Many companies today are rapidly adopting new technologies and tools to improve overall efficiencies, improve customer and client experiences, and support key initiatives that are related to business transformation. However, these efforts, while necessary, bring with them growing pains for the workforce.

As our global technologies transform, so must our teams. What we have discovered in implementing emerging technology at U.S. Bank over the years is that effectively deploying and making use of new tools requires a skilled and diverse workforce and a technology team with a strong engineering culture to support it.

Banking on technology and people

The largest technology investment for U.S. Bank came in 2022 when we announced Microsoft Azure as our primary cloud service provider. This move accelerated our ongoing technology transformation, part of which includes migrating more than two-thirds of our application footprint to the cloud by 2025. Harnessing the power of cloud is just one of many ways that technology is enabling our organization to bring products and services to our clients faster, while enhancing our operations’ scalability, resiliency, stability, and security.

The technology transformation at U.S. Bank is also focused on adopting a more holistic approach to both external and internal talent pipelines. Diversity is a key component of our team building because true innovation and problem-solving comes from people with different perspectives. To attract new, diverse talent to join our team, we supplement traditional recruitment methods with proactive techniques that help build our company’s reputation as a leader in technology and to give back to our community.

For example, we’re positioning some of our top subject matter experts at relevant conferences and councils to share lessons learned from our transformation journey and we’re engaging with educational programs, like Girls Who Code, Summit Academy, and Minneapolis Community and Technical College to both develop and recruit diverse talent.

Our top workforce priority, however, is retaining our current team and equipping them with the skills they’ll need today and in the future. Because technology changes so quickly, we have adopted a continuous learning mindset where our teams embed learning into their everyday responsibilities and see it as an investment in themselves. To do that, we created a strategy that focuses on four key areas: an employee’s time, establishing a personal plan, providing effective learning tools, and offering ways to apply what is learned. 

1. Time: Establishing a flexible learning environment

We created an environment and performance goals that encourage our technology teams to regularly dedicate time to continuous learning. Each member of my leadership team operates a different type of technology team with different priorities, work schedules, and deadlines, so they are empowered to decide how to create the time and space for their employees to achieve their learning goals. Some have opted to block all employees’ calendars during certain times of the month, and others leave it to their individual manager-employee relationships to determine what works best. We’ve found that, by empowering each team to make these decisions, our teammates are more likely to complete their learning goals.

2. Plan: Growing skillsets and knowledge

Just investing the time doesn’t necessarily mean our teams will develop the right skills. So, we created a program we call “Grow Your Knowledge,” where managers and employees have ongoing skills-related discussions to better understand employees’ current skills, skill interests, and potential skill gaps. This helps them collaboratively create a personalized development plan. We’re also able to use the information to help us measure impact and provide insights on new trainings we may need to meet a common skill gap.

3. Tools: Learning paths and programs

We assembled a cross-functional team of external consultants, HR representatives, learning and development experts, and technical professionals to develop the Tech Academy — a well-curated, one-stop shop for modern tech learning at U.S. Bank. This resource designed to support our teams to learn specific technical, functional, leadership, and power skills that are needed to drive current initiatives. Employees can take advantage of persona-aligned learning paths, targeted skill development programs, and experiential learning. We even developed a Modern Technology Leadership Development Program for managers to help them better understand how to support their teams through this transformation.

4. Application: Putting experiential learning into practice

Providing experiential opportunities where employees can further build their skills by practicing them is an essential part of our strategy. Right now, we offer programs such as certification festivals, hackathons, code-a-thons, bootcamps, and other communities of practice for our teammates to hone their newly acquired skills in psychologically and technologically safe, yet productive settings.

Our certification festival, called CERT-FEST, is our most successful experiential learning program so far. We leverage our own teammates to train others in a cohort-learning environment for eight weeks. To date, our employees have obtained several thousand Microsoft Azure certifications. Hackathons and code-a-thons take that certification to the next level by allowing our technology teammates to partner with the business in a friendly, competitive environment. The winning teams at this event build solutions for new products or services that meet a real business or client need.

Learn today for the needs of tomorrow

Since we’ve started this continuous learning journey with our teams, we’re seeing higher employee engagement, an increase in our team’s reported skills and certifications, and a stronger technology-to-business connection across U.S. Bank. These efforts have also shifted our employee culture to acknowledge that working in technology means you will always be learning and growing.

Finding new, more effective ways to address the ever-shifting needs of our customers will always be a priority. But in a continuous learning environment the question we now always ask is, “What do I need to know today, to learn today, to do my job better tomorrow?” This has been the driving force behind our success in growing, retaining, and motivating our technology workforce.

