Why edge
is set to become
the architecture
of the future

Author: Shane Schick

The nature of innovation makes the future of IT notoriously difficult to predict, but it's probably a safe bet to say it will be built in part upon edge computing infrastructure.

For example, according to a forecast from market research firm IDC, "Worldwide spending on edge computing is expected to be $176 billion in 2022, an increase of 14.8% over 2021."1 This includes adoption across industries ranging from retail and manufacturing to transportation and the public sector, IDC predicted.

Deploying edge nodes allows organizations to overcome challenges in performance and latency by reducing the distance data needs to be transmitted to compute resources thus reducing round trip latency and improving overall application performance. Simply stated, data is processed closer to where it is generated, whether it is a piece of factory equipment, an electrical meter or a wearable device. As an added benefit, the amount of data that may need to be transferred to remote data centers can also be optimized potentially reducing bandwidth needs and lowering the related costs. This is why the adoption of edge computing has become one of the biggest trends in IT.

Extending the benefits with mobile edge computing

Mobile edge computing (also known as multi-access computing or MEC) takes this a step further by colocating edge computing infrastructure with 5G network infrastructure. As RCR Wireless points out, this paves the way for the use of 5G applications that balance high bandwidth and low latency while avoiding network congestion.

In a recent article, Forrester notes that technology executives "should prepare for evolving edge computing environments, which run software wherever that software best fits the need."2 Mobile edge computing infrastructure prepares organizations for the future because it gives them a greater ability to dynamically provide applications and experiences wherever they're needed. They also mention that 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) will open up new opportunities to analyze data in real time, monitor corporate assets from afar and deploy autonomous vehicles.

Where mobile edge computing infrastructure is headed

A good example of the edge's long-term potential includes healthcare. Computerworld reports on some of the early work in this area, such as processing all the data coming in through wearable devices to alert staff when changes in patient readings require their attention. Removing lag time in data processing could also allow hospitals and clinics to use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to help their teams develop skills.

Edge computing will also be critical as more municipalities endeavor to develop into smart cities. A report from construction firm Hill International argues that centralized data processing becomes challenging as data and sensors spread to buildings, utilities and traffic systems. Beyond the efficiencies and speed edge computing infrastructure offers a smart city, the report said the technology can also have a positive environmental impact by reducing energy consumption while boosting revenues through connectivity services and remote toll collection.

In manufacturing, edge computing can allow companies to create intelligent virtual replicas of physical assets, or "digital twins," to improve product design, maintenance and production. An article from Raconteur gives the example of a car manufacturer that used digital twins and edge computing to put a vehicle's engine through a much more extensive series of tests.

Explore how you can get started with mobile edge computing and 5G technologies and do the same.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.

1IDC, New IDC Spending Guide Forecasts Double-Digit Growth for Investments in Edge Computing, Doc #prUS48772522, January 2022.

2Workload Affinity Expands Edge Computing Opportunities In 2022, Michele Pelino, Forrester blogs, October 2021.