Rings integration Image credit Pixabay/The DigitalArtistNTT Data and Schneider Electric have announced a strategic partnership and introduced a new solution at Mobile World Congress. The solution combines Edge, Private 5G, IOT, and Modular Data Centres. It will enable organizations to support generative AI applications at the edge.

The solution combines NTT DATA’s Edge as a Service, which includes fully managed Edge to Cloud, Private 5G, and IoT capabilities, with Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure. This modular data centre fuses OT solutions with the latest in IT technologies. The combination ensures that organisations can build an end-to-end solution that meets the compute needs they face in an energy-efficient way. The modular data centres can be scaled up to meet the demand of compute-intensive tasks. Such as machine vision, predictive maintenance, and other AI inferencing applications at the edge.

Shahid Ahmed, Executive Vice President, New Ventures & Innovation at NTT - Image credit, LinkedIn
Shahid Ahmed, Executive Vice President, New Ventures & Innovation at NTT

Shahid Ahmed, EVP New Ventures, and Innovation at NTT Ltd, commented, “We’ve listened to our customers and know that processing vast amount of data generated by edge devices is where the future of digital transformation lies. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we have the solution to meet these obstacles and are ready to lead the way towards a more connected and efficient digital world. We are thrilled at the prospect of what our continued collaboration with Schneider Electric means for the industrial and other sectors.”

Two successes already and…

As one might expect from NTT, the companies are not offering this without proof points. NTT first introduced Private 5G in 2021, rolling it out across Cologne Bonn Airport and several other locations. The new joint solution was first developed at Schneider Electric’s Lexington Smart Factory. That location became a showcase for the new solution combining Private 5G, IoT connectivity, edge analytics, and predictive analytics to drive energy efficiency and further sustainability goals.

The first customer of the Private 5G enabled deployment of an EcoStruxure Data Centre is at Marienpark Berlin. The intent is to deliver a next-generation innovation park. The park spans 74 acres and will deliver enhanced connectivity and compute experience for organisations that are set up there. Marienpark already hosts companies that include Deloitte, Brewdog and NTT.

Guido Schütte, Managing Director, Marienpark Berlin, commented, “Today’s innovation ecosystems in Marienpark increasingly depend on specific technological infrastructures. Easy-to-access computational power combined with advanced connectivity are a key issue. We need an innovative environment with such an infrastructure to satisfy future user demands of our community.”

More to come from NTT and Schneider around Edge Compute?

NTT Data and Schneider will hope that other locations will follow. Recent research by NTT Data revealed that nearly 70% of enterprises are accelerating edge adoption to solve critical business challenges. It means that organisations can create the connectivity they need for all devices. Whether IoT, IIoT, or end-user devices, with edge computing enabling reduced bandwidth requirements for a WAN.

Rob McKernan, President, Cloud & Service Provider Segment at Schneider Electric, commented, “After leveraging NTT DATA’s expertise in Private 5G connectivity and then maximizing synergies with our EcoStruxure architecture in our facilities, it’s time to expand our collaboration and bring a complete solution to industrial customers.

“Together, we aim to assist global clients in adopting connected devices, specialized industrial solutions and the right edge computing infrastructure with modular Data Centres to gain valuable data insights, particularly in the context of IoT and emerging AI requirements.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Schneider and NTT Data have devised a solution that delivers an end-to-end infrastructure that will allow organisations to leverage edge computing. They will support automation at the edge that is faster and will enable rapid data-driven decision making. With a private 5G network on campus the challenges of seamless connectivity, high bandwidth, and a secure low latency are addressed. Processing power is available locally to deliver insights quickly and securely.

Camille Mendler, Chief Analyst, Enterprise Services, Omdia. Commented, “Industry 4.0 relies on actionable, data-driven intelligence delivered in real-time whether that be in a factory, an industrial park, an airport or an office campus. AI-enriched data already accounts for a third of enterprise network traffic, but it will dominate digital interactions by 2030. To profit from AI insights, enterprises must invest in digital resources at the edge, and the technology infrastructure that powers it, now.”

It is perhaps ironic that computing architecture seems to be going full circle yet again. Mainframes initially offered centralised computing. They were followed by decentralised PCs, which moved on to the benefits of the cloud. Now, in specific use cases, organisations are once again seeking a decentralised computing model.

What is interesting is that the two giants do not appear to have named the solution. They appear to have kept Private 5G and EcoStruxure distinct. Is this a deliberate move, or did they fail to reach a consensus about a new name? If this initiative is successful, it will be interesting to see whether a common name emerges. Whether it is from the partners or from customers.


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