Financial Services Industry, IT Training 

Traditionally, content delivery networks (CDNs) were used to cache files close to consumers, enabling media publishers to stream video and gaming software to customers as quickly as possible, and allowing high-stakes web application providers to deliver web pages equally fast.

Eventually, application and content owners found these networks had use beyond caching that enabled digital experiences to be better, safer, and more personalized and profitable. The market responded with edge platforms, an evolution of CDNs that can handle the compute and data workloads that were historically the domain of data centers and clouds. Edge platforms are now a fundamental part of every consumer-facing business’s digital stack.

How does this evolution from traditional CDN to an Edge platform help businesses and improve consumer experiences?

Benefit 1: holistic security protection

With the proliferation of on-premise, cloud, and SaaS systems, technology leaders are struggling to protect an increasingly diverse and expanding attack surface area from bad actors. Further, leaders often tend to overcompensate by implementing chains of security solutions, creating single points of failure, and adding latency and performance bottlenecks between security layers. Given that the average web page generates 65-70 requests on mobile and desktop, and latency accumulates with every page, performance, in turn, is negatively impacted.

The distributed nature of modern applications across multiple clouds, on-prem data centers, and SaaS tools means that the traditional notion of a security perimeter is no longer applicable. To ensure holistic protection, organizations must adopt an edge-enabled solution that can be present across all these environments, otherwise, routing all traffic through a central office using VPNs can cause undesirable latencies and network costs.

By moving security to the edge – in front of cloud providers, application, and storage servers – your infrastructure and data is protected wherever it lives.

Benefit 2: increased consumer experience with speed and AI-driven personalization

Generally, the closer you can move compute to the user, the faster your application will be. Edge computing enables companies to push components of web applications down to the edge of the network and even into the consumer’s device, speeding up page loads on web and mobile devices.

To do so requires intelligent predictive prefetching, which anticipates what actions, data or content the consumer will need next, and pushes the info to their browser or mobile device in anticipation of the request. This effectively makes web pages and mobile screens load instantly.

In addition to speed, the edge can be the ideal layer to implement personalization informed by first-party data or AI algorithms. Organizations can use the knowledge of their end users’ preferences, keywords searches, and geolocation to display products that are relevant to the user in real time.

Benefit 3: reduced costs

Nearly 75% of executives consider edge computing a strategic investment, in part due to the lower cost of bandwidth. Edge computing allows local data centers to crunch their own data instead of sending it to a central data center or the cloud. By processing locally, the amount of transmitted data across the network is greatly reduced, resulting in less bandwidth and connectivity.

Remote servers or data centers act independently, regardless of outages or connectivity to the central data center. Removing dependency on a central network allows digital businesses to be more available and agile in constantly changing markets.


To realize true cost savings from the edge requires a balanced approach. Sometimes, it’s more efficient to compute a workload in the cloud and cache it to multiple edge nodes, instead of having all nodes execute redundant work. That’s why it’s important to use a holistic application platform, such that of Edgio’s, that allows you intelligently leverage the capabilities of both the cloud and edge for peak performance and cost optimization.


Edge platforms are taking the market share of traditional CDNs and cloud providers for their wider range of use cases and advanced capabilities. Businesses are improving their security posture, performance, and consumer experiences, while reducing overall costs from edge compute and AI capabilities, real-time responses, and intelligent migration of workloads.

Edgio is a global edge network with an integrated developer-friendly platform designed to offer the highest levels of performance and protection for digital content, boosting overall revenue and business value.

Digital Transformation

India-based Games24x7, a digital-first company, believes that “the best gaming experiences are created at the intersection of entertainment and science.” With a portfolio spanning skill games (RummyCircle), fantasy sports (My11Circle), and casual games (U Games), the company banks firmly on technology to build a highly scalable gaming infrastructure that serves more than 100 million registered users across platforms.

In a conversation with, Games 24×7 CTO Rajat Bansal throws light on the importance of hyperpersonalization in gaming and how the company is manifesting creative ideas for gamers by leveraging cutting-edge technology, including data science and AI.

The success of a game hinges on meeting the players’ needs and expectations. How do you ensure this through technology?

Bansal: We believe that the most important thing is to understand the users as early as possible in their gaming lifecycle. The success of a game depends on two factors: content and the delivery of that content. This is where hyperpersonalization assists in meeting player needs and expectations. The concept of hyperpersonalization is picking up pace across the globe. In a diverse country like India, there are multiple demographic factors, like region, age, and more, that affect users’ preferences and consumption behavior. When this variation is combined with a player’s individual preferences, a totally different level of hyperpersonalization is achieved.

The personalization journey begins from the moment a user enters the game. When players are served offers based on their profiles and preferences, our data science models help us identify their inclinations and preferences. For instance, two players from the same demography may have significantly different skills and so their expectations from the game will be different.

