Robotics, immersive reality, artificial intelligence and connected devices are bringing a new level of technological sophistication to the physical world. The next generation of technology demands an overhaul of existing infrastructures—with a balance of cloud and edge computing plus a renewed focus on hardware to deliver intelligence everywhere.
Current infrastructures reflect some basic assumptions: enough bandwidth to support any remote application, an abundance of computing in a remote cloud and nearly infinite storage. And yet, the demand for immediate response times in physical-world applications defies this approach. Given current predictions about how much data smart sensors and other Internet of Things devices will generate, it will no longer be optimal to do all computational heavy lifting centrally.
The resulting need for real-time systems puts hardware in focus. Special-purpose and customizable hardware is making devices at the edge of networks more powerful and mission responsive than ever before.
Pushing intelligence to the physical world
Across industries, the next generation of intelligent solutions is moving into physical environments. Agencies have numerous opportunities to push intelligence into the physical world. Among them: improving management of military fleets, using telemedicine to continuously analyze a federal field worker’s condition and conducting smart inventory tracking that prevents potentially dangerous commingling of supplies. The key will be extending agencies’ infrastructures to reach into the dynamic physical environments they want to serve.
Edge of change
Building or leveraging custom and specialized hardware is a shift from the “one-size-fits-all-tasks” approach that proved popular in enterprises during the past decade. Eighty-seven percent of federal executives agree that edge infrastructure will speed the maturity of many technologies. To get there, federal agencies must reincorporate hardware-focused skills into their workforce. That represents an added challenge for those whose cloud-first mentality may have deemphasized this need.