Some companies – including engineering consulting firm Altran, part of France’s Capgemini Group – are differentiating their edge computing technologies with infrastructure offerings that address the specific needs of application developers. In doing so, they recognise the key role developers will play in driving new market growth opportunities.

Edge computing has become one of IT’s most exciting new segments, thanks to its ability to enable a wide range of new digital services and applications. However, with more companies now targeting emerging edge computing opportunities with diverse technology options, there is an ever growing need to differentiate between individual technologies.

Altran recently announced that it had enhanced its Ensconce edge compute platform with software from Intel, including Intel’s Open Network Edge Services Software (OpenNESS) and OpenVINO offerings. As a software solution, Ensconce can work with diverse underlying hardware environments, including micro data centers deployed on factory floors, in retail outlets, and in different types of edge locations.

Edge computing brings data processing, storage and analytics capabilities closer to data-generating Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, and closer to where high performance applications are consumed. The latter include autonomous and assisted-driving vehicles, cloud gaming, and immersive experiences that leverage augmented, virtual, mixed and extended reality (AR/VR/MR/XR).

Processing data and powering applications locally offers benefits that include cost savings and higher levels of application performance. In addition to these benefits, a growing number of vendors acknowledge that edge computing has an important role to play in enabling the development and delivery of application content.

Altran faces growing competition

Indeed, Altran is not alone in targeting the needs of application developers with edge computing solutions. To differing degrees, IT technology providers from IBM to Microsoft have all begun to articulate a stronger message about how they are making edge IT capabilities more accessible for developers.

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Cloud service provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) also recently stepped up its strategy to offer application developer tools and services locally. This is illustrated by the announcement that it has embedded AWS Wavelength resources within Verizon’s 5G network infrastructure in Boston and in the San Francisco Bay Area. The move is designed to provide developers with the tools the resources they need to develop and deploy ultra-low latency applications.

Despite the growing competition, Altran believes that the integration of Intel’s OpenNESS and OpenVINO technologies will give its Ensconce platform a competitive advantage vis-à-vis these other players. Specifically, as an open source software toolkit, OpenNESS is designed to ensure that Altran’s edge platform fosters open collaboration and innovation between application developers. Meanwhile, OpenVINO aims to provide application developers with new artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities at the edge.

Nevertheless, as more companies target app developers with their edge computing solutions, Altran will need to ensure that its solution remains competitive, not only in terms of the breadth of toolsets and resources it offers developers, but also in terms of cost, functionality and flexibility. Altran may also need to demonstrate to potential edge computing customers that it can help them address all-important questions about security, edge device management and architecture design.