Edge computing and the future of IoT

Edge computing brings near real-time processing to the Internet of Things (IoT). With faster access to data, edge computing increases efficiency and reliability of IoT devices. This combination is paving the way for a connected future. Imagine the possibilities.

The state of IoT

Industry specialists have been predicting exponential growth for the Internet of Things (IoT). And those forecasts seem to be coming true. IDC expects spending on IoT to surpass the $1.1 trillion mark in 2024.1 What does this mean in terms of connections? According to IDC, the number of worldwide IoT cellular connections is projected to increase 18.2% from 2.6 billion in 2021 to 5.9 billion in 2026.2

IoT infographic

Edge computing for IoT

How can enterprises make that much data actionable? For many applications, the answer lies in edge computing, which puts an IT service environment and cloud-computing capabilities at the edge of the network, reducing the need to send data to distant servers.

Mobile edge computing (MEC), a type of edge computing that uses cellular networks for primary connectivity. 5G and MEC are particularly appealing for IoT applications, thanks to:

  • Reduced latency. MEC brings computing resources closer to where the data is generated. Combined with 5G, it can significantly reduce latency, enabling the delivery of mission-critical services that require Ultra Reliable, Low Latency Communication (URLLC).
  • Massive bandwidth. Organizations should be able to develop massive, scalable and valuable IoT capabilities known as massive machine-type communications (mMTC) or massive IoT (MIoT), in short. MIoT deployments could generate and harness huge amounts of data to drive advanced analytical and artificial intelligence (AI) programs and provide mission-critical services.
  • Computing availability and security. MEC can bring cloud computing capabilities to remote locations, and provide local processing and storage when security is essential
  • Minimized network traffic. MEC can aggregate and process IoT data at the edge, reducing network traffic and transmission costs
  • Less computing on the device. By removing computing requirements from the device and putting them at the edge, MEC can reduce energy consumption and enable new devices, like lightweight augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets, gaming devices, wearables, and others.

Putting machine learning and AI at the edge

What else can MEC do for IoT deployments? This is big.

It can bring machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to the edge, to make IoT data actionable at scale. Almost in real time.

That means you can ingest, analyze and share vast amounts of actionable data; respond almost instantaneously to opportunities and challenges; and create powerful and effective training, meeting and customer experiences.

We told you it was big.

man controlling machinery
smartphone showing places of interest

IoT + MEC = new possibilities

MEC enables new IoT possibilities and capabilities across nearly every industry, from retail to manufacturing. These could include:

  • Augmented reality (AR) for manufacturing safety. MEC could help power AR and AI for hazard training and monitoring, so that organizations can improve operation-wide safety
  • Shelf inventory management. Using in-store video data, MEC could be used to run applications to audit and analyze inventory, enabling continuous on-shelf availability and reducing pricing errors
  • Predictive maintenance. MEC combined with sensors might be able to predict machine failures before they actually occur, reducing downtimes and avoiding expensive repair costs

5G and MEC: The future of IoT

Bringing 5G and MEC to IoT deployments is the next progression for the IoT. Together, MEC and 5G can deliver the high speed, low latency and massive capacity that are a precondition for applications that operate practically in real time.  Verizon operates thousands of C-RAN and service access points that can run MEC services, and is currently integrating network and compute in areas throughout the network.


Our millimeter-wave spectrum can deliver massive amounts of data quickly with very low latency, which doubles up on the low latency that MEC offers. 


5G is expected to be capable of supporting up to 1 million devices in a square kilometer.


Verizon operates thousands of C-RAN and service access points that can run MEC services, and is currently integrating network and compute in areas throughout the network.

  • 5G access requires a 5G-capable device in a 5G coverage area.

MEC and IoT resources

Verizon is uniquely positioned in the MEC space, giving us insights into both the far-reaching possibilities and the immediate requirements.

MEC overview

From architecture basics to 5G’s role, learn how MEC works.



ThingSpace gives you all the tools you need to build an edge device and connect it to the Verizon network.

Verizon 5G Edge

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Jump-start loT development with Thing Space Marketplace. Easily find and purchase Verizon-certified development kits and complete solutions—no contracts, credit checks or commitments required.

Business innovators

Stay current on the latest edge computing trends and use cases, so you can make better-informed decisions for your business.

1. IDC, Worldwide Internet of Things Forecast, 2022–2025, Doc #US48969621, April 2022

2. IDC, Worldwide and U.S. IoT Cellular Connections Forecast, 2022–2026, Doc # US47948122, July 2022

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