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Delivering Intelligent Edge-to-Cloud Services at Scale

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Combining the virtually limitless computing power of the cloud with intelligent devices at the edge of the network will create a framework for building immersive and impactful business solutions. The powerful combination of 5G connectivity and an intelligent edge can unlock new latency-sensitive consumer and business services.

Together, 5G and edge computing will enable a new era of distributed intelligence that will transform all types of industries, from smart cities to smart farming. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed at the edge, outside of traditional centralized data centers or the cloud. According to IDC, three-fourths of U.S. organizations regard edge as a strategic business investment.

At the same time, while realization of the value of the intelligent edge is growing, companies are struggling to find the right resources to move adoption forward. An IDC survey found that top challenges include identifying clear use cases, security, a lack of internal skills, and cost.

If the age of distributed intelligence is to reach its full potential, solution providers will need to deliver intelligent edge-to-cloud services at scale. And to deliver at scale requires removing barriers to efficient solution delivery.

Unlocking the Value Potential of Intelligent Services

The true value potential of IoT, AI and metaverse technologies can be unlocked when they come together as one complete interdependent ecosystem of intelligent services that extends from edge to cloud. Bringing these technologies together in a way that simplifies solution deployments will have a profound impact on business and society and will help solve global challenges.

One of the greatest challenges humanity faces today is climate change. In an ambitious undertaking to properly address this challenge, NVIDIA plans to build the world’s most powerful AI supercomputer dedicated to predicting climate change. The Earth-2 system will create a digital twin of Earth.

This global system will require us to leverage all our edge, cloud and metaverse technologies and deliver them much more efficiently than we do today. We will need to deliver them as intelligent services that combine software-defined everything(SDx) with everything as a service (XaaS) to compose a dynamic system of systems - where every service adds to the collective intelligence of the whole system.

Eliminating Ecosystem Friction

We live and work within a complex, dynamic and interconnected system of systems valued at over $70 trillion in global gross domestic product (GDP). Yet some economists estimate that inefficiency costs us one-quarter of everything we produce, with nearly half of the world’s food supply never making it to consumers.

A report from IBM estimated that $4 trillion of wasted global GDP is preventable by eliminating the inefficiencies among interdependent systems. The challenges we face today cannot be solved by continuing to optimize at the enterprise or domain level – they will only be solved by incentivizing sustainability and data sharing across an entire solution provider ecosystem able to deliver and manage a system of smart systems that seamlessly interoperate.

These smart systems represent the evolution of everything as a service. Software-defined smart products, such a smart tractors and drones, are becoming autonomous systems. But these systems need to work better together to form a system of smart systems that deliver high-value outcomes, such as sustainable farming.

A unified ecosystem can efficiently deliver everything as a service that is needed to compose an intelligent business such as a smart farm – from 5G connectivity to smart products to information.

But a significant challenge needs to be addressed. From the vast technology offerings that are available in the provider ecosystem - from sensors, actuators, drones, robotics, cybersecurity, connectivity, and analytics - how can an end-customer efficiently discover, select, and utilize multi-vendor, end-to-end smart systems tailored specifically to the end-customer’s requirements?

Driving Outcomes through Capabilities

One of the innovative approaches emerging from industry consortia to solve this challenge is the concept of Capability as a Service. Gartner defines a Packaged Business Capability (PBC) as a self-contained service that can be deployed independently. A PBC has the benefits of a “microservice” approach, but with the appropriate granularity and outcome orientation for an XaaS offering.

Gartner predicts that these types of granular capabilities will be instrumental in how multi-vendor solutions are composed in the future. They will enable end-customers to select the best vendor for a specific capability, rather than a single vendor for all capabilities.

When these capabilities are defined and modeled by a standards organization, every vendor service based on these standard capabilities become inherently interoperable and interchangeable.

Rather than implementing technologies like IoT and digital twins as costly and long-term projects, technologies can be incorporated into standardized capabilities like Sense, Manage, and Predict and delivered efficiently as multi-vendor, intelligent edge-to-cloud services.

An agile, intelligent business like a smart farm can be composed from a marketplace of multi-vendor capabilities that are offered and delivered as services. For example, two vendors can offer a service that is capable of sensing temperature. These vendor services can be intelligently selected based on the specific characteristics of their capabilities to drive high-value, sustainable outcomes. When delivered, the sensing capability of the selected vendor service can seamlessly connect and interact with capabilities of other selected vendor services (manage, predict, actuate) to compose value streams that span edge to cloud systems.

Capabilities can be standardized for managing the state of a specific type of entity, including physical assets such as tractors and farms, as well as digital commerce entities such as orders, subscriptions, and usage. The TM Forum, for example, has defined a standard open API for managing each entity type related to commerce as part of its Open Digital Architecture. These capabilities can be offered as services by multiple vendors and allow an end-customer to compose an interoperable commerce system of systems that is tailored to its specific requirements.

A multi-level system of systems based on the capability-as-a-service concept can enable frictionless interactions and information sharing for optimal decision-making and actions that drive high-value outcomes for end-customers. But it requires a paradigm shift in the way we deliver solutions.

Looking to CloudBlue

CloudBlue’s mission is to fundamentally reshape how businesses offer value to customers through a global delivery system of Everything-as-a-Service. Our goal is to enable our global ecosystem partners to deliver intelligent edge-to-cloud services - at scale - by removing friction and challenges in solution delivery.

As a member of the TM Forum and Digital Twin Consortium, CloudBlue collaborates with global technology vendors and communication service providers to accelerate innovation that drives zero-touch solution delivery, high-value outcomes, and compelling end-customer experiences.

We have an unprecedented opportunity to work together to eliminate waste and inefficiencies in our collective system of systems - which will have a profound impact on business and society and help us solve our global challenges.

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