Forty-four percent of UK IT leaders say they are using edge technologies, with a further 21 percent planning to do so in the next year – a combined total of nearly two-thirds of organisations.

That’s according to an international survey of 2,400 IT decision-makers by analysis firm Vanson Bourne. The research was carried out for Aruba Networks, which is part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices, such as sensor networks, spread, the need to process data or carry out inference tasks close to the point of need – at ‘the edge’ – is growing. This is because the latency introduced in cloud or, in distance terms, on-premise processing may cause unacceptable delays in time-critical tasks.

According to Vanson Bourne, the value of data from connected devices increasingly depends on organisations’ capacity to collect, process, store, and analyse it at the edge, in order to access greater efficiencies and business insights.

Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said that the need for an integrated system to handle data at the edge is either very or somewhat important.

However, 24 percent of IT leaders in the UK said, “There is too much data for our systems to handle”, while 30 percent admitted that they “cannot process the data quickly enough to take action”.

Over a quarter also highlighted problems with budget and an inability to collect data from many different sources (17 percent).

Overall, 87 percent of IT decision-makers acknowledge that they are missing important skills to unlock the value of edge data – rising to 98 and 99 percent in the government and hotels/hospitality sectors, respectively.

Technical elements (cited by 40 percent), AI and machine learning (39 percent), and data analytics (33 percent) were the top three areas where organisations are lacking in skills.

By sector, the most popular edge use cases are tracking and monitoring individual items through the supply chain in retail (mentioned by 51 percent of respondents), the use of facial recognition in the hotels/hospitality industry (49 percent) and improving healthcare providers’ experience with always-on tools and applications (49 percent).

Worldwide, 59 percent of IT leaders think connecting devices in the edge environment makes their network more vulnerable to attack.

Source: Press release