The Necessity of Edge in Connecting Rural America

June 19, 2020

Author: Aaron Allsbrook

There has been a lot of hype around the benefits of 5G and the rollout in North America which has created a huge amount of excitement about how it will change our lives. While many visionaries extoll 5G’s capabilities via exciting examples involving driverless vehicles and virtual reality, these examples fail to address many of the less glamorous, real-world issues that 5G enables us to address sooner rather than later.  


In America, freight moves through the countryside keeping the gears of the economy moving.  Far from city lights, miners pull out raw materials that go into the manufacturing of all of our latest conveniences. Open plains and green orchards are home to the fruits and grains that produce the staples of daily life. Energy, in various forms, is stored deep in the ground, blowing in the wind, or radiating from the sun all are found in remote, unconnected parts of the world.  The importance of these remote locations and rural environments can be lost on us as we go about our daily lives streaming TV, working behind our laptops, and dining out at our favorite restaurants (something many of us are missing today).  


This week ClearBlade announced a new partnership with Trilogy Networks to address an obvious but often forgotten challenge, connecting Rural America. Together, this partnership isn’t just the merging of two technologies together, but one of bringing technology to where it is needed most. ClearBlade’s partnership with Trilogy Networks and subsequent membership in The Rural Cloud Initiative is a bold vision of finding new ways to improve industries, like agriculture, that go deep into Rural America, to where they are needed to produce the core materials that this country has to offer, right here at home. Goals of this organization are big, broad, and far-reaching into the future to:


  1. Dramatically increase crop yields with precision agriculture
  2. Save lives by protecting workers with real-time positioning
  3. Maximize the efficiency of power generation while preserving our resources
  4. Reduce and optimize our supply chain of raw materials 


Productivity, Efficiency, and Safety with Edge Data

Edge Data innovation looms large in the overall initiative as it represents a challenge that sits across so many initiatives. Gathering data from many different machines and sensors is not very easy. Many machines have been at work in the field, in the mine, and in the windmill for many years and are siloed off from the communication networks necessary to share their secrets. Many new pieces of equipment are capable of transmitting data and we must work with both the old and the new machinery to enable the farmer, the miner, and the railway to use this data to optimize their operations. With the data gathered, groomed to understand it in a meaningful way, and sent to the systems and processes that need it most, we will transform businesses. Providing this information in real-time to data centers that will crunch the information and look at trends related to soil humidity, weather patterns, storage capacity, transportation availability, etc. will allow us to digitize processes that have been hard to reach in the past. Integrating this information allows us to refill tanks, replace filters, and optimize travel routes enabling us to increase production while minimizing our carbon footprint over time.


This partnership with Trilogy Networks is part of a bigger vision to make far-reaching improvements that positively impact our country and economy in very meaningful ways. ClearBlade is excited to be an integral part of this vision by joining Trilogy Networks, a company with a proven track record of serving Rural America over several years. Today, ClearBlade is gathering edge data from across the country to optimize rail infrastructure. Today, ClearBlade is gathering edge data from remote mining sites to improve the safety of mining operations. Today, ClearBlade is gathering edge data from remote aircraft maintenance facilities improving aircraft maintenance. And finally, today, ClearBlade is joining the next challenge, to help Rural America conserve and optimize its critical resources across the country.

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