Edge use cases are expanding across industries as companies move compute and analytics capabilities to the edge. Some companies want to reduce latency. Others want to gain greater insights into what's happening in the field whether people, crops, or oil rigs.
"Edge computing enables companies and other types of organizations to analyze large amounts of data on site or on devices in real time," said Shamik Mishra, CTO for Connectivity in the Engineering and R&D Business at global consulting firm Capgemini. "This can enable several new opportunities in terms of new sources of revenue, improved productivity, and decreased costs."
In fact, there's an entire world of the Internet of Things (IoT) innovation happening that makes edge use cases even more compelling including smart homes, wearables, AR video games and increasingly intelligent vehicles. Gartner expects the IoT platform market to grow to $7.6 billion by 2024, which represents both on-premises and cloud deployments. The company considers PaaS a key enabler of digital scenarios.
Allied Market Research sees the broader opportunity worth $16.5 billion by 2025, driven by the desire to avoid network latency problems and restrictions on bandwidth usage for storing data in the cloud. The company also expects 5G and IoT frameworks and languages "to provide lucrative opportunities for the market growth in upcoming years."
Bob Moore, a principal and partner at professional services network PwC, said although 5G, cloud and IoT each support a wide variety of use cases, their confluence is enabling innovative use cases.
"While it's easy to identify the role of various technologies in delivering these new experiences, it's difficult to determine what value-chain models will succeed and sustain," said Moore. "The current generation of deployments are delivering technology value, but business and economic sustainment remains to be seen."
Dan Hays, another principal at PwC, considers the biggest challenge commercial considerations. "Edge computing technology has come a long way, but business models are in many cases still playing catch up. For example, questions largely remain about the best placement of edge data centers, specifically their proximity to mobile sites," said Hays. "There is also uncertainty about who will ultimately foot the bill for the additional infrastructure needed for these early use cases compared to who is actually benefiting from the technology, specifically the reduced latency and network traffic that edge computing and 5G offer."
Clearly, edge computing is very much a work in progress. However, there are several interesting use cases at work today and others anticipated for the future. Here’s a look at 10 ways enterprises can use the edge.