We leverage artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics to offer a hyperpersonalized, immersive, and entertaining gameplay experience to our users at every stage of their gaming journey in real-time.

Given that the player load can fluctuate greatly, how do you ensure your platforms are able to handle sudden spikes in player load?

Bansal: Games24x7 has a highly scalable gaming infrastructure that serves more than 100 million registered users across platforms. With a strong passion for cricket in India, user engagement on fantasy sports platform My11Circle is high, especially during the IPL [Indian Premier League]. However, our focus on technology and the models we spoke of earlier, allow us to preempt and prepare. For managing increase in workloads and user base, we have created a complete science-driven automated scaling pipeline. Given the nature of business, there are spikes for special events like IPL. To take care of such situations, we leverage data science for forecasting load at match-level and using this forecast to proactively scale up/down our fleet in a completely hands-off-the-wheel way.

There are safety risks associated with gaming. What tools/solutions have you deployed to offer a safe and immersive experience?

Bansal: We also use AI to assess gameplay patterns. Our sophisticated models can identify a deviation from the right gameplay at any given stage of the game. Such deviations are immediately flagged.

Some of the AI tools that we integrate to deliver an immersive, safe, and entertaining game play include data ETL and feature preparation pipeline for capturing user behavior for responsible game play; explainable AI for actions based on the results; domain expert-based rule engine for checking behavior patterns over time, money, and urge to play; local expert for wallet recharge patterns and game entry fees; counselling process for reporting accurate gameplay status; cognitive neuroscience for mapping telemetric data; sequential modelling for journey and evolution of users; reinforcement learning for hyperpersonalization; procedural content generation for generating content as per level; and computer vision for art, design, content, and creatives to make games exciting. 

Data is the key for making informed decisions and building customer experiences. What’s your strategy for democratizing and managing data?

Bansal: For any data-driven organization like us, the consistent and reliable flow of data across people, teams, systems, and business functions is crucial to an organization’s survival and ability to innovate. At Games24x7, we see data management as all disciplines related to managing data and it includes collecting, processing, governing, sharing, analyzing it — and all of this in a cost-efficient and reliable manner.

Depending on the use cases, we are using two platforms for data management. We have adopted Databricks as a data management platform for all our hourly/daily data processing, analysis, and reporting. Generally, this covers most of our current data consumption and analysis and it is very mature. We use Tableau as our visualization tool on top of Databricks for all business users to make informed decisions on the fly.

We have also built a data-as-a-service (DaaS) platform for all our real-time/near real-time data processing and inferencing needs for hyperpersonalization use cases. This platform is built and managed by our own data engineering team.

This free-flowing access to data results in providing customized user journeys at every step. For example, it enables the marketing team to provide offers based on customer preferences, the product team to come up with new, innovative meta games, and the science team to provide responsible game play models.

What are your future business and technology plans? 

Bansal: We are continuously investing in new technologies and business intelligence systems to analyze players’ behavior, customize their gameplay, and provide them with the most intuitive and safe gameplay experience. We are also working on developing fresh and unique content revolving around casual gaming business. We are looking forward to diversifying our skill gaming portfolio and building new and robust gaming platforms for our users. As we grow our technological capabilities, we will invest in other synergistic platforms to facilitate increased accessibility of online gaming in India.

Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation

This May, Thoughtworks is proud to celebrate 30 years of helping their clients across the world to build the modern digital businesses of the future through the application of strategy, technology and design. Since launching in 1993, Thoughtworks is now over 12,500 people strong with 50 offices in 18 countries.

Thirty years of leadership in any industry is a remarkable accomplishment. But especially in the rapidly changing technology industry, it demonstrates a relentless, company-wide commitment to innovation and client impact.

“It’s about more than just luck for us,” said Chris Murphy, Thoughtworks’ CEO of North America. “We’ve built into our culture this ability to proactively stay ahead of the industry, by attracting, growing, and retaining the passionate, diverse technologists who want to bring that thought leadership to our industry, to our clients, and to society.”

Murphy, who’s been with Thoughtworks for almost 20 years, has seen much of this growth firsthand. Thoughtworks was an early pioneer of agile software development, and has been fundamental to multiple industry innovations including CI/CD, microservices, evolutionary architectures, infrastructure as code, lean portfolio management, and data-mesh. They have helped hundreds of businesses to use technology to build leaner, more responsive, and more adaptive organizations.

“We’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘Are we still relevant? Are we still innovating? Are we still continuing to bring unique, differentiating value to our clients?’” Murphy said. “And I’m proud to say that as long as we’re asking ourselves those questions, we’ll be able to see over the next 30 years the success we’ve seen over the last 30.”

