Edge Computing Maturity Model: Take the First Step from Isolated to Informed

Imagine a future where your self-adapting, fully autonomous edge-to-enterprise computing environment becomes invisible to you in your day-to-day operations. All assets are connected and seamlessly control essential systems while providing actionable data that improves business results. 

With more than 40 years’ experience in zero-touch computing, Stratus has developed the Edge Computing 5 I’s Maturity Model, a tool than can help you figure out where you currently are in your Edge Computing journey and provides a road map to help you achieve a simple-to-use, protected and autonomous infrastructure while minimizing operational, financial and reputational risk along the way.

What Is the Edge Computing Maturity Model?
The Edge Computing Maturity Model is a matrix that breaks down your Edge Computing progress into 5 categories: Isolated, Informed, Insightful, Intelligent, and Invisible. In each category, we evaluate your Capabilities, Processes, Human Effort, and Technology.

From Isolated to Informed
Today we’ll take a look at the first two levels in the maturity model matrix, Isolated and Informed. For many, the starting point in their Edge Computing journey is Isolated. At this level, the capabilities include digitally enabled assets that exist at a single site, with static operation and time-based maintenance schedules. The focus is on individual assets that are managed manually, including data collection. It requires high labor intensity with on-site staff, which is mainly from the OT side of the business, due to the need for direct monitoring of physical assets. On the technology side, there is no connectivity, with closed or proprietary applications running on IPCs with basic physical security safeguards. Often, these systems have been pieced together over time to meet individual project requirements, but there is no consolidated overview or dashboard for monitoring status. This makes management difficult, producing less actionable data, and limiting real-time decision making.

One step to the right along the path towards the Invisible Enterprise is Informed. At this level, capabilities include connected assets grouped together at a single location. Like the Isolated level, the maintenance is still based on a timed schedule and requires manual intervention, but there is a little more flexibility in the operational setup. However, there are still challenges and often there is a choice between optimizing productivity or quality, not both. This is due to the fact that labor needs are still quite high, with a lot of hands-on management and decision making. On the positive side, there is more interoperability, with virtualized servers providing some real-time capabilities. In addition, there are some security measures, mainly air-gap, which keeps data safe by not connecting machines to the Internet while allowing them to connect to other machines at the same physical location.

Looking at these first two levels of the Edge Computing Maturity Model, it may seem daunting to really achieve the goal of an invisible enterprise. But by breaking it down into categories and evaluating your current infrastructure, you can develop a step-by-step plan. In our next installment, we’ll take a look at the Insightful and Intelligent levels of the maturity model and how they can help you achieve the Invisible Enterprise.