Edge computing will be a fundamental part of cloud adoption in 2022

As a form of distributed computing that brings processing closer to the source of data, edge computing enables businesses to understand and unlock the value of data assets in real time to make key business decisions.

Until a few years ago, the role of edge computing was confined to gathering, filtering, and sending data to applications in the cloud. However, modern infrastructure at the edge is increasingly capable of processing analytics, running machine learning models, and taking action at the edge in real time.

This is crucial for technologies such as AI and robotics, which require that greater processing speed and edge computing is the answer to capitalizing on these advancements. There are specific, often mission critical examples were edge will be used predominantly in the future, such as autonomous vehicles.

With this in mind, it is no wonder many dubbed 2021 to be the year of edge. A statement I wholeheartedly expect continue into 2022.

What does this mean for cloud computing?

A crucial component of edge computing is its relationship with cloud technologies. Rather than being competing technologies, edge and cloud can work in tandem to create the right environment for emerging technologies including Digital Twins, 5G and AI. In fact, this is why edge computing is often viewed as part of a cloud stack, with many cloud providers now offering some form of edge, or on premise computing as part of a more personalised and flexible approach to cloud adoption.

Yet, in many ways, the growing relationship between cloud and edge is still being driven by the exponential growth of data in businesses and attempts to derive value and insight from this. An estimated 80% of data will live and die at the edge in the next five years, due to more data being created across a business than can be reasonably centralized in the cloud. Here, edge computing can still be advantageous by becoming a 'mini-data center' within company premises, closer to the source of the data.

The relationship of Cloud and Edge continues to surpass expectations: According to Frost and Sullivan projections, about 90% of industrial firms will use edge computing, data analysis, and solution development at the data generation site by the end of 2021.

And, as Gartner suggests, by 2024 most cloud service platforms will facilitate at least a few distributed cloud services that execute at the edge.

It is undisputed that the next stage of cloud innovation will include edge. However, what could hinder this investment is the lack of knowledge on the interconnection between cloud and edge computing and why investing in both these technologies are key to digital transformation. Therefore, highlighting use cases, building technology communities, and creating resources that outline edge is crucial for the wider push for innovation.

Useful resources

Last year, techUK ran its Edge Computing campaign to understand how edge computing will transform enterprise infrastructure and enable the adoption of other emerging technologies.

A crucial part of this understanding was to address misconceptions around the relationship on cloud and edge computing. The event Exploring the convergence of Edge, Cloud and AI and techUK’s Edge Computing Report help define this relationship in the context of 2020 and how we envision the dynamic of cloud/edge shifting over the coming years.

In a continued push to showcase the role of edge, on 8 December techUK will be hosting the online event Unlocking the Cloud and Edge Opportunity: What do we need to know for 2022 and beyond? You can sign up by clicking on the link


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Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Head of Technology and Innovation, techUK

Laura is techUK’s Head of Programme for Technology and Innovation.

She supports the application and expansion of emerging technologies, including Quantum Computing, High-Performance Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies, across the UK. As part of this, she works alongside techUK members and UK Government to champion long-term and sustainable innovation policy that will ensure the UK is a pioneer in science and technology

Before joining techUK, Laura worked internationally as a conference researcher and producer covering enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. This included being part of the strategic team at London Tech Week.

Laura has a degree in History (BA Hons) from Durham University, focussing on regional social history. Outside of work she loves reading, travelling and supporting rugby team St. Helens, where she is from.

[email protected]

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