Most recently, Thoughtworks launched its Engineering Effectiveness solution, which helps businesses empower their software engineering teams to deliver more customer value, more efficiently and more effectively.

“Since the pandemic, many organizations have invested in top-notch engineering talent but they’re seeing dwindling productivity,” Murphy said. “Now, how can they empower and retain that talent while delivering more customer value, more quickly, and with less wasted time? How can they improve the developer experience? These are just a few of the areas where Engineering Effectiveness can help.”

In Thoughtworks’ experience, some organizations utilize as little as 30% of their engineering function’s optimum capacity. Engineering Effectiveness helps developers to spend more of their time delivering value, while reducing friction and waste in their workflows. “This, to me, is really the next evolution of agile,” Murphy said. “It’s this systematic, scalable way of increasing productivity, so you can be nimble and get to market faster.”

Murphy now looks forward to the next 30 years — and beyond — of Thoughtworks industry innovation and thought leadership. As he said, “There’s no room for complacency. With the industry changing so quickly, organizations like Thoughtworks must continue to innovate and adapt.”

Of course, no one can predict exactly what the future will bring. But Thoughtworks plans to be there for it — continuing to innovate and lead technology-led business transformation.

“Thoughtworks has a 30-year history of providing a curated understanding of technological evolutions and applying them in real, practical terms to get real, practical outcomes,” Murphy said. “Our continued focus on that will give us the best opportunity to be at the forefront of embracing new technological changes as they come. And I think that’s very exciting.” Learn more about how to accelerate business-wide transformation with Engineering Effectiveness.

Digital Transformation, Innovation

From quality control to revenue growth and workplace safety, digital transformation strengthens almost every aspect of the business. Those who fail to keep up with the pace of digital technology run serious risks of falling behind. 

To fully leverage digital transformation, businesses today are turning to edge computing. Edge computing allows you to process data at the edge of the network, closer to the source of the data, instead of sending it to a centralized location like a datacenter or the cloud. By keeping sensitive data on-site, edge computing enables faster data processing, reduces bandwidth usage, and enhances data security. Yet, edge deployment remains a complex endeavor, with numerous choices and decisions to be made, the benefits of which are often unclear. 

Reliable, secure, and customizable network solutions are at the heart of edge computing success. With constant improvements taking shape across wired, 4G, and 5G standards, and with public and private options also available, what are the real benefits of each and how do they compare against one another? We are also hearing more about private 5G networks at the edge. What advantages does it provide for edge applications and is it the best short- and long-term choice for every enterprise? These are just a few questions that arise when determining how best to simplify and maximize edge investments.

Bill Pfeifer, who leads Messaging and Thought Leadership for the Dell Technologies Edge team, and Stephen Foster, a product manager within the Edge business unit at Dell Technologies, recently discussed these key issues. 

Bill Pfeifer


Foster has significant knowledge of connectivity technologies and how they can enhance business outcomes, from both an IT and telecom network perspective. 

Meanwhile Pfeifer’s focus is on distilling the complexity of the edge into simple messages that are immediately useful so that customers can succeed as they build, grow and simplify their edges.

Bill: We have all been seeing non-stop hype throughout the industry about the magic of 5G and how it’s going to change the world, but often, the conversation seems to follow the track that “it will be faster than 4G.” While faster is a good step in connectivity evolution, it is hardly a revolution. Can you explain what 5G is all about, beyond just being faster? 

Stephen: 5G offers many advantages over its predecessor, 4G. Beyond just speed, 5G networks are driving innovation and new applications across a wide range of industries. 

Bill: So those benefits apply to 5G across the board, but I am also hearing lots about how private 5G is on the rise. Also, private 4G, so – how is private wireless notably different or better for enterprise edge deployments?

Stephen: Private wireless has been growing over the years, beginning with 4G, and now moving to 5G. In the early days, it may have just been limited to a shared or dedicated radio serving a single enterprise but, with private 5G, we have a couple of options for keeping the data entirely within the enterprise to take full advantage of the very low latency and data security. 

One option enabled by 5G networking is the deployment of MEC. MEC stands for Multiaccess Edge Computing, which is a 5G-defined technology that enables computing resources to be located at the edge of a network, closer to the end users and devices at the enterprise location. MEC is often deployed as part of the communication service provider’s public 5G network, but it allows for private processing of data either on-premises at an enterprise or nearby on dedicated hardware.

The second option is Standalone Private wireless. Here, the complete cellular network is deployed within the enterprise location. There is no connection to the public network. The management of the network is completely under control of the enterprise including SIM management. Standalone Private solutions started with 4G, but most new ones are using 5G technology.

