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Voice-activated digital assistants: A key edge computing use case

Check out this video discussing voice-based systems as an emerging edge computing use case with Brent Leary, a partner at CRM Essentials. (16:05 min)


By Lauren Horwitz

Voice-based devices such as Alexa need lots of bandwidth to work. They are just one example of infrastructure-heavy devices that exemplify the edge computing use case.

Today, consumers and workers alike are looking for lightning-fast access to information.

Typing search queries can take precious time. That’s why voice-based systems, which allow people to simply speak a query, have become increasingly common.

Voice-activated assistants such as Alexa and Siri can book tickets for a movie or walk you through preparing a recipe for dinner.

But voice-based technologies are also bandwidth hogs, and they can easily overburden network performance, particularly if they use a cloud-based architecture. Data has to be sent back and forth to centralized data centers, and these roundtrips to the cloud can take precious time, with negative impact on voice-based technologies.

New architectures have emerged that may better serve bandwidth-heavy devices and applications, and minimize these network latency issues.

Edge computing is one promising networking architecture that could support voice-activated devices. Edge computing places high-performance compute, storage and network resources as close as possible to end users and devices. So it reduces the burden of data transport, decreases latency, and increases locality.

Voice-based digital assistants are just one example of a technology that benefits from edge computing and that could, says research firm Gartner, bring adoption of models like edge computing from only 10% today to 50% by 2022.

We sat down with Brent Leary, a partner at CRM Essentials, to discuss the role of voice-based technologies and how edge computing can help make them easier to adopt.

For more, check out this video discussing voice-based systems as an emerging edge computing use case.

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Lauren Horwitz

Lauren Horwitz is the managing editor of Cisco.com, where she covers the IT infrastructure market and develops content strategy. Previously, Horwitz was a senior executive editor in the Business Applications and Architecture group at TechTarget;, a senior editor at Cutter Consortium, an IT research firm; and an editor at the American Prospect, a political journal. She has received awards from American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), a min Best of the Web award and the Kimmerling Prize for best graduate paper for her editing work on the journal article "The Fluid Jurisprudence of Israel's Emergency Powers.”