According to a recent VentureBeat article, “Edge computing has claimed a spot in the technology zeitgeist as one of the topics that signals novelty and cutting-edge thinking…But until recently the discussion has been mostly hypothetical, because the infrastructure required to support edge computing has not been available.”

That is now changing, however, and there are some critical takeaways from the technology that companies must be cognizant of in order to harness edge computing effectively. They include:

  • Edge computing is about more than just latency. As VentureBeat puts it, “…the traditional edge computing narrative has emphasized that the power of the edge is to minimize latency, either to improve user experience or to enable new latency-sensitive applications. This does edge computing a disservice.” The article argues that another valuable use case for the technology is to minimize network traffic going to and from the cloud, and that this functionality will deliver at least as much economic value as latency mitigation. This “cloud offload” has numerous efficiency benefits from a data analytics perspective in its ability to fuel intelligence at the edge—a topic we cover frequently at the APEX of Innovation.
  • Edge infrastructure is arriving in phases. According to VentureBeat, edge computing “…requires access to a new kind of infrastructure, something that looks a lot like the cloud but is much more geographically distributed than the few dozen hyper-scale data centers that comprise the cloud today.” As this infrastructure becomes more widely available, it’s likely to take a phased approach in which each phase extends the edge’s reach to a wider geographic footprint.
  • New software is needed to manage the edge. As VentureBeat puts it, “…the ultimate direction of the industry is one of unification, toward a world in which the same tools and processes can be used to manage cloud and edge workloads regardless of where the edge resides. This will require the evolution of the software used to deploy, scale, and manage applications in the cloud, which has historically been architected with a single data center in mind.” As this shift occurs, expect to see more startups and enterprises alike getting in on the action and finding ways to meet new technology demands associated with managing the edge.

While edge computing is still in its relative infancy, we are already seeing numerous examples of its practical application across various industry sectors. As VentureBeat states, “…one thing we know is this industry moves quickly. The cloud as we know it is only 14 years old. In the grand scheme of things, it will not be long before the edge has left a big mark on the computing landscape.”

With this in mind, is your organization prepared to reap the benefits of what the edge will bring?