In either case, Private 5G Wireless networks enable support for challenging use cases and business processes that are restricted in public networks.

Bill: We are also seeing tech refreshes across other connectivity types – wired connections are faster than ever, Bluetooth is great for short-range connectivity, and NFC (near field communication) means we rarely have to swipe our credit cards anymore. But related more closely to this topic is WiFi6. Enterprises the world over have Wi-Fi installed, and it sounds like WiFi6 is a notable enhancement, too. Can you tell us what to expect there?

Stephen: If you have things or people that are moving around the enterprise or if they are difficult or expensive to reach, then the choices come down to Wi-Fi or Private 5G wireless. WiFi6 shares many technology attributes with 5G. Typically, private 5G wireless complements Wi-Fi – they both have a role within the enterprise.

The main differences between private 5G and Wi-Fi include:

Range: Private 5G has a much wider range than Wi-Fi, which means that it can provide connectivity over a much larger area. Private 5G can cover an area of several kilometers, while Wi-Fi is typically limited to a range of a few hundred feet. Serving a large area with Wi-Fi will require many access points to operate and maintain. 

Capacity: Private 5G has much greater capacity than Wi-Fi, which means that it can support a much larger number of devices and data-intensive applications. Private 5G can support up to one million devices per square kilometer, while Wi-Fi is typically limited to a few hundred devices per access point.

Security: Private 5G provides stronger security than Wi-Fi, with better encryption and authentication mechanisms. This is particularly important for enterprises that are dealing with sensitive data or operating in high-security environments.

Reliability: Private 5G is more reliable than Wi-Fi, with better coverage and fewer dropped connections. This is achieved through technologies such as beamforming and network slicing, which enable the network to allocate resources more efficiently.

Bill: So, bringing those points together, do you have thoughts on when a typical enterprise might want private wireless vs. Wi-Fi? Can you describe a few scenarios where someone might prefer one over the other and explain why, so that we can start to understand how they really compare?

Stephen: In general, the drivers for going with private 4G/5G wireless vs. Wi-Fi are the need for a more secure solution, more predictable performance including lower latency, throughput and coverage, and the need for large and bounded geographical coverage areas, like factories, shipping ports, airports, and mining areas. Many of these areas, especially outdoor ones, are incompatible with Wi-Fi. Even indoor areas like large factories or warehouses cannot always be predictably reached by Wi-Fi. Think of reliable connections to automate guided vehicles within a factory or locate shipping containers at a port. 

Another difference to consider is the interference in the spectrum. Wi-Fi operates in an unlicensed spectrum and is often prone to interference. Private 5G wireless operates in licensed spectrum and is very well suited for mission-critical applications. Coverage, reliability, and predictability are a few of the major factors influencing the choice of private 5G wireless. 

Bill: To wrap up this conversation, could you give a quick summary of key considerations that folks should be making? Let’s say we’re talking to a typical enterprise organization that has a legacy wired network and is looking to move to Wi-Fi, or public 5G, or private 4G/5G – I’m sure none of them are a one-size-fits-all solution, so what are the key points to consider when trying to decide which technology to use?

Stephen: When enterprises are considering an upgrade from a legacy wired network, they should consider several factors, including coverage, bandwidth and speed, latency, security, cost, and customization. To choose the right wireless technology, enterprises must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of Wi-Fi and private 5G. Wi-Fi is the most cost-effective option, but it may not be the most secure and may not offer adequate range. 

On the other hand, private 5G provides wider coverage, higher speeds, flexibility in coverage, and strong security features. Private 5G networks offer the lowest latency, which is essential for applications that require real-time response. Ultimately, the choice between Wi-Fi and private 5G depends on the specific needs and requirements of the enterprise.

It is important to note that the networking options of Private 5G and Wi-Fi are just one piece of the puzzle in achieving a total solution for the enterprise. Edge computing serves as a platform to support multiple enterprise applications, like computer vision, digital twins, AR/VR, and more. These applications play a crucial role in supporting various business outcomes, such as workforce productivity, operational efficiency, quality improvements, cost savings, workplace safety, and sustainability. 

Edge computing can help enterprises process data closer to the source, reducing latency and improving response times. By combining the capabilities of edge computing with the benefits of private 5G or Wi-Fi, we can build a comprehensive solution that meets specific needs for today while putting in place a robust foundation that supports the digital transformation journey.

And of course, Dell Technologies and Intel are always collaborating to help our customers succeed across a broad range of workloads at the edge, working with industry leaders and the open-source community to produce powerful, comprehensive solutions that are optimized to meet our customers’ needs today with the flexibility to address what comes next. Public and private wireless networks powered by Dell and Intel technologies help enterprises capitalize on 5G, MEC and edge computing, to further improve how businesses operate today, and tomorrow.

