Achieve Agility at the Edge

By Caroline Jacquet posted 09-21-2019 01:37

Hitachi and Cognizant tie digital and physical worlds together
Coauthored by: Phani Bhushan Sistu, CTO, Cognizant IoT and Engineering and
Paul Lewis Global VP and CTO, Hitachi Vantara,

A traditional manufacturer of water pumps eyed its boldest move yet: Mobile offerings that let industrial customers monitor and manage the company’s pumps, which are used in everything from municipal wastewater treatment to offshore oil and gas drilling. Meeting the goal, however, means processing data — in near real time — from its massive installed base.

To advance its vision, the pump manufacturer wanted to build an enterprise-wide data analytics platform that would serve as the core of its new business. Determining that the company’s existing IoT platform could not collect, process, and analyze the data needed, we designed an IoT platform that lessens the load by processing data “at the edge.”

What is data at the edge?

Edge computing processes data near the edge of a network where it is generated, rather than in a centralized location such as a traditional datacenter. Processing and managing data at the edge helps minimize latency, reduce storage needs for unwanted data and address data privacy and localization regulations. Because edge is where the physical action is, it allows organizations to access data from devices and perform a business or analytical function in real-time to immediately address the needs of the ever-dynamic physical world. As in the case above, capturing and processing sensor data immediately enables instant action that can reduce costs and protect reputation in the event of a disaster.
“Capturing and processing sensor data immediately enables instant action that can reduce costs and protect reputation in the event of a disaster.”
Phani Bhushan Sistu, CTO, Cognizant IoT and Engineering

Computing analytics at the edge makes sense anywhere a physical network is inaccessible, expensive or unreliable and can benefit nearly every industry. Take manufacturing, for example. Today’s plants use computers and computing capabilities to control individual machines, identify potential failures, manage production lines, and even operate entire plants. As buildings become smarter, edge computing enables facilities to optimize energy consumption and predict maintenance needs. Hospitals can use edge to improve patient safety and overall health as well as to track the thousands of assets they own to improve efficiency.

Connecting edge to edge, edge to core and edge to cloud, enables organizations to compute at scale and with flexibility to deliver the greatest value to the enterprise. The collaboration from edge to core to cloud is important, because while a small, discrete problem might be solved at the edge, there are few edge-exclusive use cases.  

“Connecting edge to edge, edge to core and edge to cloud, enables organizations to compute at scale and with flexibility to deliver the greatest value to the enterprise.” Paul Lewis, Global VP and CTO, Hitachi Vantara


Leveraging the three in unison provides greater access to data and more compute power to support it, which enables organizations to solve more complex, broader functions. It also creates data agility, which improves customer service, unlocks new revenue streams and enhances operational efficiency. However, there are challenges. While more data should produce greater insights, many organizations struggle to derive value from the data they collect and often voice privacy concerns when visual data is collected.

It is critical to have an edge to cloud strategy when you need to collect a variety of information from many sources and compute it not just at the edge but either in an internal datacenter or externally in the cloud – which requires federating data and dividing application and data settings across different dimensions. As regulatory, legal and contractual obligations within specific industries change the overall structure of cloud, we anticipate a massive verticalization of public clouds. Public cloud providers will extend services to the edge, creating ubiquitous compute and data platforms across entire environments. This will drive the relevant external ecosystems to operate in a single cloud to create lineage and enable tracking across multiple environments.

Edge deployment is vertical-centric, and there is little reuse of technology. Each use case requires different technologies, people and algorithms. For example, in a healthcare setting the technology and algorithms used to identify white blood cells are different from those used for fleet maintenance. Newly constructed facilities, such as airports are beginning to use Internet of Things (IoT) technologies as base platforms to enable runway, terminal and baggage system sensors to deliver a digital connection that is foundational to the physical environment. Other capabilities such as augmented reality and new 5G networks will profoundly improve edge implementations. When deploying edge, it is important to consider how the data you collect will be used, whether you have consent to use it, and to ensure safety first.

The Hitachi - Cognizant partnership helps organizations realize business benefits through adoption of digital technologies. The combination of IT and OT – marrying the physical and digital worlds – enables us to solve problems end-to-end to help you achieve agility at the edge.


We’re inviting business leaders to join us at the Hitachi NEXT conference and hear how companies are accelerating in their return on data. We’ll dive deeper into Agility at the Edge at our joint session on:

Thursday, Oct 10, 2019, 2:15-3:00 PM
MGM Hotel, Las Vegas
Deliver Agility at the Edge
Panelists: 451 Research, Hitachi Vantara, and Cognizant

See additional related blogs here: Is your Future a Dystopia or Utopia? by Paul Lewis; and Digital Transformation Requires an Agile Storage Infrastructure by Hu Yoshida.