A disruptive concept for network architectures
Edge computing has taken hold in the ICT industry, with the explosion of data generated by the IoT and the push to utilise them, especially in combination with artificial intelligence. Alongside cloud computing, its purpose is to perform data processing closer to users and in real time, and so improve performance and security.
Edge computing market set to grow by 41% a year between 2019 and 2024
In 2019, IDATE DigiWorld counted 119 edge computing implementations in some 20 sectors. The market is estimated at 2.5 billion EUR in 2019, and forecast to reach 13.8 billion EUR in 2024. This steady increase in revenue is spurred by the deployment of software and services, especially in North America and Europe. Manufacturers continue to account for the lion’s share of this market. This steady growth is being sustained by software and service rollouts by manufacturers who were the first to adopt edge computing to optimise their internal processes. Cloud computing providers are also among early adopters, seeing edge computing as a natural adjunct to their core business: they are forecast to have a 50% market share by 2024.
Telcos too will contribute to the market, with an estimated 8% share of the market in 2024.
Most of the market of edge computing will be capture by the cloud providers
North America still the heaviest user of edge computing
Progression of regional edge computing revenue
A vast and largely collaborative ecosystem
Edge computing’s technological and economic promises have attracted a great many players from a variety of sectors. They include all ICT industry profiles: telecom equipment suppliers, traditional IT companies, integrators, startups, but also telcos, cloud computing companies (hyperscalers), and manufacturing equipment suppliers like Schneider Electric and Bosch. These players have had to reinvent themselves to tailor their hardware and/or software solutions to suit different use cases, and adapt to the imperative of making them more compact, modular, resilient, etc. Because of the expertise required, blending IT, telecoms and manufacturing, these players are tending to join forces to meet their customers’ needs, forming partnerships between telecoms operators and hyperscalers.
Manufacturing, automotive and media are the main target sectors
Distribution of edge computing initiatives by industry, in 2019
A concept in sync with industrial environments
By bringing data processing closer to the end user, edge computing’s first advantage is to reduce latency and so improve quality of service, which is crucial for immersive applications, autonomous vehicles and video distribution, for instance. But it also has other selling points, including the ability to improve data security and confidentiality, thanks to its capacity to process and store large volumes of data. Edge computing also lightens the load on networks used to transmit data to the cloud, and so reduce resulting bandwidth costs. This is a big draw for manufacturing companies, especially as part of predictive maintenance, thanks to the ability to perform data analysis locally on a piece of equipment, and so reduce the need to send malfunction alerts through the cloud.
Edge computing a good match for multiple innovative applications
Potential edge computing applications
MobiledgeX, a newcomer to the value chain
Founded by Deutsche Telekom in 2017, MobiledgeX is a company that was created to accelerate the adoption of edge computing, and explore the paradigm’s disruptive potential amongst a community of stakeholders that includes telcos and developers, as well as users. From a technical standpoint, the solution is designed like a marketplace, composed of edge computing hardware (servers, storage) and software resources, as well as applications and services. The aim for MobiledgeX is to provide easier access to innovative applications, notably in the wake of 5G rollouts. MobiledgeX has already whet the appetite of some 20 major carriers (NTT DoCoMo, SK Telecom…) who are testing new services on their network, particularly those involving immersive applications.