Bill: Great information, Stephen! Thanks for your time today, and for sharing your perspective and expertise. 

Learn more how Dell helps enterprises build a simpler edge with Private 5G and more


Bill currently leads Messaging and Thought Leadership for the Dell Technologies Edge team. His focus is on distilling the complexity of the edge into simple messages that are immediately useful so that customers can succeed as they build, grow and simplify their edges.

Edge Computing

Across the manufacturing industry, innovation is happening at the edge. Edge computing allows manufacturers to process data closer to the source where it is being generated, rather than sending it offsite to a cloud or data center for analysis and response. 

For an industry defined by machinery and supply chains, this comes as no surprise. The proliferation of smart equipment, robotics and AI-powered devices designed for the manufacturing sector underscores the value edge presents to manufacturers. 

Yet, when surveyed, a significant gap appears between organizations that recognize the value of edge computing (94%) and those who are currently running mature edge strategies (10%). Running edge devices and smart-manufacturing machines does not always mean there is a fully functioning edge strategy in place. 

Why the gap? 

What is holding back successful edge implementation in an industry that clearly recognizes its benefits?

The very same survey mentioned above suggests that complexity is to blame– with 85% of respondents saying that a simpler path to edge operations is needed. 

What specifically do these complexities consist of? Top among them is: 

Data security constraints: managing large volumes of data generated at the edge, maintaining adequate risk protections, and adhering to regulatory compliance policies creates edge uncertainty.Infrastructure decisions: choosing, deploying, and testing edge infrastructure solutions can be a complex, costly proposition. Components and configuration options vary significantly based on manufacturing environments and desired use casesOvercoming the IT/OT divide: barriers between OT (operational technology) devices on the factory floor and enterprise applications (IT) in the cloud limit data integration and time to value for edge initiatives. Seamless implementation of edge computing solutions is difficult to achieve without solid IT/OT collaboration in place.Lack of edge expertise: a scarcity of edge experience limits the implementation of effective edge strategies. The move to real-time streaming data, data management, and mission-critical automation has a steep learning curve.

Combined, these challenges are holding back the manufacturing sector today, limiting edge ROI (return on investment), time to market and competitiveness across a critical economic sector. 

As organizations aspire toward transformation, they must find a holistic approach to simplifying—and reaping the benefits of — smart factory initiatives at the edge.

Build a Simpler Edge 

What does a holistic approach to manufacturing edge initiatives look like? It begins with these best practices: 

Start with proven technologies to overcome infrastructure guesswork and obtain a scalable, unified edge architecture that ingests, stores, and analyzes data from disparate sources in near-real time and is ready to run advanced smart-factory applications in a matter of days, not weeks. Deliver IT and OT convergence by eliminating data silos between edge devices on the factory floor (OT) and enterprise applications in the cloud (IT), rapidly integrating diverse data types for faster time to value Streamline the adoption of edge use cases with easy and quick deployment of new applications, such as machine vision for improved production quality and digital twin composition for situational modeling, monitoring, and simulationScale securely using proven security solutions that protect the entire edge estate, from IT to OT. Strengthen industrial cybersecurity using threat detection, vulnerability alerts, network segmentation, and remote incident managementEstablish a foundation for future innovation with edge technologies that scale with your business, are easily configured to adopt new use cases— like artificial intelligence, machine learning and private 5G— that minimize the complexity that holds manufacturers back from operating in the data age.

Don’t go it alone

The best way to apply these practices is to start with a tested solution designed specifically for manufacturing edge applications. Let your solution partner provide much of the edge expertise your organization may not possess internally. A partner who has successfully developed, tested and deployed edge manufacturing solutions for a wide variety of use cases will help you avoid costly mistakes and reduce time to value along the way. 

You don’t need to be an industry expert to know that the manufacturing sector is highly competitive and data-driven. Every bit of information, every insight matters and can mean the difference between success or failure. 

Product design and quality, plant performance and safety, team productivity and retention, customer preferences and satisfaction — are all contained in your edge data. Your ability to access and understand that data depends entirely on the practices you adopt today. 

Digitally transforming edge operations is essential to maintaining and growing your competitive advantage moving forward.

A trusted advisor at the edge

Dell has been designing and testing edge manufacturing solutions for over a decade, with customers that include EricssonMcLarenLinde and the Laboratory for Machine Tools at Aachen University

You can learn more about our approach to edge solutions for the manufacturing sector, featuring Intel® Xeon® processors, at Dell Manufacturing Solutions. The latest 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors have built-in AI acceleration for edge workloads – with up to 10x higher PyTorch real-time inference performance with built-in Intel® Advanced Matrix Extensions (Intel® AMX) (BF16) vs. the prior generation (FP32)1.

