Edge computing is expected to herald the next era of the Internet. A new ecosystem is currently emerging that will turn the hype into reality. What strategies are the various actors pursuing, and what are the effects on the industry?
The future of edge computing is bright. It is estimated that the amount of data processed in the Edge will increase significantly. Today, if it is less than 20 percent of company data that is generated and processed outside the cloud, its share can rise to up to 75 percent. Even if this figure should be treated with caution, one fact remains: edge computing is a factor to be reckoned with in the future.
Focus on the Edge Computing Market
Edge’s infrastructure must combine connectivity and computing to provide computing power with low latency and high bandwidth on the one hand, and to provide latency-sensitive applications with high energy requirements on the other.
For this reason, players from the areas of network and cloud infrastructure are pushing onto the market.
- Vodafone has chosen a different approach: By partnering with AWS, the aim is to bring the edge product (AWS Wavelength) to the European market via its own 5G network.
- Both operators’ ambitions aim at building a robust infrastructure and easy use of edge performance by developers.
However, telecommunications companies are not the only actors. Energy providers such as Vattenfall with its own communication network are also entering the edge cloud business by partnering with providers of data centers such as Cloud & Heat. In this way, both computing services can be offered. And the use of the waste heat can be for the local heating system at the same time.
The rapid development of edge computing is still suffering worldwide from the lack of demand for demanding applications. The operators are, therefore, hesitant to invest in expanding a robust nationwide infrastructure. The developers (and device OEMs), on the other hand, struggle to integrate the applications as long as the infrastructure is only rudimentary. It is, therefore, no coincidence that interest worldwide has turned back to the corporations.
The Company Focus – Head Start in the Factory
Nevertheless, there is an acute need – and that is what makes Edge so attractive for companies. Automation and digitization of factories are at the top of the list for the giants of all industries. This requires large processing and analysis of the information close to the source, a suitable scenario for edge computing. The first steps of large manufacturers are therefore seen as the starting point for a domino effect. This also includes the establishment of organizations with the aim of comprehensive coordination.
The winner is clearly the end user – whether as a company or an individual. A rich ecosystem ensures that edge computing is easily accessible and affordable both in the factory and on the network. In turn, this will drive the development of a new class of pervasive-and-immersive applications that aim at a holistic user experience – and change the way we work and interact with the world around us.
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