The research company addresses the potential benefits of the edge, as well as some of the growing pains facing the integration of the emerging technology.
The research company Forrester has evaluated edge computing and its role in future technologies as part of their recently published study. “The future of edge computing” goes into detail about the possible innovations that this type of technology presents, as well as some of the disadvantages of using advanced technology.
Future Benefits of Edge Computing
Three important ideas raised by Forrester in the report show what edge computing will be capable of in the future:
- Edge computing promises key benefits for software everywhere
- Edge innovation will lead to smarter, faster digital experiences everywhere
- Edge networks will make us more connected and interdependent
Forrester suggests that these benefits will be realized through workload affinity. With this concept, companies will be able to deploy software wherever it works best, be it in a data center, cloud environment, or across different applications all on the same network. The company says AI/ML, analytics, IoT and container solutions will drive these new assets, with systems eventually choosing where to run based on efficiency.
Some of the benefits addressed by the research company include the interconnection of devices, as the linking of these systems becomes more standard and not a rarity. While it may be difficult at this point to see how devices can run software in and out of the cloud, Edge is expected to make processes like these run smoothly. One example presented in the report relates to the ease with which connected software in refrigerators, servers in shopping malls, or cameras on street corners will run in a public cloud.
Second, the rise of this technology is expected to employ local data when it comes to AI preparing for user needs in the future. Artificial intelligence and real-time insights are one of the most anticipated features of edge computing, especially among telcos and their executives. Qualcomm has already begun work on this process, partnering with startup Juganu to create smart traffic lights to identify potentially dangerous traffic situations and change signals based on the data it collects.
Technologies like 5G, LTE, low-power wireless technologies, and software-defined networking are already working to make edge-to-cloud networking a reality. Composable infrastructure is expected to be able to efficiently implement distributed software systems as needed. Accenture and Intel have made this a reality, as the two companies have created new “edge” software and networking capabilities for industries such as hospitality and entertainment.
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Obstacles to making Edge a reality
While all of the listed benefits seem remarkable, Forrester anticipates obstacles to making the world more connected and efficient. A big challenge raised in the study is the ways in which emerging technology will affect both trust and business in the future. With a large number of interconnected devices and networks, this provides new potential opportunities for criminals to take advantage of any gaps that arise in cyber security. Compounding the problem, companies can take time to adapt to these changes until many of the issues are ironed out, especially when considering industries with sensitive data like healthcare. This could potentially slow down the rate at which the border could grow, making the process of connecting everything slower and more painful.
Another problem that arises is that of sustainability. Carbon emissions from data centers now exceed those of pre-pandemic air travel, and with the Edge needing additional resources, it could further exacerbate the problem. What many consumers have said sustainability is an important factor to consider when choosing which companies to do business with, this could become a sticking point for those concerned about emissions caused by additional hardware and electronic waste.
Solutions to obstacles will not come immediately.
In the short term, one of the ways companies can prepare for the next cutting-edge revolution is to start focusing on the demise of 3G networks and how that will affect existing connections. Many companies are looking to do just that in 2022, so untangling any issues associated with those connections is a must. Another way companies can plan for the edge is to invest in private 5G networks as well as enterprise edge opportunities. Partnering with a company that can provide these private 5G services and increase network security will allow businesses to accelerate their move to the edge and help solve the growth issues mentioned above.
In the long term, sustainability will have to be an issue that is addressed over time. One way companies can begin to make this a reality is by making buildings reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as outlined in the Paris climate agreement. Edge is expected to help urban areas reduce waste and energy consumption, but it won’t be instant. Forrester also mentions precision farming as a possible solution, reducing the excessive use of land and water to do so.