See [A17] at 4th Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors. Results may vary.

Edge Computing

Traditional IT security methods are increasingly flawed and the volume and sophistication of threats continue to increase. According to NETSCOUT, one DDoS attack occurs every three seconds, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recently added 66 new vulnerabilities to its Known Exploited Vulnerabilities Catalog, with new common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) growing over 25% year-over-year in 2022. New security methods delivered at the edge of the network, closer to the customer, are emerging as a more effective method for combating the increase in security threats.  

Latest cybersecurity threats expose flaws in traditional security methods

Let’s consider two methods of security for customer data: firewalls and cloud storage. Firewalls are not well suited to protect against modern threats. They’re meant to protect IT infrastructure, servers, and databases. However, when companies only use this security method it’s like leaving the doors and windows of your home open, without motion detectors, alarms, or other safeguards.

Cloud-based storage, while protecting data from local (user-level) loss or destruction, is increasingly attractive to nefarious third parties. According to IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, 45% of data breaches occurred in the cloud. Think about your data center firewall as a safe inside your home, where highly sensitive data is kept. It’s a singular line of defense that, if broken, can be extremely costly. In fact, the average data breach costs $4.3M. If network downtime is involved, it can cost you $9,000 per minute.

The value of edge security

Edge security encompasses a large area that includes more sophisticated barriers, like the gate to your community and alarms on your windows. If a threat is detected, you’re alerted in real-time and can deploy rules instantly at scale with higher accuracy. Edge security products are also more advanced, leveraging AI and other tools to react intelligently to threats. 

For example, edge security products are designed to identify and mitigate various types of attacks that target customer-specific systems and data, such as robust botnet attacks, zero-day threats, credential stuffing, CVEs, or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. It’s even possible to identify bots that attempt to mimic human interactions by leveraging AI/ML and traffic behavioral modeling. This level of security cannot be found outside the edge. 

Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), India’s leading stock exchange, implemented edge security and now detects threats in real-time, deploys security rules in under 60 seconds and has cut infrastructure costs by more than 50%.

Users have come to expect data privacy everywhere they go. If their trust is lost, consider it a breakup. According to PCI Pal, 83% of consumers will stop spending with an organization immediately after a security breach–and over 21% of those consumers will never return. Edge security products add an additional layer of security, even on top of your cached content, and provide another layer of proven security for third-party SaaS/PaaS partners you depend on. 

Improve SecOps productivity by adding security at the edge

Integrating security operations into the edge also makes it possible to implement safe updates across global domains in minutes. Mature edge products allow you to A/B test or perform virtual patches for all changes by previewing modifications in an audit mode so the impact of the change can be understood before it is applied. Instead of deploying a change and then identifying an error, you can quickly validate or iterate until you see the desired impact, reducing overhead. This is especially important for zero-day exploits where you need to react quickly without jeopardizing business operations. 

Take action

Security attacks are increasing in frequency and could happen to your organization at any time–don’t wait to take action. Consider solutions that incorporate a variety of edge security components. First, protect your physical network using PCI DSS end-to-end encryption. You should also protect your data against Origin attacks using DDoS protection, Origin shield, and DNS Management. Finally, protect your applications with WAAP, Bot Management, and Layer 7 DDoS protection that also shields your APIs.  

Edgio, a leader in edge security, will examine your specific environment and tune our solution to meet your needs. Edgio manages all layers of traffic protection using access control, API security, rate limiters, advanced bot management, custom rules, and managed rules to ensure your security operations team can not only quickly react but also proactively take action against security threats. Learn more about Edgio


Blackhawk Network is shaping the future of global branded payments — from QR code payment solutions and retail gift card programs to tailored incentives and reward programs. 

The Silicon Valley-based company has been expanding its global footprint through numerous creative acquisitions. While each brought a wealth of benefits, the acquired companies’ existing processes and platforms challenged Blackhawk Network’s ability to optimize and scale its go-to-market strategy. 

To address this issue, Blackhawk turned to TCS. With its extensive cloud experience, TCS transformed Blackhawk’s ERP and CRM systems in tandem, enabling the sales of one set of solutions and services to a global customer base at scale.  

In this case study, Blackhawk Network’s Cara Renfroe joins Tata Consultancy Services’ Rakesh Kumar and Nilendu Pattanaik to explain how TCS transformed the gift card company’s customer engagement and global operations on Microsoft Cloud.  

Read more. 

