Edge technology and remote workers in a post Covid-19 world

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immense impact on every aspect of our lives. If we had to determine which is the most dramatic for the individual, it surely has to be how much we now rely on technology. From Zoom meetings with loved ones to the now common scenario of working from home, connectivity has never been such a vital asset.

Workers on the Edge

The term, edge computing, is yet to become mainstream. It is, however, becoming far more commonplace. In short, the term refers to a data centre or cloud environment that’s as close to the data source as possible.

Imagine a remote mining operation – thousands of miles from civilisation – that relies on technology for its day-to-day running. Rather than having to flow large distances – with all the bandwidth and latency issues this brings – edge computing provides seamless data exchange as close to the source as possible. Bringing this processing and delivery capability to reality is the essence of edge computing.

What COVID has done is infiltrate this need into residential areas around the world. Working remotely means that such edge services need to be extended to wherever needed. In other words, to the homes of all the employees who now regularly work from this location.

An Accelerated Rollout

5g rollout - Edge technology and remote workers in a post Covid-19 world

The need for fast, reliable connectivity to residential networks now far exceeds current capabilities. While cities might have the infrastructure – or at least the beginnings of it – in place, many suburban and rural areas are not so well covered, if at all. Many homes in Australia and around the world are still waiting for fast-fibre connectivity. Some still even run on dialup.

Enter 5G. The technology that, with an accelerated rollout, is set to be the answer to support edge computing for remote workers.

This, however, isn’t without its own complications – especially in a country as vast as Australia. Take what’s referred to as last-mile connections. This describes the end section of a telecommunications network to reach its destination, with all the associated work and expense to lay the cables. While the word ‘mile’ is a figure of speech, it’s easy to understand the complexities of bringing broadband to rural communities.

Such fibre connectivity relies on mile upon mile of physical assets – something that’s expensive and time-consuming to make reality. 5G, on the other hand, could revolutionise this. Although not yet commonplace, the erection of a nationwide infrastructure of towers to support this will be essential to support the millions who, through no fault of their own, have been forced into the remote workplace.

The COVID Effect

Rather frustratingly, the pandemic has both accelerated and hindered the 5G rollout. While it’s increased the need for the technology, it’s prevented the work taking place to support the advancement. While vaccination is now playing a big part in reducing fatalities and transmission, the effects are only trickling down to ground-level. Thankfully, this is now accelerating, and with it the ability for engineers and the workforce to continue with the creation of the connectivity infrastructure that’s now even more in demand.

Edge services rely wholly on connectivity and high-speed internet access. Whether this is provided through 5G or superfast broadband doesn’t – for the moment – matter to the individual or, indeed, the IT departments of companies. What’s needed is true nationwide coverage to allow all remote workers to take advantage of the very best that edge computing can bring them. Only with this can business take full advantage of skilled workers who are now spread out over a randomly large area, as opposed to the traditional office-based model.

Angie Keeler, CEO and co-founder of Zella DC
Angie Keeler – CEO and co-founder of Zella DC

About the Author

Angie Keeler  is the CEO and co-founder of Zella DC.

Angie has over 10 years experience within the IT and micro data centre industry with practical hands-on experience bootstrapping a company and growing a business through sales and international distribution across six continents. As the CEO Angie has built and developed distribution channels and support systems across Australia and into both North and South America, Asia Pacific, Africa and the UK.

As a leader and innovator, Angie is well respected and held in high esteem by her peers and industry colleagues.

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