Edge technology is paving the way for entirely new sectors that have the potential to be worth trillions in the future, according to Rohit Talwar, futurist and CEO of Fast Future.

Talwar argued that Edge computing, which involves moving – and often automating – processes currently on the cloud to local systems in order to significantly improve latency, unlocks a host of opportunities for businesses, including increasing business growth and driving innovation in what is possible within the digital space.

Speaking at a press conference at Atmosphere 2019 EMEA, an event held by Hewlett Packard Enterprise subsidiary Aruba, Talwar urged business leaders to begin investing in the technology now.

“We think this is a clarion call to business leaders to get on board now and really start to think about how we embed these opportunities in our business, and how we adapt our business to take advantage of this,” he said.

Edge technology as a creator of trillion-dollar business opportunities

Talwar, who is co-author of a book published by Fast Future in partnership with Aruba today entitled Opportunity at the Edge: Change, Challenge, and Transformation on the Path to 2025, characterised the Edge as a technology with significant potential for change for businesses.

“When we talk about the Edge we’re really talking about that point where users and devices connect to the network; where smart technology is being used to manipulate data at the Edge, enabling us to create incredible new user experiences defined by the users, and in turn enabling new business and revenue models, and even the emergence of whole new industry sectors,” he said.

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For businesses, this will require a change in mindset, although the potential value in doing so is significant.

“A really interesting shift is learning how to be a smart organisation, how to bring smart technologies to bear, how to create an organisation that can support the creation of smart spaces, smart services,” he said.

“But also that can live with the idea of the technology making all the decisions at the Edge, taking humans out of routine decision making and allowing us to deliver faster and more effective services, and finally enabling these new sectors that could be trillion dollar sectors.”

Such sectors, he said, include autonomous vehicles, future farming, smart factories and digital workplaces.

“We’re enabling whole new sectors that have huge market potential.”

Business benefits of the Edge

One key benefit of Edge technology is, according to Talwar, the change it brings for users, which in turn adds improvements for business.

“[Edge technology has] the potential for user empowerment: allowing users to define what they want, how they want it, where they want it and even, in many cases, how they want to pay for it,” he said.

“It’s changing the way an organisation needs to configure, whether it’s around internal users or its customers.”

The technology is also, he argued, enabling new types of leadership that can help businesses achieve more dramatic growth.

“It really lays the foundations for what you might call innovative and experimental leadership,” he said.

“Many organisations want to pursue exponential growth, they want the kind of growth they’re seeing in technology companies. Now the flexible and scalable technologies that are bringing us the Edge are giving those leaders the platforms to do the experiments that can drive 2x to 10x growth in their business.

“So it really starts to provide the tools to drive the exponential growth that whatever sector you’re in: retail, healthcare, transport, not just in the tech sector itself.”

This also has the potential for a change in business mindset.

“It creates that focus for really starting to build that digital core to the organisation, driving digital thinking, driving digital innovation, encouraging us to build true digital literacy and digital mindsets that then allow us to create the digital products and services that take full advantage of the Edge.”

While Edge’s predecessor, cloud technology, initially saw adoption driven by IT departments, Talwar argued that Edge technology needs to be embraced by the entire C-suite for its potential to be realised.

“This is a whole new conversation for the C-suite, where it’s beginning to demonstrate to them what being a digital organisation truly means, what having digital at our core truly means for an organisation, and how that changes the way we think, the way we make decisions, the way we operate and the way we use our resources when the core of the activity is happening at the Edge, driven by the end-users.”

Read more: 5G is bringing home the benefits of Edge computing