Cloud Computing, Financial Services Industry, IT Leadership

The retail industry is transforming rapidly. Modern retailers rely heavily on automation for managing inventory, shelf design, customer service, and logistics. Video cameras and sensors that allow for unique store design help to enhance the customer experience. Technology is truly powering retail transformation, setting modern stores apart from traditional brick-and-mortar ones.

It is no easy feat sending all these video streams and sensor data to the cloud for real-time analysis. High bandwidth is required to move heavy data streams. So is low latency for quick data processing and decision making, especially when robotics is involved. 

This is where edge computing and edge-native applications become relevant for retail stores. They allow computing to occur closer to the source of data–right inside the store. Coupled with a private 5G communication network, retailers can deploy cost-effective and high performing ‘edge-native’ applications.

At the same time, companies must maintain secure environments and prevent fraud. According to a recent Microsoft blog, organizations can use security and compliance solutions in Microsoft 365 E5 to have visibility into their threat landscape and leverage built-in AI and machine learning in Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft Defender for Cloud to proactively manage threats and reduce alert fatigue.

Read the full blog post to learn more.

Cloud Computing, Retail Industry

Private 5G is the next evolution of networking for mission-critical applications used in factories, logistics centers and hospitals. In fact,  any environment that needs the reliability, security and speed of a wired connection combined with the movement of people, things and data.

The element of movement is often a factor in Industry 4.0 digital transformation – and that’s where private 5G shines.

Private 5G is deployed as an extension of an organization’s WAN. It’s fast, secure, reliable and has low latency. You can rely on it to transmit data. But if you don’t have a computing resource at the edge where the data is collected to create actionable intelligence in real time, you’re missing out on revolutionary possibilities.

Edge computing brings out the real potential of private 5G

Bringing managed private 5G together with managed edge computing enables businesses to analyze situations in the now – no more waiting for data to be collected (often a slow process) and sent to a data center to be processed first.

In manufacturing, this combined-platform approach quickly delivers the right information to where decisions have to be made: the factory floor. This has implications for everything from an evolutionary increase in productivity and quality, to greater flexibility and customization.

Organizations also have to control data sovereignty, ownership and location. Private 5G can protect data by ensuring that all traffic remains on-premises.

While private 5G is a powerful tool, use cases make it exciting

If you switch to private 5G, it helps to avoid Wi-Fi access-point proliferation as well as blind spots in monitoring, as asset-based sensors can collect and transmit huge volumes of data quickly, and we can achieve indoor-positioning accuracy of less than one meter.

It’s also a much simpler exercise to reconfigure connectivity between devices and improve the timing and synchronization of data feeds from sensors.

Last year, Cisco’s Strategic Execution Office ran a study on private 5G in collaboration with Deloitte, titled “Vertical Use Cases Offer Development”, which delves into the main applications of private 5G through use cases.

They found that the highest demand for private 5G is in the manufacturing, logistics and government industries. Their findings match our experience, as these are the sectors in which NTT’s Private 5G and Edge as a Service are most in demand.

Moving from broad themes to specific applications

The study identified four themes: enabling hybrid connectivity; activation and policy setup for varied sensor profiles; advanced intelligence with private 5G and the edge-computing stack; and integrated app and infrastructure to enable business outcomes.

NTT’s experience has taught us that these themes can be translated into five main areas of application:

Group wireless communications (push-to-talk) enable workers to communicate across locations, with real-time location tracking.Private 5G supports augmented reality and virtual reality, allowing for self-assist, work-assist, and remote-assist capabilities.Private 5G makes real-time connectivity and control possible for autonomous guided vehicles.Computer vision for automatic video surveillance, inspection and guidance is faster and more efficient on a private 5G network.Connected devices can remain reliably and securely connected to the enterprise network throughout the work shift without relying on Wi-Fi or portable hot spots.

Exploring the difference 5G will make in manufacturing

The study also explores how private 5G can optimize assets and processes in manufacturing, assembly, testing, and storage facilities. Private 5G allows for faster and more precise asset tracking, system monitoring, and real-time schedule and process optimization using location and event data from sensors and factory systems.

The research provides two examples of private 5G use cases in factories:

Factory asset intelligence: Traceability from parts to product, with increased sensor enablement across manufacturing, assembly and testing sitesDynamic factory scheduling: Closed-loop control and safety applications enabled by real-time actuation, sensor fusion and dynamic process schedules.

As we continue to explore the potential of private 5G, it is clear that this technology has the power to transform the manufacturing industry and pave the way for a more efficient and effective future.

To find out more about the use cases private 5G unlocks and how they can offer business benefits, download NTT’s white paper: Smart manufacturing: accelerating digital transformation with private 5G networks and edge computing.

Edge Computing, Manufacturing Industry, Manufacturing Systems, Private 5G