Internet of Business appraises the first day of Aruba Networks’ Atmosphere EMEA 2017 conference, currently underway at Disneyland Paris.
The theme at this year’s Aruba conference, which kicked off today at Disneyland Paris, is “The Innovation Edge”. Predictably, part of the focus is on the future of edge computing, but this year, there’s the added importance of IoT to consider, according to executives at the HPE-owned wireless networking specialist.
Opening the conference, Wired Magazine Editor-at-Large David Rowan asked the audience, “What makes innovators tick?”
His speech was peppered with examples to which attendees might aspire, from Elon Musk’s The Boring Company, for creating underground tunnels for transportation, to Amazon’s PrimeAir drone delivery arm.
But while both technologies could change people’s lives, if they ever get off the ground, other businesses have more modest plans for innovation and operations improvement that could still make a big difference to their own productivity and profitability.
Innovate or die
Either way, time is of the essence, Rowan stressed. “Things will never move this slowly again,” he said. The point being, with the speed at which technology is moving, every business must be prepared to innovate or die.
And innovate is exactly what most businesses are looking to do, analyst house IDC’s group vice president, Thomas Meyer came on to assure attendees. In fact, two-thirds of businesses are looking at digital transformation to increase efficiencies and improve productivity, he said, citing IDC’s FutureScape report for 2016.
The most important technologies in this process, Meyer said, will be cloud computing and IoT. IDC is predicting that spending on IoT will hit $1.3 trillion by 2020, while two-thirds of enterprise IT infrastructure will be spent on cloud-based offerings by the same point.
Read more: Are we edging closer to IoT Edge Computing?
In fact, IoT’s benefits are already being experienced by early adopters, said Aruba founder Keerti Melkote. “I keep hearing IoT is coming,” he said. “And, to be honest, six months ago I was like ‘yes, I’ve heard about this, it’s a lot of marketing, but is it real?’ And from what I’m seeing now, it is real.”
“There is IoT happening now in many different ways. Everything that manufacturers are building now is getting connected, and these are things that are going to get connected to your network. You may or may not know about it, but they’re going to ask for an IP address or if you have a Wi-Fi network they will simply connect using a password.”
Melkote admitted that this security challenge has meant Aruba has had to do its own innovating just to keep up. Until a few months ago when it acquired network security company Niara, HPE Aruba did not have the technology to detect which devices were on the network or the ability to monitor the behavior of those using the devices to establish whether they posed a threat. Now it can.
A hybrid future for edge and cloud
But the theme of innovation did not end there. Melkote touched on the next innovation in IoT that everyone is talking about: edge computing.
At the end of last year, Peter Levine, a partner at venture capitalist firm Andreesen Horowitz, spoke about the end of cloud computing. Levine suggested that all data processing would soon be moved onto devices, such as driverless cars and drones, at the edge of the network, limiting the cloud’s use to providing storage.
Melkote agrees that the currently centralised ‘things’ architecture, which is largely controlled by the cloud, will soon be localised at the edge, due to the latency requirements of most IoT applications. But he did not go as far as sounding the death knell for cloud computing. Instead, he suggests the future will see a hybrid model where edge-based processing and cloud-based modelling come together. “2020 will be the year of edge intelligence and cloud working together,” he said.
It’s an interesting prospect, and one that Aruba promises to expand on throughout the remainder of the conference.