CONTRIBUTOR
General Manager and Editorial Director,
Techstrong Group

An ambitious IT project that promises to have a $115.8 billion economic impact on the Las Vegas area over the next 10 years may prove to be the model by which public-private partnerships will drive the coming Industry 4.0 age, fueled in part by the rise of edge computing platforms.

The Las Vegas INZONE project is based on principles put forward by the Open Grid Alliance (OGA), which call for an edge-in approach to accessing network services. The Open Grid architecture would replace the current core-out model of the internet, in which network packets are broadcast widely rather than sent directly between platforms that require access to that data. As more edge computing platforms are connected to the internet, the core-out model eventually will be overwhelmed by the amount of latency created by each new device, members of the OGA argue.

The OGA, which was created earlier this year, comprises Vapor IO, VMware, PacketFabric, Dell Technologies, MobileEdge and DriveNets. Vendors contributing IT platforms and services to the Las Vegas project alongside Vapor.io and VMware include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Guavus, Hivelocity, ITRenew, Lenovo, Terbine and Terranet Communications.

Instead of relying on low-level application programming interfaces in application development, the alliance is committed to interoperability by allowing platforms to simply describe what capabilities they can provide. As part of that effort, the OGA plans to define key principles for the Open Grid and identify open interoperable technologies that adhere to those principles.

At the core of the Las Vegas INZONE project is Vapor IO’s Kinetic Grid platform, which enables multiple data centers to be accessed logically as one common pool of infrastructure resources regardless of where they are physically located. The goal is to replace a cloud computing model, which is based on the core-out model, with a grid architecture framework that enables IT systems and the applications that run on them to communicate more efficiently, says Vapor IO CEO Cole Crawford.

It’s not clear to what degree OGA will drive a reengineering of the internet, but C-level executives utilizing edge computing platforms in their digital business transformation initiatives might want to stay abreast of what’s occurring in the Las Vegas area. City and county officials are betting this partnership will do much to attract organizations to the area, such as modern manufacturing companies that are embracing internet of things (IoT) applications.

Las Vegas INZONE may serve as the catalyst for other local governments in recognizing they also need to create similar partnerships to entice companies to set up shop in their area, or simply to retain the ones that are already there. These days, IT infrastructure is as important as any other essential service in sustaining a local economy.

Most organizations are making strategic decisions today about where to locate operations for the next decade. As part of that process, digital CxOs need to open a dialogue with government leaders to understand how much they are willing to invest to preserve their tax base, upon which the local community depends. Without that insight and investment, business and city officials alike may find themselves on the wrong side of Industry 4.0, in which the winners will be those making the strongest commitments possible to next-generation technologies.