With significant numbers of cloud vendors implementing edge servers in local markets, market analysts predict an incredible growth in edge computing. Furthermore, the rise in the hottest edge computing trends will be supported by the complimentary 5G network offerings.
The current demand for edge-driven business models is so intense that even the COVID-19 pandemic failed to alter these predictions. A study from IDC’s worldwide IT predictions
claims that the impact of this global pandemic will be one of the biggest reasons behind the growth of around 80% of edge computing investments and platform changes across various industries in the coming years.
But firstly, what exactly is this edge computing, and how does it matter to technology trends
The term ‘edge’ in this points at literal geographic distribution. In layman's terms, edge computing is a kind of computing performed at or near the data source. However, unlike cloud computing, it does not rely on cloud data sources to do all the work.
This doesn't mean that the cloud will disappear with edge computing; instead, it will come to you.
Edge computing, in most cases, uses a variety of functions that need service provisioning closer to users. The most common examples of such functions are telco network functions, machine learning, robotics, AR/VR, and IoT. Using such emerging use cases, edge computing assists in resolving critical challenges in data sovereignty, resiliency, latency, and bandwidth.
Furthermore, migration of data resources, applications, and infra results in:
Faster responses to business needs
Improved business scaling
Businesses rely on edge computing to define new cloud-based services and products that can exploit security, storage, and processing capabilities at the edge of the network.
There will be a need for more distributed compute and data processing power post the COVID-19 pandemic because of new working ways. Moreover, edge devices will be in demand for their ability to fulfill this need without debilitating latency.
Top Edge Computing Trends in 2021
Considering the increasing maturation of edge computing capabilities, market analysts predict the rise in investment in edge computing. As edge computing solutions come up as ever more essential to business operations, here are the top edge computing trends you will want to keep an eye on.
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning will Shift to Edge Computing
Although no edge computing strategy can completely substitute the applications of cloud resources, many businesses are trying to put more ML and AI capabilities closer to endpoint devices. In this way, they can achieve the required speed and reliability of such smart processes.
Companies that need to bridge the digital and physical world in real-time will be the primary reason for this new trend in computing. Plus, edge computing has the power to replace machine learning models that are often trained at the data center. Instead, with specialized hardware, learning can occur at the edge.
Considering the general nature of edge technologies, it will improve real-time predictions and, ultimately, operational reliability. Moreover, edge computing and data security are closely associated. Therefore, with more advancements in edge computing strategies, data security will steadily grow.
Pandemic will Push Organizations to the Edge
The current global pandemic has made us realize the actual effectiveness of several modern technologies, and it has changed the way we integrate and deploy them. In addition, the growth in the usage of consumer mobile devices, the increased consumption of virtual content, videos, and the increased demand for IoT devices (Internet of Things) has made the critical edge computing trends continue to flourish.
Here’s what Jason Mann, the vice president of IoT at SAS, has to say, “From social distancing to thermal imaging, safety device assurance and operational changes such as daily cleaning and sanitation activities, computer vision is an essential technology to accelerate solutions that turn raw IoT data (from video/cameras) into actionable insights.”
For example, retailers and shop owners can use edge computing solutions to know when people violate the store’s policies.
Edge will Enhance the Connected Ecosystem Adoption
Apart from enhancing IoT device usage, edge computing will ease the participation of organizations in the connected ecosystem. And, most importantly, there will be relatively lesser bandwidth and network latency issues.
Organizations can quickly expand to several other profitable businesses without incurring hefty infrastructure costs by leveraging the scalability of edge computing. In addition, moving to more fast-streaming and profitable markets will be easy for enterprises because of easy data processing.
IT and Operational Technology will Unite
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed several weaknesses of most organizations, and ‘resiliency’ is perhaps one of the most common weaknesses of most companies. IoT-driven devices and other connected equipment power the adoption of edge computing solutions where applications and infrastructure are within the facilities. According to the IDC report, the real-time inference with the help of digital twins and AI models can make this approach critical as they can detect the changes in operating conditions and eventually automate the remediation.
With more convergence of IT and operational technology, the IDC report says that the number of operations deployed on edge computing infrastructure will grow from 20% to more than 90% in 2024. As a result, enterprises will prioritize integrating intelligence into different workflows and processes using edge computing capabilities.
In 2021, mobile edge computing MEC) trends are expected to enable supply chain resilience. With data analytics at the edge, the ecosystem of supply chain enablers can integrate AI and ML to access near, live insights into data consumptions. Furthermore, it will also allow businesses to look into even the most unprocessed elements of highly composite demand and supply chains. Therefore, organizations need something that can enable 24/7 view across the complete supply chain. MEC-based solutions answer this as they can offer end-to-end monitoring from the point of service or manufacture.
Private 5G Adoption will Increase
As serious applications will begin to materialize, many businesses will take themselves to the edge. Undoubtedly, there's great potential in a private 5G network for fueling the edge computing trends in 2021 and beyond. The private 5G network is dedicated to specific infrastructures like factories and warehouses.
Factory robots and machine tools require low-latency networks and local data processing. Edge computing and 5G can satisfy this need. The general nature of edge technologies and speed, low latency, enhanced coverage, and incredible responsiveness of the 5G network can serve these benefits.
Edge will Improve Data Security
Edge computing reduces data and internet costs and eventually improves data efficiency compared to the cloud. Plus, the edge offers an additional layer of security and enhances the overall user experience.
Unlike the cloud, edge computing does not depend on a single point of storage or application. Instead, it distributes different processes across a variety of devices.
Edge Computing in 2021 and Beyond
The current and future edge computing trends will enable innovation across several industries such as medical, agricultural, worker safety, insurance, industry 4.0, retail, telecommunications, and more.
As more and more companies collaborate to develop an open ecosystem and ultimately make it quick and easy for consumers to integrate as a part of their cloud strategies, edge computing trends will offer more value to organizations in the coming years.
To summarize, edge computing trends will continue to redefine business operations by offering enhanced data security and controls, better connectivity even when disconnected from the network, and quick insights and actions.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How new is edge computing?
The origin of edge computing traces back to the 90s, and it lies in content delivery networks. The primary job of these networks was to serve video and web content from edge servers that are deployed within the facility.
What is edge computing used for?
Edge computing is used for a wide variety of applications, services, and products. For example,
Medical monitoring devices for real-time responses
Self-driving cars for real-time reactions
Video conferencing for decreasing lag and latency
More efficient caching
Is edge computing the future?
Several researchers estimate that the edge computing trends are proliferating at around 30% of the compound annual growth rate. The edge computing industry is expected to reach more than $7 billion in the next five years. Many businesses have already begun to prepare for the technology change that will take place because of the current and future edge computing trends.