Edge computing is the practice of deploying IT cloud resources, housed in edge data centers, in localized areas or communities. It operates on the proven principle that applications perform better and faster when processing is performed in close proximity to the end users and/or devices they serve.
Edge Computing is expanding rapidly. The infrastructure elements (i.e. power, cooling, and connectivity) and form factors (i.e. rugged containers, micro data centers) of edge data centers are fairly well-developed.
We are thus starting to see the actual widespread deployment of distributed data center architectures to provide localized cloud resources to end users and devices. As new technologies like 5G networks, smart cities and autonomous vehicles are further developed, they will integrate with, operate on, and be more reliant on edge computing resources.
What is clear at this point is that enterprises and organizations that invest in edge data centers today will achieve a competitive edge for the future. Their specific competitive edge will depend on the company, their target customer, and their technology.
Few of the examples that demonstrate the rapid rise of Edge computing are:
- Consumers will continue to demand better online experiences, and will flock to providers who offer faster, smoother delivery of Wi-Fi services and applications (i.e. two-way streaming content, VR-enhanced online games) to their smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Internet and Wi-Fi network providers and online application companies that utilize edge computing will be in a better position to provide consumers with high-speed, low-latency services, applications, and content.
- Enterprises that utilize edge data centers in an industrial setting will be able to provide local computing resources for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, which will make their facilities faster and more productive in manufacturing and/or delivering goods to customers.
- Automotive companies will need to address safety issues regarding autonomous vehicles if the public is ever going to accept them, much less buy them. Establishing a network of edge data centers with cloud resources to direct and control autonomous vehicles will help automotive companies to guarantee the safety of their vehicles to customers, and also help them to keep in compliance with government safety regulations.
- Financial institutions that utilize edge data centers will be able to offer local computing resources to enhance services such as high-frequency trading. Additionally, edge data centers will support the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for data and market analysis to help traders get better results in the financial sector.
- City and state governments that utilize edge data centers will be able to ensure the reliability of IoT devices like smart traffic lights, and thus guarantee the safety of citizens in regard to those devices. Also, establishing a network of IoT infrastructure devices (i.e. power, water, and environmental sensors) will aid local governments in managing resources, city planning, budget analysis, etc. A network of edge data centers will help local governments to manage, monitor, and collect data from IoT devices in multiple locations.
(Prem Rodrigues is Director of Sales & Marketing Middle East, India & SAARC, Siemon)