Edge Computing: Important Facts and Key Applications

Edge Architecture Ericsson

Edge Computing is a new trend that is becoming more relevant and important in the post-pandemic world. All over the globe, people are working, gaming and learning from home. This is putting a massive load on networks and CSPs are working round the clock to support the surge in requirement of bandwidth and availability.

Edge Computing is a very efficient way to actually stably and scalably fix this global issue. So what is Edge Computing then?

Edge Computing provides distributed computing and storage resources closer to the location where data is generated, and digital content and applications are consumed. By this, Edge Computing is improving response times and saving bandwidth. It allows users to make faster decisions using the data from connected devices such as cars, autonomous robots, or AR glasses and enables new use cases and revenue streams.

I recently had a chance to participate in an @Ericsson Unboxed series that involved a deep dive into Edge Computing and the Communication Service Providers (CSP) perspective. The discussion also touched upon the various features that 5G and other developments would bring into this. The whole discussion was very useful and here are a few important things that I learned and understood from the discussion.

First up, let’s look at why Edge Computing is important. In today’s times, we rely on our mobile devices and our CSPs for just about every important aspect of work and lives. If we were to rely on the cloud and network for important operations, the latency will be a key bottleneck to contend with and the load on the network will the humongous if all of us try to send a lot of data to and from an already congested network. So it makes sense to move compute and storage closer to the device on the edge for applications where latency and reliability matters. This ensures that latency is under control and that in the case of real-time responses needed for medical applications, gaming or manufacturing. As a result network is smooth, CSPs can provide optimal coverage and everyone is happy.

Let us now get to the other important aspects. Are there areas where Edge Computing is already making an impact upon? Yes! Gaming is one area where it is already making an impact. Modern gaming is very resource and network intensive and needs superior bandwidth and quick response times. The gaming community runs in millions. Just imagine the kind of compute, storage and network load that this puts.

The other important area where Edge Computing can play a very great role in improving the current infrastructure and efficiency is in the domain of Medicare. There are a lot of medical applications that will benefit immensely from Edge Computing optimization. Imagine a remote patient having a tele-consult with a doctor and being hit with latency and network issues. That would beat the purpose of telemedicine altogether. There are also a lot important applications like remote surgery that will be immensely benefitted by Edge Computing.

Manufacturing is another sector where Industrial IoT implementations will also get exponential efficiency improvements with a well-planned and implemented Edge Computing solution.

Let us now try and get into the CSP perspective of this. For the CSP, there are a lot of complex factors to contend with when it comes to rolling in efficient Edge Computing. The edge application ecosystem is driven by third party applications outside the telecom domain, since solutions for new use cases require a specific domain knowledge from industry players. Hyperscale Cloud Players have been aggressively moving into the Edge Computing market, expanding their offering and reach for enterprise customers. To be relevant CSPs need to move fast and establish alliances, partnerships and be part of this edge ecosystem.

CSPs have unique assets which when leveraged in the right way, can help them to take a strong position in the edge ecosystem. CSPs have distributed sites deployed across the country to bring storage and compute to the edge, they have the networking competencies to steer the traffic and can ensure high quality of experience based on user needs.

Another key conundrum that the CSPs are having to contend with is the revenue angle. The biggest and most pertinent question now is “Who will pay for Edge Computing?”

The answer to that involves the development of key and useful applications for the end user that are then rolled out properly. Once the users see the value that the solutions bring in, the packaging and pricing will make sense.

4G, which is the current technology that CSPs are using in most parts of the world already has the capability to support and enhance Edge Computing in a way that can bring tangible benefits to the end user. The advent of 5G will add more capabilities and make all of these even more fast and efficient.

5G with its new capabilities will bring new opportunities on how to solve existing enterprise pain points such as reducing the cost of infrastructure, increasing efficiency and the level of automation. For the CSP it will be crucial to provide an end-to-end service with defined Service Level Agreements, in a self-service, automated way to enterprises. It’s about enabling the ecosystem “in 1 click” – all automated.

So the future looks bright and interesting with where Edge Computing is standing now and where it is poised to go from here! Are we going to get Edge Enabled Teleportation services soon? Well, your guess is as good as mine about this.

I am piqued by Edge Computing and the Leadership role that Ericsson is poised play in this key development that has the potential to define our lives in the future. I will be following developments in this area and Ericsson closely with a lot of interest. Beam me up Scotty!

Disclaimer: This post was written in partnership with EricssonDigital as part of their Ericsson Ambassador program

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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