How Edge Computing can transform businesses in Nigeria

I remember reading a story at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic about a top executive at a large tech company who had fallen ill and was unable to hold virtual meetings in isolation because he didn’t know how he should steer his way around Zoom or Microsoft Teams. While we can rightly or wrongly expect a top tech executive to understand seemingly fundamental technologies, the fact that innovations in today’s hyper-energetic technology space are moving so fast makes it easy for most people, including business leaders is to be overwhelmed. Still, business leaders often need to chart a technological path for their organizations and therefore need to stay current on potentially disruptive technologies for their businesses. Tech-savvy leaders have spearheaded the generational shift to cloud computing and are at the forefront of increasing recognition of edge computing as the future of business in Nigeria and globally. As the managing director of a leading computer provider in Nigeria, inq. Digital Nigeria, I am aware of the immense benefits that Edge Computing can bring to Nigerian businesses and I would like to discuss some of them here.

As you may know, edge computing is essentially a distributed information technology architecture that allows client data to be processed as close to the originating source as possible, minimizing the need to transmit data to a remote processor. The elimination of data transmission and the associated reduction in latency, ie the time it takes to transfer data from one point to another, results in a massive improvement in processing speed. Although data is currently being processed at supersonic speeds, consumers are demanding even faster transactions, and as more data is generated and shared, edge computing will be critical to meeting our demands for speed and reliability.

So how can it help businesses in Nigeria? Let’s start with fintechs, with Nigeria being the fintech capital of Africa (which will attract 63% of funds raised by African startups in 2021) and the rapid growth of the country’s fintech ecosystem enabled by developer and consumer capability , High-speed processing services. Edge computing will unlock the untapped potential of the fintech ecosystem by providing lower latency and more reliable processing capabilities that will form the backbone for optimizing current fintech applications and developing innovative services in the future.

Based on current statistics, the agricultural sector remains by far the largest contributor to Nigerian GDP, accounting for over 25% of GDP in 2021. It therefore remains the backbone of the Nigerian economy and edge computing can help increase the yield, profitability and contribution of the sector to GDP. Edge computing solutions can help farmers track soil condition, crop growth, weather and climate changes, input use and inventory, crop yield, quality, and water consumption, among other things. This data can help farmers increase yield by improving planning, cultivation methods and yield. The data can also help farmers anticipate and account for environmental factors, as well as continuously improve crop cultivation algorithms to ensure crops are in optimal condition when harvested.

In manufacturing, edge computing can be used to monitor processes: applying machine learning and real-time analytics to identify production errors and improve product quality. Edge computing can enable the addition of various types of sensors throughout the plant that provide and analyze data on the production processes, the output of the various production stages, product quality and stock levels for production inputs. This data can help manufacturers accurately forecast production materials and outcomes, and optimize the manufacturing process to minimize waste and increase efficiencies.

What about the Nigerian healthcare companies that are enjoying significant private investment? This private-sector-led growth is spawning data-driven hospitals and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). Electronic records are replacing paper-based patient notes used by physicians, and the availability of electronic records offers the opportunity to analyze this data to optimize healthcare delivery. Edge computing can support the collection and analysis of patient records by hospitals and HMOs, with the resulting data guiding patient care by hospitals and financial planning by HMOs. Health data can also be made available to patients to encourage adoption of a healthier lifestyle and reduce the need for repeated or prolonged hospitalizations.

Today, many Nigerian companies maintain a fleet of vehicles as staff buses, emergency vehicles and executive status cars. Edge computing can significantly help improve fleet management by helping collect data such as vehicle location, speed, road and traffic conditions, weather, and service cycles that can improve fleet planning and management. Edge computing can also help improve workplace safety significantly by analyzing data from cameras, sensors, and safety devices in real time to alert organizations to potential or actual safety issues, which can then be proactively addressed to prevent accidents minimize. Tracking and analyzing security data in the workplace can also help organizations monitor compliance with security protocols and provide a basis for reviewing those protocols when needed.

The potential applications of edge computing in Nigeria highlighted above are just one example of the many ways that edge computing can significantly improve business operations and profitability in Nigeria. inq. Digital is proud to be at the forefront of edge computing in Nigeria and I am incredibly optimistic about the opportunities this technology can open up for Nigerian businesses.

author: Valentine Chime, MD, inq. Digital Nigeria

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