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BIG DATA is Driving Edge Computing

Over 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last two years.  Can you believe that?  What’s more, the speed of that data harvesting is only increasing each year – and will continue that trend for our lifetime.

Data, unlike manufactured goods or other tangible items, is plentiful.  It’s also very cheap to store today.  Remember floppy disks, magnetic hard drives, etc?  We’ve come a long way.  I carry 64g storage in my camera on a component the size of a fat stamp!


So You Have Data – Now What?

The challenge for all of the existing and never-ending incoming data is utilization.  Business Intelligence (BI) is becoming more critical every day and is playing out in all avenues of our lives.

Leveraging and trusting BI over personal impressions and “gut feeling” has been evident in a number of examples in just the past couple of years:

  • Politics: Success in defining requirements and executing political activities around data has never been more evident than the successful outcomes in the 2008 Obama and 2016 Trump presidential campaigns.
  • Marketing: Nike’s controversial use of Colin Kaepernick in their ads – despite the emotion and conflict that stirred – continued to grow their revenues.
  • Sports: The investment by the Padres and Phillies in their $300M+ contracts ($40,000 for a strikeout is still tough for me to handle) for Machado and Harper has a positive impact on and off the field for them.

Each of us has many more stories of our own surrounding things that are closer to home – but similarly determined by analyzing our own data.  One thing is certain:  harvesting, storing, sorting and using data will only continue to grow as time moves on.


Getting to the Edge

The real question is how does all of this drive edge computing?  Most of data analytics is based on looking at huge pools of data and leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help us sort and organize and make sense of it.  Not surprisingly, that is also where much of the big money is going in an effort to help manage and use this ever-growing pile of data.

But what good is the outcome of this review and analytics it if the starting point is bad, dated or incomplete data?

HL Group has lived its life in the “execution world” of business and government, whether that execution is on the shop floor, the warehouse floor or in the office.  Our solutions have been built around harvesting data surrounding the activities of the workforce as those activities are taking place – then leveraging that data to improve quality and efficiency.  More and more of our work is now being leveraged into the BI of our customers.


Living on the Edge

Once you have improved and optimized operations, the next step in that journey is assembling this data into usable information for planning and future decisions.  This has never been more evident than what we see in the use of our mobilePLUS solution with fixed asset inventory work.

What started as a solution for improved efficiency, visibility and quality of the annual inventory process has turned into a source for trustworthy and timely data driving future operational and financial decisions.

Companies are quickly learning that quality for Big Data begins at the time of collection.  They understand that if what they use isn’t timely, trustworthy and specific, then its value rapidly diminishes.  There used to be an old saying in the bar code industry that “it all begins with the label.”  Bad data in, bad decisions out!

While companies will need to continue to look at and invest in emerging trends and tools for Big Data like data lakes, multi-cloud networks and natural language processing for easier access.  They will also need to pay attention to the source of the data by examining what’s happening on the edge – especially in their own environments.

Big Data has been an ongoing evolution within HL Group as we move more into digital marketing and ask our analytical experts, Evolve Digital Labs to leverage their skills in how we accomplish this undertaking.  The funny thing is that their effort is helping us continue to supply the edge tools – where it all begins!



Wes Haubein is the President of HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile asset inventory management, RFID and supply chain solutions.  He writes regularly about management, solution integration and technology.