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AI/Automation

Service provider opportunities at the edge (of pure imagination)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

That's not what most would think of first when attending an afternoon of Future Vision briefings from Omdia's senior analyst team and executives from IBM, BT, TIP and Orange. But after the sessions were finished, over a drink (or two) with IBM's distinguished engineer for hybrid cloud, Dennis Lauwers, it was hard not to latch on to an image he painted of a chocolate factory coming to a halt because of a fiber cable cut in the street outside.

The issue?

The all-too-familiar scenario when a local utility company cuts into the cable serving the business. The complication? The redundant cable was only a meter away, effectively following the same path. Snip. The implication? Tons of liquified chocolate settling into machinery, the temperature dropping, sugary goo solidifying. Sounds delicious, but it landed this chocolate manufacturer in rather a sticky situation. Multi-million dollar production line machinery came to a halt, and so did production, for nearly three weeks.

This manufacturer learned one valuable lesson: the need for it to keep its data and compute capacity on-premises. And where does the network fit? Locally.

Omdia's fireside chat session with IBM featured an exploration of emerging enterprise opportunities for communications service providers (traditional and alternative), as well as managed services providers, in the private networking and evolving edge compute space.

IBM's vision was clear: there is an unaddressed requirement for providers to offer managed private networking to support edge services. Will service providers step up, or will others steal a march on them? The Future Vision event and its presenters raised the question. Asset-dependent enterprises with critical operations (but without Oompa-Loompas) need an answer.

— Evan Kirchheimer, Research Director, Enterprise Services, Omdia

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