Creating an Edgy Future

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Damir Khabirov

Edge computing is already here. While the number of use cases remains small, you cannot deny the benefits of low latency and better resilience.

One use case that is often cited is autonomous vehicles. After all, they will need rapid analytical processing in near real-time at any location.  

Kevin Ji, the senior director analyst at Gartner, believes that is a poor example.

“You cannot use autonomous vehicles as an example since it is a special case. Automated vehicles will need a 5G ecosystem as well,” said Ji.

In his conversations with autonomous vehicle manufacturers, Ji noted that edge computing would feature greatly. But in remote locations, the vehicle itself will do some processing. It is akin to a mobile micro data center on wheels and requires “very advanced edge computing.”

It is very different from factories where a lot of edge-computing use cases can be found.

However, Ji believes that edge computing for autonomous vehicles, including ships and trains, will be part of the future. “But there are still some years to go. From my discussion with car manufacturers, it will take like five to eight years.”

For companies looking to start their edge computing journey, where should they begin?

Ji noted that the first question they will need to ask themselves is whether “they need edge computing.”

Factories are easier starting points as they already have server rooms that can be redesigned as micro data centers.

If edge computing is the direction they want to go, it is worthwhile looking at the cloud platform providers' portfolios. 

Cloud platform companies like AWS are already rebuilding their product portfolio for edge to improve resilience and reliability. These products allow cloud-based businesses to stay operational during a disaster or a network outage.

They realize that they need to push some compute resources to the edge to let factories build autonomous solutions themselves,” said Ji. 

Next is to find out how good your network infrastructure is. Here, Ji sees the relationship with carriers becoming important.

The key factor that will drive edge computing adoption is having the right use cases. “For now, companies are being more realistic when it comes to the value of edge computing.” 

Ji believes that will soon change with advanced manufacturing, calls for better efficiency, and the rising importance of innovation in a post-COVID-19 world.

This article is part of a CDOTrends eGuide. You can download the entire copy here.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Damir Khabirov