As I highlighted in my previous article, edge computing – or to use a more accurate description, multi-access edge computing - is expected to transform the processing of data from millions of devices globally. 

This emerging technology trend enables faster response time and real-time compute capabilities of data in close proximity to where it is generated, ie, at the edge of the network, and it is already on the radar of high-performance organizations.
 
According to Gartner, by the end of 2023 over half of large enterprises will deploy at least six edge computing use cases for support of IoT or immersive interaction experiences. That compares to less than 1% in 2019. Similarly, a survey from Forrester suggests that 57 percent of mobility decision-makers have edge computing on their roadmap for the next 12 months.

What's driving this growth?

Rather than transmitting that data to a data warehouse or the centralized cloud, analysis takes place at the edge of the network. Edge data centers operate on a maximum of two megawatts power capacity and enable enterprises to locate them close to the people, machines and processes that generate and analyse the data, delivering the following capabilities:

  • Low latency.
  • Bandwidth is saved.
  • Response times are significantly faster. 
  • Costs and deployment time are reduced.
  • If a location is disconnected from the central cloud its performance is not disrupted.

The deployment of 5G is also a key factor behind the growth in multi-access edge computing, with the two technologies inextricably linked.

5G and multi-access edge computing: ‘’essential rather than optional’’

5G wireless and other networking technologies which allow faster networking, play a central role in driving the expansion of edge computing systems for reasons which include:

  • Edge computing enables new 5G technologies to flourish securely.
  • Both technologies improve the performance of applications and enable huge amounts of data to be processed in real-time. 
  • The infrastructure of 5G networks is dependent on the deployment of edge computing to reduce latency and process the millions of IoT devices connected to the network.

Analysts also believe that the rollout of 5G will ultimately mean that edge computing becomes ‘’essential, rather than optional’’ .

Furthermore, as the world emerges from the pandemic, the technology offered by 5G and multi-access edge computing delivers the capabilities to transform the economy, including manufacturing, retail, healthcare and automotive sectors.

Global cloud providers are also partnering with telecom organizations to accelerate 5G. For example, in Europe, Spanish telecoms organization Telefonica announced an agreement with Google Cloud to accelerate the delivery of 5G mobile computing across the country.

According to PwC, the decentralized small-cell network of multi-access edge data centers also offer low cost, low latency support for high device density 5G use cases, including smart cities. As 5G and IoT create ultra-connected environments, rapidly utilizing data at the edge will enhance an organization’s ability to compete.

What does the future hold for edge computing?

By offering lower latency, increased bandwidth and real-time applications, it seems inevitable that multi-access edge computing will become essential to the enterprise of the future. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80 percent of enterprises will close their traditional data centers as business models evolve into one where data is stored and transmitted through edge data centers. The market for multi-access edge data centers is expected to grow to $13.5 billion by 2024, driven in part by the arrival of 5G.


To add some context to this, IDC predicts that, “every connected person in the world will have at least one digital data interaction every 18 seconds’’, generating over 90ZB of data in 2025.

For high performance enterprises, the future is at the edge. 

About the Author

Wayne Eng currently serves as Henkel’s Global Head of Market Strategy for Datacom & Telecom within the company’s Adhesive Technology business unit, where he is focused on setting the marketing and product line strategy and executing business sector growth.  A member of the Henkel team since 2018, Wayne has impressive professional experience with a successful career track record of providing reliable and innovative solutions for customers in multiple markets including Data & Telecom, Mobile Devices, Consumer Electronics and Computing.  Based in Henkel’s Irvine, CA facility, Eng holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Stony Brook University. 

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