By now, you may have seen or heard the term “Edge” referred to most commonly when speaking about cloud computing or high tech like AI. Edge is the way of the future, and if you’re not up to snuff on it, you’ll lose your… edge.
What Is Edge?
Edge refers to edge computing, which is a method of optimization for cloud computing systems by handling data processing at the edge of the network or closest to the source of the data. This means that communication bandwidth to do this is drastically reduced, and it decreases workloads while increasing efficiency.
Who Is Using It?
Edge is referred to when talking about everything from a smartphone using a cloud-based system, to a FitBit using wearable app technology, and even virtual reality headsets. In fact, this is so much the way of the future that big companies are sinking serious money into edge development and acquisition, as well as making themselves fully available to the edge market to stay ahead of their competition. These big names are LinkedIn which is owned by Microsoft(which you can find referenced from our last Social Media Moment on Facebook) Cisco, and OpenStack just to name a few. Many others are keeping it under wraps because to gain over the competition it just wouldn’t do to share your secrets.
Edge is expected to grow 30% by 2022 (source) and that’s a LOT. Before you look at the year and think it’s quite a long time from now, it’s not that long when talking about profitability and long-term planning. If you begin now, you stand a good chance of standing in the winner’s circle later.
Internet of Things
Edge is an easier word to use than what it is most closely related to:, “The Internet of Things” or IoT for short, but this world is already too full of acronyms.
This is big business for many huge corporations and even government agencies who are some of the earliest adopters of the ‘new’ way forward in tech. No longer are we bound by wires or a wifi signal – with IoT and Edge, we have essentially become a form of cyborg.
How You Can Use EDGE for Marketing
Here’s the best part and the one we’re sure you’ve been waiting for.
Edge and IoT need to be part of your active marketing campaigns or your social media presence. Use it as often as you can, in as many places as you can. Not only will you look savvy and clever, but you’ll be a frontrunner where so many are not. Just look at how many people still have a horrible website with one static page that isn’t mobile friendly and looks terrible? To stay ahead you need to be blazing the trail and Edge alongside IoT is the machete you need to cut your way through.
Social Media BOTS
We have one, and we’re awfully fond of our Magibot – and believe that – to some degree, everyone should have one. It helps reach people even when you’re in bed, when your business hours are closed, and when someone wants information you have available on your site but they don’t want to have to dig for it.
There are plenty out there, but the one we chose as ‘best of the best’ was Chatfuel. This year chatbots are predicted to become the best form of online communication between you and the customer. Gartner research even thinks that chatbots will take up 85% of ALL customer service interactions by 2020.
There’s just one catch here – your bot does not and cannot replace real interaction when someone wants to speak to a an actual person. To that end, all bots inevitably fail because no matter how many options you give them, or how ‘intelligent’ they can seem, there is no way to ever perfectly predict what a human will ask it. Be sure that you check your bot’s interactions regularly to filter out unwanted interactions/spam as well as find those people who are genuinely looking to connect with you.
Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR)
VR and AR stand to take the world by storm right now, there are models being made for smartphones which are so cheap that you can get them for a 20 dollar bill and get change back. If you’ve ever seen one of Facebook’s 360-degree photos or YouTube’s videos you already know what we mean.
How you can incorporate it into your own marketing strategy is to create a customer experience with it. Do a walkthrough of your store or products as though you were browsing in an actual store. You can offer a customer a way to ‘try on’ what you’re selling without actually being there like Estee Lauder has done combining the best of a bot AND a VR kit all at once. If you’re wondering if they have been successful… how about to the tune of 1.3 BILLION daily users. DAILY.
Nothing says Edge like crowdsourcing video content created by users. People LOVE to contribute and love to be noticed/recognized for that contribution as well. When a company publishes something from little ‘ol Joe Anybody, Joe feels like a rockstar. This encourages people to participate.
By 2021 video stands to represent 82% of IP traffic, and those videos don’t have to be created by you – they’re costly and time-consuming.
Have your consumers bring you videos of them using your product or talking about your company or service. You can tap into their creative genius rather than trying to squeeze all your own creative juices dry. You will be surprised what they can come up with!
Edge is a lot more than the cloud, it’s actually better than the cloud or stands to be in any case. In the meantime, if you haven’t even moved your business TO a cloud, and you’re still stuck using a server – you may want to rethink your strategy.
Not only is cloud storage more efficient, it’s also more capable and a lot cheaper than you think, especially if your server is only being used to store large amounts of data.
Move those to Google Drive, we don’t recommend using MS Office’s Cloud simply because it’s a lot more cumbersome and harder to use, plus it has a few more strict requirements and doesn’t offer as much as Google’s. Google also has some incredible options for sharing and collaboration in real-time and Drive offers a TON of apps within that you can use for ANYTHING.
Change never comes easily and often not cheaply either, but in this case, it’s simply a matter of tapping into what is already available out there, just not widespread yet. Yet is the operative word here because this tech has been predicted by huge publications and business leaders to overtake the world of business as we have known it.
Make time to sketch out a plan today to integrate Edge and IoT into your marketing strategy, you’ll be glad you did when the gains begin to flow.