Although the edge computing market is a significant volume market, it is still a nascent market. No de facto standards have been imposed on the technologies to be used and there are many market sectors using edge computing, which makes it even more difficult to understand which are the key technologies for adoption.
Projections for the coming years are very optimistic and a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 19% is expected, which should mean that the market volume will be USD 87.3 billion in 2026.
For any growing market, being clear about its trends is essential in order to find the best way to capitalize on them. Either by adopting the competitive improvements that this market brings to our business, or by directly participating in this expansion, being a player in the Edge Computing value chain.
First trend, imposition of a de facto standard through strategic alliances
When new markets pass the initial hype and overcome the disappointment phase, they enter the maturity phase. It is quite clear that this will be the process of Edge Computing over the next few years. At the maturity stage, a de facto standard has been set at the technological level on how to address the most common market challenges. In markets as large as edge computing, there may be more than one de facto standard to cover different sectors or even very different grand challenges within the same sector.
For large enterprises, edge computing is a great advantage. Especially because of two things; the simplicity of solving challenges close to where the data is generated and the ability to scale computing capacity in a more controlled way.
We must understand that an edge computing solution integrates several components that must work in a coordinated manner for the solution to be successful. From the Edge Device, the operating system of this equipment, development, and configuration of the business logic, communications with the cloud to the Edge Computing Platform, which will have to solve a large number of challenges. We are talking about challenges such as deploying services, capturing data, debugging issues, deploying, monitoring, and managing security policies, and a long list of other functions.
There are components of an edge computing solution that are not obvious to imagine and that are vital to an edge computing solution. We refer to service development platforms, packaging of services as applications, distribution systems, remote deployment, centralized performance monitoring, and auditing, all integrated with communications and security of the deployed architecture.
With all the above mentioned so far we can realize the complexity of an end-to-end Edge Computing solution. It is not difficult to understand that many companies are entering into strategic agreements with each other to cover the whole solution of what customers expect.
Examples of such partnerships include:
- Edge analytics provider SAS with infrastructure provider HPE, two teamed up to deliver an IoT analytics solution.
- Dell Technologies, the maker of Edge devices, is teaming up with AT&T, the telecommunications company, to develop an open-source Edge solution that also focuses on 5G.
- The analytics solution in the Braincube Edge uses Siemens technologies for connectivity in the factory.
The trend is clear, companies are teaming up to meet the complexity of the edge computing challenge. A de facto standard is needed to unify how to solve the above challenges and the maturity of the market will decide which solutions will eventually be adopted.
Second trend, awareness of Edge Computing solutions
Not all companies are aware of the extent to which an edge computing solution can help them. Especially SMEs are not clear on how this can benefit them. The projected growth and maturity of the market are evident and large corporations are very clear about this, as their investments in Edge Computing solutions show. But the level of awareness is growing in SMEs and solutions specially designed and sized for them are starting to appear.
The trend is that more and more SMEs see the need to invest in Edge Computing solutions that allow them to be more efficient in their daily challenges. Edge Computing Platforms are key to lowering management costs and integration with vertical edge computing solutions simplifies understanding and speeds adoption in these types of companies.
In sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, real-time data analytics is essential. Today’s edge computing solutions include special-purpose processors such as GPUs (Graphical Process Units), APUs (Associative Process Units), TPUs (Tensor Processing Unit / AI Chip), FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Array) and VPUs (Video Processing Units). This may not tell you much, but it is important to understand that these chips allow us to perform highly specialized calculations very quickly and efficiently close to where the data is generated. Avoiding the need to send this information to the cloud to extract knowledge from the data. Thanks to these chips, we not only extract real-time knowledge from the data collected, but we are also able to make decisions and take action based on the knowledge gained.
We cannot forget that Edge Computing is one of the key components of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This is the connectivity ecosystem of Industry 4.0. We are talking about the digital transformation process that is moving us from the data silos of Industry 3.0 to the deep knowledge extraction of Industry 4.0 information.
Enterprises that have already been empowered with IoT are aware of the maintenance costs of processing large amounts of data: storing, processing, and analyzing massive amounts of sensor-generated data. SMEs are increasingly aware, as are large enterprises, that edge computing is the solution to all these problems. At a reasonable cost, we gain a number of advantages; such as reducing unplanned downtime problems and improving production efficiency. In addition to avoiding problems of intermittent connectivity or poor connectivity.
With the edge computing market being a growth market, there are still no clear dominators on how problems should be solved. We are faced with a range of very different solutions that, although they have points in common, are incompatible and one of the main needs of the market is interoperability between solutions due to the large value chain that an edge computing solution requires. A de facto standard will eventually be imposed to remedy this situation and alliances between companies will be essential to impose a way of doing things.
In addition, more and more SMEs are becoming aware of the advantages of edge computing and sectors such as manufacturing or agriculture. They strongly drive the need for distributed computing outside the cloud. It should be borne in mind that this will only be possible if vertical solutions that solve specific EMS problems continue to be put forward.