Edge Computing Inspires Human Edge Cultures

edge computing
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Edge computing acquires accurate data quickly

Edge computing consists of IoT devices gathering data closer to the edge of the network. The advantage here is two-fold. First, the accuracy and quality of the data improve the closer it is collected to the source. Second, data is processed more quickly as it need not be transmitted to a central hub for processing. According to an edge computing article by Brandon Butler, doing computing closer to the edge of the network streamlines the flow of traffic from IoT devices, allowing organizations to analyze important data in near real-time.

Scientia Potentia est!

Knowledge is power. Edge computing like digitalization is about increasing the speed of data attainment and processing, i.e.,  knowledge acquisition. The strategy is quite simple. Gather relevant information as quickly as possible to expedite the response to fluctuating markets and shifting customer needs. Efficiently responding to changing market and client needs is valuable. The ability to foresee changes and already have systems, services, and products at the ready is priceless. Market prediction is the difference between industry leaders and followers.

The human obsession with speed

I recently attended an inspiring impulse talk on edge computing by Igor Grdic, Country Manager, Central Southern Europe, Vertiv. In his presentation, Grdic mentioned the basic physics equation: Time = Distance / Speed.  In the physical world, distance cannot be shortened. Physics proves that if you want to decrease time, increase speed. In western culture, speed is often praised and rewarded. “Time is money!” “Can’t waste time!” Humans know this formula solution all too well.  Late for a meeting? Drive more quickly. In a rush? Take the subway instead of walking. Need a coffee fix? Go through the drive-through instead of parking and going inside. I am guilty too. Even as a barefoot runner, I too want to reduce my time by becoming faster.

Human efficiency is about shortening the distance

Need something from another department and don’t know anybody who works there? After filling out a few forms and sending multiple emails, you may get what you need in a few days or weeks. Know someone who works in that department? Within a day or even hours, you will have what you need. Efficiency between humans is not about increasing speed. It is about shortening the human distance. Digitalization is revolutionizing the way we conceptualize the equation: Time = Distance / Speed. And it is about time. Edge computing shows us that by shortening the distance at which data has to travel, more information can be acquired, processed, and utilized. More importantly, information gathered at the edge is more reliable and relevant. Edge computing decentralizes processes. What can leaders learn from edge computing?

What leaders can learn from edge computing

Companies outfitted with the latest and greatest in technology will become more efficient to a certain extent. Companies relying on edge technology alone to become more efficient will not suffice. As the proliferation of technology becomes more accessible to companies, processes used to improve human relationships between co-workers and customers is the game-changer in competitive markets. The closer information is to the source, the more reliable and valid it is. This vital information is usually known by those at the edge of your organization. Employees at the edge are close to the pulse of how your products or services are utilized and valued. They are most knowledgable about what works and what doesn’t. How is their knowledge used?

The human/time paradox

Increasing the speed at which people work together results when the social and psychological distance between them is shortened. The paradox is this takes time. Using the right processes can shorten this time. All things being equal, the socially and psychologically connected team will outperform the team that is not. The former is more flexible, adaptable, resilient, engaged, and innovative.  Highly bureaucratic and rigid hierarchical organizational structures and “one-up” work environments harbor jealousy, deceit, and undermining behaviors such as the withholding of information and dehumanizing rumors. All negatively impact efficiency. How much time and money do companies invest in more expedient technology in comparison to improving speed by shortening the distance between employees?

Leaders need to go within in order to go to the edge

Competitive companies and industry forerunners create and foster work cultures that trust and rely on those employees living at the edge. What does it take for an organization to capitalize on the wealth of information at the edge? Creating a human edge funnel requires a culture of trust, transparency, collaboration, empowerment, and freedom just to name a few. Leaders best able to let their companies thrive and innovate at the edge need a solid sense of self and a clear and realizable vision that all employees, regardless of position or seniority can manifest and evolve. Hence another paradox. Leaders with the most inner security and certainty can more easily allow and foster a culture that thrives and grows on the outer edges.

About the Author

Jean-Pierre is a Human Systems Expert, Process Facilitator, Youth Specialist, and Speaker. He optimizes employee engagement and leadership potential by counseling leaders and enhancing group dynamics. He is the creator of the youth inspired EPIC Model of development and the author of What You Can Learn from Your Teenager: Lessons in Parenting and Personal Growth.

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