, or about any other brand-related topic, feel free to send them our way.