How is VMware Edge Compute Stack Accelerating Digital Transformation Across Industries?

In early 2020, workloads were split 50/50 between data centers and public clouds, according to VMware market research. Then, as the pandemic forced everybody to start working from home, innovation started happening at the edge across all industries. What is the edge? It is a distributed digital infrastructure for running workloads across a number of locations that play close to the endpoint producing and consuming this data.

Today, enterprise workloads are moving towards the edge as well. And by 2025, workloads will distribute evenly – 30% in the data center, 40% in the public cloud, and 30% in the edge.

The edge is as exciting an area of innovation and value creation in the next decade as the cloud was in the last decade. Why do enterprises leverage the edge? It is all about the need to deliver intelligent and immersive experiences – for example, delighting retail customers or optimizing manufacturing plant operations.

To solve for this new edge reality, companies turn to VMware Edge Compute Stack, a highly sophisticated product portfolio that enables organizations to build, run, manage, connect, and protect edge-native applications across multiple clouds at both the near and far edge locations.

This innovative platform runs at the edge — for example, supporting manufacturing industry 4.0 and retail stores — empowering enterprises to run legacy and future applications locally to solve real industry challenges.

Available in different sizes that correspond to your business needs, VMware Edge Compute Stack:

  • Supports edge-native apps built on VMs, containers, or web assembly that leverage multi-cloud services
  • Runs standard OS or real-time OS, empowering IT and OT to deliver intelligent real-time solutions
  • Deploys securely across all types of wired and wireless networks

Here is a deep dive into how VMware Edge Compute Stack solves critical enterprise pain points — spurring digital transformation and improving business operations across industries.

Exploring VMware Edge Compute Stack

Looking under the hood, VMware Edge Compute Stack provides a common platform for VMs and containers to support enterprise workloads, connected by VMware SD-WAN and running on Edge HCI — all from a small form factor.

It consolidates legacy platforms at your edge into a single stack. What does that mean? VMware has streamlined IT in data centers and the cloud, enabling everything to run very efficiently and smoothly. But what if you are operating at the edge? You might have many cables going everywhere and all types of connectors. You have all kinds of old machines — and this problem is even worse if you are in manufacturing. So, as enterprises assemble and attach their varied cluttered technologies at the edge, it is challenging for them to streamline everything.

VMware Edge Compute Stack overcomes this issue by helping you clean up all your cluttered bespoke environments at their edge and streamline everything into a single software solution.

Improving retail margins and reinventing business operations with VMware Edge Compute Stack

The edge truly hits upon so many different industries, including retail, where it is driving countless transformations across that space – including how to improve loss prevention and upgrade the self-checkout experience. 

Grocery store retailers operate on razor-thin margins — just 1-3%! To increase their margins, they use VMware Edge Compute Stack, which secures their self-service checkouts, improving their business outcome.

What does this look like? Say a grocery store customer selects an expensive $30 bottle of wine. They then take the price sticker off a $5 wine bottle, stick it on the $30 bottle and pay via self-service checkout. They are not walking out with the bottle, so they are not stealing, but they are scamming — and saving $25. How do store supervisors stop that?

They use VMware Edge Compute Stack to run computer vision on cameras in the self-service checkouts that are integrated into the checkout scanners where customers scan the bottle. They do not preload the computer vision with everything in the store — just the most valued assets, like that $30 bottle of wine.

So, when customers use the self-service checkout, the camera instantaneously matches the product’s label with its price to determine if there is a match. That action must occur within a mere fraction of a second so the store’s supervisor can be notified in real-time if there is an issue and investigate before the customer leaves. This lightning speed can neither be delivered by the cloud nor a telco cell tower – only VMware Edge Compute Stack can deliver this must-have sub-millisecond response time.

Enhancing manufacturing human-machine interface and production with VMware Edge Compute Stack

During Covid, many workers needed to physically go to work in factories. Consequently, manufacturing saw high resignations because employees were not comfortable running their machines on-premises.

In response, manufacturing supervisors turned to VMware Edge Compute Stack, which virtualizes industrialized PCs and PLCs, taking operator consoles and human-machine interfaces to the cloud.

This changes the game for machine operators, empowering them to remotely operate their equipment from anywhere. Meanwhile, VMware Edge Compute Stack runs on the factory floor, ensuring reliable connections between the industrial PCs and their factory machine remain at a sub-millisecond performance level.

What’s the company’s business benefit? They can recruit skilled operators or supervisors who can work from anywhere while also increasing the plant’s rate of automation.

In terms of production, some companies can centralize all output, producing 100 million units of the same product on a single production line. But what if you have neither the resources to build an expensive production line to accomplish that nor the customer demand?

In that case, you need an agile production line, made possible by using VMware Edge Compute Stack to run your virtual programmable PLCs. This gives you the flexibility to produce many distinct products whenever you want.

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