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Robert Linsdell joins us on the Engati CX Show to talk about improving customer experience with edge computing.
Robert is a technology leader with a diverse background in multiple sectors, including telecoms, critical infrastructure, datacentre, IoT, electronic materials, chemicals, and coatings.
He is also a thought leader in the field of core to edge datacentres, linking the influence of customer experience (CX) with technology.
Enhancing CX with edge computing – a video interview with Robert Linsdell
Ps. If you'd rather listen to a podcast of the interview, our Spotify podcast is embedded below the transcript.
Our interview with Robert Linsdell
What is edge computing? What advantages does it bring? How is it going to affect the decision-making process of businesses?
Edge computing, to some people, is often considered as "not new" because we've actually had edge around for a long time. But, as most people in the technology world know, over the last 10 years, especially we've had a cloud and everybody talks ‘Cloud, cloud, cloud.’
The truth is, is that as computing is truly what it says it is. It's access to computer decision making and thoughts right where it is needed. Whereas in the cloud, a lot of the thinking is done back in a big brain somewhere, and then the information is piped back out through a communications network.
So that's what we determine is the difference between edge and cloud.
How is it going to affect the decision-making processes of businesses?
One of the main advantages is speed because it it's pretty much instant.
If you've got your computer right next to you. It actually talks to immediately. You'll remember the days when we used to open up a website, especially when we were on 3G and it took quite a long time. And then we went to 4G a lot quicker.
But if you actually open up an application on your phone, there is no delay. It just comes up and then and you're working with it. That's really the same with the edge computing.
If there's something that you need to do and you need to decide very, very quickly, something that may be interacting with you, you can't have any delay.
Because I'm talking with you now. You know it's instant. But if you were to take two seconds to answer, I'm going to be just nodding.
How can edge computing help companies improve processing speed and save cost and time?
There's a lot of contradictions in your statement there.
Well, first of all, edge computing really is about customer experience. So once upon a time when all the decision making was being made back on the premise of the building where you were the enterprise eventually operating, you know the decision making was that made relatively quickly. But what's happening now is we're seeing obviously certain decisions being made by a cloud. And, if the decision is a slow decision or a decision which is not so critical to the customer experience of that time, then done. It's OK.
Of course, cloud delivers a lot of very good experiences. Don't think that it's not the case today, but there are situations where, for instance, I might want to talk or enter a piece of information onto maybe a screen. It needs to be instant, and it's those situations that require us to have some infrastructure making that decision immediately.
Now cost-effective. Cost-effectiveness is really dependent upon what value is that customer experience bringing to us. So, yeah, obviously what we want to do is use the cheapest method of delivering that information to the individual. So, if that works with the cloud, then that's great.
How can technologies such as edge computing, automation, and AI-powered chatbots improve customer experience?
Chatbots don't just exist on a little box at the bottom of your screen when you're on a website.
Chatbots can actually operate as part of the entry into a business rather than maybe talking to a human being.
That avatar or AI-driven experience, when I'm talking to it, I expect it to respond to me very quickly. And there's a lot of computers needed to drive that avatar that is interacting with me and the decisions will need to be made at the local level.
Now it really depends upon what question or how it's being programmed. That will be the determinant as to what your set up, and what your infrastructure looks like.
Therefore, what we're anticipating is that when there's a lot of decision making, a lot of quick decision making, Andi maybe with a lot of high-density graphics, then you're going to need to have that experience very, very close.
Also, one most important thing that I haven't mentioned so far is what Edge will give you is a degree of redundancy away from the central core.
So you can imagine when we used to travel around by aeroplanes quite often. Sometimes it would be a failure in a data center and then all the access to the terminals, when they were checking you in, they all failed.
Now, with certain experiences, we can have an alternative where I can still be talking to the chatbot, I can still be talking to that customer experience at the locality, and it still functions even if it's been disconnected from the brain in the center.
Why should AI-powered chatbots be included in a company’s digital transformation strategy?
Well, I think one of the things that that I always feel that when I'm working or dealing with a chatbot is that you're getting a consistency of service because it's being programmed to respond.
Now, of course, there may be occasional instances where maybe it doesn't understand. But even then, it's programmed to say that, ‘I can't help you. Let me connect you to someone else who can help’.
But 99.5% of the time, the chatbot is being programmed appropriately. So therefore, because it is AI-driven and it could be programmed to respond to this type of question on whether I have a smile on my face or whether I haven’t got a smile on my face and therefore, maybe it could determine whether you're angry with it.
I mean, there's a lot of cleverness that could be built in, and that cleverness is again dependent upon how much computing capability you have as it is interacting.
We certainly have some of those experiences, even without data centres, although we've not got to the stage of putting a chatbot. But there isn't actually any reason why you can't get to a stage with a data center as you enter it, because you're doing some work in there, you're interacting, there’s facial recognition, and we already have facial recognition to allow us into the data center. But when you're perhaps interrogating, engaging, there's what if you've got the programming capability, there's, I mean, the applications are endless.
One of the use cases that, and I think we've even seen it. I don't know whether you've seen it around the world, but is retail. I mean, when retail industry comes back, it's absolutely an ideal application. To be able to walk into a store to talk to a chatbot to say, ‘OK, can you direct me to where the you know the red jackets?’ (because people prefer to talk to something) and then the chatbot can actually send you in that particular direction, rather than you having to talk to a human being and there's nothing wrong with talking to a human being, but, sometimes it's easier just to talk to something digital.
Are there any other thoughts that you’d like to leave with us?
I think we're entering another phase of growth. I mean, edge, at the moment from what we see is not so It is not so common. I mean, we have a number of applications, but it really isn't common.
If you look at the cloud business today and it continues to grow, which is what we expect, we believe in the next 5 to 10 years, that edge applications will be as common as cloud applications. And if you think about that for one minute, because the cloud is everywhere, that's a lot of edge applications and a lot of interactions that will be happening between us, the customer experience, and the enterprises that are creating these applications.
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Enhancing CX with edge computing – a Spotify podcast with Robert Linsdell
We hope this helps you understand the advantages of edge computing better. Engati CX will be back with a new expert in a new episode soon. Stay tuned.
Find Robert Linsdell
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