• Cloud/edge computing for printing creating new opportunities for partners

        • Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a business that does not rely on the cloud for at least some of its day to day operations. With the technology sector constantly evolving, even the Cloud is moving into a new era. This is where edge computing comes in. Ondrej Kracijek, Chief Technology Strategist at Y Soft explains more.

          The opportunities involved with edge and cloud-based printing are significant, enabling partners to open the gateway for their customers. For example, partners can offer customers cloud-based printing, even in areas where the internet is poor or unreliable. Moving data processing to the edge enables a business to move faster, more effectively, less expensively and most importantly more securely, allowing partners to offer the best services to their customers.  

          Cloud and Edge. What exactly is it?

          Taking a cloud approach still means using a data centre (or sometimes several data centres) at the core. It is where all the data is processed and stored and shared between devices where the data needs to be used. This hub and spoke approach has been highly effective, but as organisations increase their volume of data, the network that transfers data requires ever-greater and costly bandwidth. As a result, partners have realised they need to find a better solution to offer their customers. Partners now understand that not all data created by devices needs to be sent to the centre. Edge computing means businesses can process data at the periphery, relieving the pressure on the network. This allows partners to offer their customers a better experience which in turn can boost the performance and reliability of a customer’s application and service.

          In a printing context, routine data processing for printing is done locally on an ‘edge device’. In this edge computing model, the customer needs to do no maintenance on the edge device or handle any data - it is all managed in the cloud. This allows partners to offer a simpler printing experience.

          Key drivers for SMEs in cloud & edge computing

          In the SME environment, an organisation can find cloud and edge computing useful when handling the day-to-day operations of the business. Edge computing can provide an array of benefits by delivering lower IT costs and faster response times to a business’s operations.

          When addressing SME’s, it’s important for the organisation to focus on its core business function and to minimise complexity and resource allocation on back-office functions. It is key for partners to remove an SME’s IT burden as much as possible, adopting a solution that does not require the customer to maintain the infrastructure. This also results in reducing complicated deployment burdens for the service provider. Edge computing allows a service partner provider to develop a solution for the SME environment, where all the customer has to do is plug in an edge device and forget about it.

          Partners should delve deeper into edge computing because, while edge computing delivers faster compute and response times, it can also provide peace of mind on security and privacy of data for customers. Traditional cloud computing is more centralised, which makes it vulnerable to attacks and power outages. Edge computing, on the other hand, means that the data is processed locally. Therefore, it is no surprise that 56 per cent of SME’s would prefer Edge computing for cloud-based print management. 

          It should be noted that edge computing will not replace data centres. With 93 per cent of SME’s using a cloud-based application, there are many applications that can happily operate in the cloud without needing real-time processing. However, for critical print tasks, edge computing can keep a business humming no matter the bandwidth, latency or availability of an internet connection. As companies embark on edge computing, new opportunities will be created for partners as well. Businesses will need service provider partners to introduce, support, maintain, monitor and secure cloud applications and their edge devices.

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