Edge Computing - Statistics & Facts

With the prevalence of the internet, the world becomes more and more connected. In our everyday work and life, we produce, process and transmit enormous amount of data: whether at factory plants where automated machines do their own job with little human intervention, or as consumers with multiple smart and connected devices at our disposal. At the early stages of the information age, data was directly transmitted from point A to point B. The advancement of cloud computing technologies allows companies and individuals to take advantage of services offered by cloud providers such as Amazon and Google, and use virtual space, the “cloud”, to manage their data. However, the transmission of data between the endpoints and the centralized cloud hosted by the provider consumes a great deal of energy and latency can be great.

With a rapid growing number of devices able to connect to each other, more and more of them appear at the “edge” of the network. This is where a lot of the data storage and process will take place in the future, giving rise to the term edge computing, the so-called “Third Act of the Internet” (State of the Edge 2020, p4). Edge computing is the delivering of computing capabilities to the local points of a network, through which greater performance, less latency and less cost is obtained.

The need for localized network infrastructure and computing power is highlighted by the ever-growing Internet of Things (IoT), a term used to describe the network of connected devices. Ever more data is generated at the endpoints, exerting a growing burden on the traditional network structure. The emergence and application of 5G, the fifth generation of cellular network technologies that allows for much greater bandwidth, accelerates the growth of IoT while paving the way for edge computing. AI-optimized edge processors, which provide greater computing power, also enable wider adoption of edge systems.

Edge computing is a fast-growing market, with the forecast global revenue set to reach nine billion U.S. dollars by 2024. The capital expenditure on edge computing devices and infrastructure is projected to amount to a staggering 146 billion U.S. dollars by 2028. Some industries such as financial services and manufacturing have already made extensive use of edge computing in their day-to-day businesses, and countries like China are full-heartedly embracing the potential that the new technology holds for them.

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