Paul Simon wrote that it’s all happening at the zoo. Today, it’s all happening at the edge. ATT Cybersecurity has released its 2023 AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report: Edge Ecosystem focusing on manufacturing companies worldwide. It explains how edge computing is changing manufacturing to solve operational issues and reduce costs. This report reveals what your peers are planning and doing to embrace edge computing.
The lead and author of the report, Head of Cybersecurity Evangelism at AT&T Business Theresa Lanowitz, states, “In the past, IT typically made technology decisions based on business and computing requirements they understood. Thanks to ongoing advances in computing, things are changing.”
She contends Edge computing is a transformative technology that brings together various stakeholders and aligns their interests to drive integrated business outcomes. The emergence of edge computing has been fueled by a generation of visionaries who grew up in the era of smartphones and limitless possibilities. In this paradigm, the role of IT has shifted from being the sole leader to a collaborative partner in delivering innovative edge computing solutions. In addition, we found that leaders in manufacturing are budgeting differently for edge use cases. These two things, along with an expanded approach to securing edge computing, were prioritized by the respondents in the 2023 AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report: Edge Ecosystem.
Topline research findings
In 2023, the manufacturing respondents’ primary edge use case is smart warehousing, which involves deploying computing resources close to or on the warehouse floor. The enhanced productivity of warehouse employees, flexible logistics, and better optimization of warehouse space are some benefits of edge computing. This represents a shift from the primary use case in the 2022 AT&T Cybersecurity Insights Report: Securing the Edge, which focused on video-based quality inspection as the primary manufacturing edge computing use case.
Press releases concerning warehousing and logistics up and downstream constituted the majority of my inbox for the past few years. Looks like this is reflected in the research.
As manufacturing has evolved, the need for efficiency and speed is focused on moving goods out of warehouses and onto the next stop of either consumption or integration. The rising cost of labor and customer expectations for next-day or same-day deliveries drive the need for greater investments in rapidly understanding which products are most likely needed to fulfill a sales pipeline or supply chain.
This is AT&T Cybersecurity, after all, so it cites following cybersecurity challenges with the edge:
- Potentially more vulnerable data – especially when such devices are at risk of being stolen, lost or damaged.
- Legacy 4G threats, when the increased use of sensors and cameras on a production line can benefit from 5G capabilities and its enhanced encryption.
- Concerns regarding regulatory compliance, specifically when personally identifiable information (PII) is being transferred from the edge site to a different location.