Edge computing has the potential to revolutionize how we use and experience technology. Whether you're an early adopter or simply want to stay up to date with the latest trends, it's worth exploring how it can benefit you.

First, what is edge computing? This question has been getting more buzz in the tech world lately.

Simply put, it refers to the processing of data and applications at or near the edge of a network – including in devices such as smartphones, tablets, cars, wearables and home appliances – rather than in a centralized data center. So why all the excitement around edge computing?

Three industry experts have shared their insights into this emerging technology:

Here are their perspectives.

Edge computing and private 5G have huge potential

A key advantage of edge computing is its ability to work with 5G. The next generation of wireless technology, 5G dramatically improves download speeds and reduces latency. However, this means a lot more data will travel through our networks, and edge computing will be critical in handling this influx of information.

Edge computing works with private 5G in different ways, including:

  • Allowing applications to process data on the edge
  • Delivering better real-time analytics and machine-learning capabilities
  • Enabling the faster processing of mission-critical applications

Additionally, it can improve efficiency, allowing users to use multiple devices and applications more seamlessly.

“Private 5G can unlock efficiencies and greater security options for businesses with a proper use case for the technology.” – Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot

“Unlike alternative fixed-connectivity options such as fiber, which can also deliver high performance, 5G connectivity supports mobility, allowing for connectivity to tethered and untethered equipment. While Wi-Fi can deliver comparable performance and, to a limited extent, be mobile, flexible and scalable, a 5G network has a much wider range and offers better mobility because it can achieve a fast handover from one base station to another.” – Emeka Obiodu, NVIDIA

Private 5G combined with edge computing can make devices work better together

Using private 5G with edge computing can fundamentally change our experience of technology. By delivering faster downloads, less latency and improved efficiency across networks, this combination can make our devices work together better. Additionally, it allows mobile devices to process data natively, allowing for real-time analysis and machine-learning capabilities.

“Private 5G can be a critical component in getting the most out of an edge-computing deployment. Say you have a company location with several employees and connected devices that interact with an application in a remote data center or a cloud provider’s region. Having a private 5G network gives you quick, direct access to the remote data and computing resources without the complexity and inefficiencies of dealing with your traditional telco provider.” – Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot

“By default, a private 5G network involves the installation of computational equipment at the edge or within an industrial premise. While this equipment is mostly single-use today, the availability of a software-defined, cloud-native and fully virtualized 5G radio access network makes it possible to reuse the same equipment for other computational needs. This is the fusion of private 5G with edge computing, enabling enterprise users to combine their communications workloads (such as 5G) and their AI workloads on the same computing infrastructure at the edge.” – Emeka Obiodu, NVIDIA

Some experts believe that edge computing is paving the way for the widespread adoption of 5G, as edge connectivity – with private 5G – is essential to unleashing the true capabilities of edge computing, which will play a key role in shaping the future of technology.

Which industries are the most interesting for the take-up of edge computing?

Any industry that involves processing large volumes of data and real-time decision-making – think healthcare or manufacturing – stands to benefit from edge computing. The deployment of IoT, AI and automation will support use cases such as managing smart-city infrastructure, enabling instant medical data analysis, and facilitating advanced machine learning in connected devices.

“Edge computing can benefit businesses with an office full of employees, factories with a mix of employees and IoT devices, and warehouses that use IoT devices. However, the security that private 5G can give you should be in addition to any zero trust [security] implementation that you have. It is not a replacement for zero trust." – Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot

“The most interesting industries are those with a need for high performance, mobility, flexibility, scalability and security. These will include most enterprises in the industrial, manufacturing, mining, logistics, retail and healthcare sectors. In these industries, private 5G (that is, connectivity) and edge computing (especially data and intelligent video analytics) use cases will include cameras, automated guided vehicles, robotic arms and myriad sensors.” – Emeka Obiodu, NVIDIA

The potential exists for this emerging technology to keep evolving and affecting a range of industries as well as our everyday lives.

A woman holding a laptop in a server room

Your data usage has a smaller energy footprint when the route to your data center is through an efficient network

Edge computing can support sustainable solutions

Edge computing can support the creation of sustainable solutions and environmentally friendly practices in several ways, such as enabling the more efficient use of resources.

Additionally, it can be used in the development of smart-city infrastructure, which has a positive impact on sustainability.

“Deploying AI with edge computing is helping organizations of all sizes improve efficiency, reduce waste and automate their processes by providing intelligent insights. With AI inspection, factories can detect defects more accurately, reducing false positives that result in higher levels of waste. In addition, they can use this information to identify common defects and fix issues in the factory process. Distribution companies are using AI to deploy fleets of vehicles more efficiently, reducing emissions and speeding up delivery times through more intelligent routing.” – Tiffany Yeung, NVIDIA

“Many folks don’t realize that there is an energy cost to the distance that data travels. It is an electrical current that runs through our routers and internet data lines. Think of your gas use when you’re traveling in your car. Similarly, your data usage has less of an energy footprint if the route to your data center is shorter through an efficient network. Private 5G can give you a shorter network route to your data center resources.” – Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot

As edge computing gains traction, it is becoming another useful tool to use in our attempts to create a more sustainable future. This is an exciting prospect for environmentalists, entrepreneurs or anyone who cares about the impact of technology on our world.

How will edge computing develop, and how important is edge as a service?

One possibility is that edge computing will become more integrated into other technologies, such as cloud computing and IoT. There may also be additional innovation, including improved machine-learning capabilities and better performance across networks.

“Edge management is increasingly becoming an IT focus, as moving edge projects into production is the responsibility of IT departments. To address the edge-computing challenges related to manageability, security and scale, IT departments will turn to cloud-native technology. Kubernetes, a platform for containerized microservices, has emerged as the leading tool for managing edge AI applications on a massive scale.” – Tiffany Yeung, NVIDIA

“I can see private 5G routers serving content delivery network (CDN) purposes in the future as the implementations mature. Reducing the amount of repetitive data traveling over the airwaves will lead to greater efficiencies.” – Tim Maliyil, AlertBoot

In summary

Experts believe edge computing will be a major driver of digital transformation in the coming years – and it’s not hard to see why. It allows organizations to process data in real time, enabling exciting new use cases and applications.

Read more about NTT’s Edge as a Service

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