Customer experience no longer means what it used to — with expectations changing rapidly and new technologies like (edge computing) creating more immersive experiences.
As 5G kicks into full gear this year — holding the promise of significantly greater processing speed, accelerated data rates and reduced latency — revamped customer experiences will emerge across virtually every industry.
In the ramp up to 5G, we are seeing a significant rise in the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) as the increased speed will allow devices to communicate and share data faster than ever.
This leads to customer expectations reaching unprecedented levels, as customers now expect service to be quick, accurate and personalized every time.
While 5G will increase customer expectations, it will also deliver organizations a tool to respond more effectively to customer demands. More organizations are therefore starting to harness a new tool to process and react to customer engagement: edge computing.
Edge computing will help companies respond to shifting demands and heightened competition. And in fact, adoption of edge computing is slated to skyrocket in the next five years, creating new opportunities to deliver better customer experiences.
According to Gartner, approximately 10 percent of enterprise-generated data is currently created and processed outside of traditional, centralized data centers and the cloud, but by 2025, 75 percent of data will be processed at the edge.
Before we examine its impact on the customer experience, let’s back up and dive into what edge computing is all about.
With edge computing, processing power is moved closer to the source, eliminating the need for data to be transported to a central location that is far from the device or customer.
This results in more immediate data processing, which reduces latency and response time issues because data is no longer traveling to and from the cloud or on-premise servers. Over and above this, organizations can achieve operational, financial and other business benefits.
Instead, edge computing quickly processes and analyzes data at the source and in real-time.
In a nearly imperceptible amount of time, it can flag areas that require immediate attention, filter out data that is irrelevant to reduce the amount of bandwidth used, distinguish data that needs to be stored and otherwise identify data patterns quickly and accurately.
The result is a faster response to customer requests and issues, and ultimately excellent customer experiences.
In fact, the ability to respond in real-time has become an increasingly critical business differentiator, as driving excellent customer experiences requires organizations to react quickly to customers’ needs and behaviors.
With edge computing, companies can build a hyper-personalized, omnichannel experience even as customers access services from millions of different devices across the globe.
This allows organizations employing edge computing to more effectively engage with customers and respond to their needs at an unprecedented speed. For this reason, we will undoubtedly see edge computing increasingly deployed to enhance customer experiences in the months to come.
The benefits of edge computing don’t stop at speed.
Leveraging edge computing, organizations can facilitate hyper-personalization by immediately processing key data — whether past interactions, location, time of day, time spent on a particular web page, and more — and reacting appropriately with hyper-personalized, targeted messaging or offers.
As organizations adopt a more data-centric approach, the focus will shift from traditional business intelligence to predictive analytics. This is where edge computing comes into play, bringing analytics closer to data to drive faster, more personalized and predictive outcomes.
Over and above this, creating personalized experiences means using in-depth customer data and behavior analytics to create digital content that motivates action.
Furthermore, enabling computing at the edge will also offer improved utility for augmented computing – such as augmented reality (AR) – and allow organizations to engage and interact with customers in near real time.
The retail industry is at the forefront of this – in no time, we will see this manifest both online and in physical retail stores, where customers will be able to receive AR-augmented assistance as well as to let customers see what they look like wearing different outfits without having to physically try them on.
While this benefit of edge computing is tremendously valuable, the challenge lies in figuring out how to build the right infrastructure to allow the processing of data quickly enough to derive maximum value from information generated in real-time.
For many organizations, moving processing power to the edge of the network is critical to success, as it allows them to anticipate and respond to their customers’ every need in an instant.
A centralized cloud architecture, for all its power, cannot keep up with the real-time responsiveness demanded by today’s customers and connected devices.
While traditional cloud computing will continue to play an important role in the digital ecosystem, edge computing reduces the latency that arises when data travels and will unlock new opportunities to deliver superior service as a result.
Organizations can tap into infrastructure with the local capacity to securely and reliably ingest all of this data, regardless of where customers are in the world.
Due to the vast benefits it presents in the era of 5G, we can expect edge computing to prove itself as a powerful alternative for organizations dramatically reducing latency and spurring faster, more tailored and immersive customer experiences in the coming months.
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