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Schneider Electric’s Vance Peterson: Even Ovens Are Becoming Edge Devices

May 11, 2018
by Josh Anderson

CALGARY, ALBERTA — Last week, CapRE’s inaugural Calgary and Alberta Data Center Summit featured a rousing panel titled Data Center Management & Operations: Trends in Power & Cooling, which included a deep dive into a topic that is on everyone’s mind – Edge computing. Moderator David O’Reilly, Vice President of the IT Solution Division at Schneider Electric asked one panelist, Vance Peterson, Solutions Architect at Schneider Electric, to share some American insight on this topic.

data center summit“In some ways, Edge compute is a bit of a catch-all term,” began O’Reilly. “But I’d love to get your thoughts on Edge compute David, and from the Shaw perspective, I’d love to hear what you are thinking about moving or keeping compute into the hyperscale facilities, but also moving to the Edge.”

“When I started my career, I was installing mainframes,” replied Peterson. “It was a heavily centralized environment. And as my career moved forward, I saw a swing to a heavily de-centralized environment. Where we all had workstations. We had work stations parked under our desks, and we all had our monitors. And then we swung back to the enterprise, heavily centralized, environment.”

However, that changed when the Cloud came along. “The Cloud was a revolutionary architecture that I think history will look back on, and say that it really changed the way that we did business,” he continued. “But along with that, there are some limitations to the Cloud. Limitations in latency. Limitations in bandwidth.”

Vance Petersen, Solutions Architect, Schneider Electric

However, the Cloud isn’t the only disrupter, according to Peterson. “At the same time, we see a huge influx of the Internet of Everything. 5G will be a huge enabler,” he continued. “But right now, I travel a lot, and two weeks ago, our oven broke at home while I was traveling. So my wife went out and bought a new stovetop and a new oven. Lo and behold, when I get home, it was late on a Friday, she put a pizza in the oven to warm up for me. And they scanned the QR code on the pizza. The oven scanned the QR code on the pizza. And I thought to myself, Huh. That’s an Edge device. My oven is connected to the internet. My watch is connected to the internet. This morning, when you folks woke up, what was the first thing you grabbed? A coffee cup? Or a smart phone or a tablet? These are all pushing us closer and closer and closer to the Edge.”

Peterson then shared an interesting tidbit — most of his clients are now operating in a hybrid environment. “They still have resources located in the cloud. They still have enterprise data centers. But they’re also populating Edge facilities,” he explained.

“I’ve got a client, I can’t say who, but they’re a large, municipal transportation company in the United States,” divulged Peterson next. “They’re now deploying, before 5G is rolled out, over 300 Edge data centers on the top of telephone poles, that will gather data from the buses, the municipal vehicles, the trolleys, and they’re performing predictive analytics. Every four blocks. The buses are communicating with the poles, the poles are chomping and digesting this data, some of it is being pushed to the Cloud, some of it is being acted upon locally. This system has been up and operating now for about four weeks. And through this process, in those four weeks, they’ve been able to reduce their operating expenses by 35%. This is a large municipality. And that, along with my oven, speaks to the power of the Edge.”

Peterson then concluded his remarks with a joke — “I’m not sure what happens when try to bake something that doesn’t have a QR code on it, but we’ll find out,” he chuckled.

For more from this panel discussion, check out previous CapRE Insider Reports:

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