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EDGE FEATURE NEWS

State of the Edge Releases Free Market Research Report

By Arti Loftus December 10, 2019

The IFX Conference took place in Las Vegas with a theme to celebrate the craft and culture of infrastructure. Through keynotes and workshops, thought leaders, developers, innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and technology enthusiasts gathered to spark new ideas, start conversations, and develop new connections.

State of the Edge, a member-supported, diverse educational research organization took the opportunity to announce the availability of State of the Edge 2020, a free market research report which explains and documents the latest developments in edge computing.

In this report, Tolaga Research contributed by developing a comprehensive forecast model, which predicts that by 2028, $146 billion will be spent annually on edge IT and data center infrastructure, with a 35 percent CAGR and a $700 billion cumulative CAPEX spend.

"The State of the Edge industry consortium, working alongside Tolaga Research, has done a tremendous job in surveying, analyzing, and sharing the requirements for successful edge deployments across nearly every industry," said David A. Walsh, investor, entrepreneur and Internet visionary. "There's an obvious advantage to locating the compute close to the data the application uses and the application the user interacts with.  We are in an arms race for performance and while speed continues to improve across the board for everyone, however it's the relative speed that's most important.  It's not how fast am I, rather how much faster I am compared to the competition. Consider online advertising, which require the instant processing of mass volumes of data from multiple sources, edge computing will play an increasingly important role going forward."

"Getting alignment in the early stages through these important studies, gatherings of the smartest people working in the space, and through ongoing development, including within open source communities like those cultivated by the Linux Foundation, will accelerate successful solutions at the edge," Walsh continued, "and these solutions, whether IT, IoT, voice, messaging, mobile and especially video applications, will unlock the real value of Communications Service Providers and network operators massive investments in 5G. Perhaps we'll see the fourth chapter of the Internet coincide with 6G; based on how fast technology shifts are happening today, more innovation and greater demands will be here before we know it. For those CSPs wishing to evolve quickly to becoming Digital Service Providers (DSPs) supporting edge computing is essential."

“The 2020 edition of State of the Edge seeks to interpret the profound re-architecting of the Internet being driven by edge computing and adds over a year of updates from the edge community,” said Matt Trifiro, co-chair of State of the Edge. “We document the Third Act of the Internet as it unfolds in real time, leveraging billions of dollars of edge data centers, servers, storage arrays, fiber optics, and wireless technologies to radically transform the world’s middle- and last-mile infrastructures. This will accelerate new technologies like wireless 5G and autonomous vehicles but will also impact nearly every sector of the economy, from industrial manufacturing to healthcare.”

A $700 Billion Market

The 2020 State of the Edge Report estimates that more than $700 billion in cumulative CAPEX will be spent within the next decade on edge IT infrastructure and data center facilities.

To come up with this number, researchers modelled the growth of edge infrastructure from the bottom up, starting with the sector-by-sector use cases likely to drive demand. The forecast considers a total of 11 markets and industries in calculating the growth, including those represented by smart grids, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, automotive and consumer services.

In addition to predicting the growth of monetary spend, the forecast also predicts the growth of data center and IT infrastructure, as measured in megawatts. The deployed global power footprint of the edge IT and data center facilities is forecast to reach 102 thousand MW by 2028, with 68 percent of the deployments being on the infrastructure edge and 32 percent on the device edge.

“The Linux Foundation supports the open availability of resources like the 2020 State of the Edge report. It’s a great way to keep up with the fast-pace of edge computing,” said Arpit Joshipura, GM Networking + Edge/IOT, Linux Foundation. “We’re excited to see organizations of diverse interests coming together to produce a resource that is made available free of charge and elevates the entire community. We look forward to ongoing work with State of the Edge to collaboratively document and amplify innovations across the entire edge landscape.”

Additional Industry Experts Weigh In

“5g is a key enabler of digital transformation and it is all happening so fast – pardon the pun,” said Paul Pluschkell, a leader in innovation and Internet-based disruptive technologies. “The combination of edge computing, AI, and 5G rapidly increases the value of the internet of things moving upwards from sensors reporting binary data to more natural use cases that we can see and feel.  Healthcare and transportation are primed for a transformation where digital and human experiences save lives and get us closer to living like the Jetsons than ever!”

"Edge Computing is critical because it enables companies to design/tune their IoT solutions between centralized and distributed processing," said Eric Simone, CEO, ClearBlade. "Timing for this paper from the Free Edge initiative is outstanding. When we look back, in the early 90’s the client/server movement enabled a centralized mainframe, supporting decentralized PCs. In the late 90's, the Internet and Web evolved thick client PC interfaces into thinner browser-based interfaces and JSPs. By 2010, we saw massive disruption through elastic cloud-centric web services, and today we are well into the new edge movement and find ourselves 'back to the future' with decentralized processing and distributed edge compute. In our experience, edge computing enables us to run workloads behind firewalls and on private networks, which changing the way we address security.”

“The ultimate end state will be edge + cloud + on-premise infrastructure working together to provide the flexibility & security needed to deliver complex Enterprise systems,” Simone continued. “For mission critical industries, including Transportation, Healthcare, Government, Industrial, and Smart City, having a common on-premise + edge + cloud software stack is a core requirement."

“Growth and the opportunity for service providers to create value with applications that run in ultra-high definition on every device, whether smartphones or intelligent machines, is driving tremendous investment,” said Kevin Isacks, VP Edge Products at Ribbon Communications. “Monetizing years of investment in virtualized, cloud-native, 5G and eventually 6G networks depends on the ultra-broadband services subscribers, businesses and enterprises pay a premium for. It unlocks new types of devices with the very low latency delivered by edge to device communications in 5G and beyond”

“We’re focused on ensuring real time communications applications can be provisioned, monitored, managed and orchestrated,” Isacks continued. “We’re leading in securing edge applications, including voice, messaging, and real-time video, while also protecting data that is sent to the cloud. The ultimate value of edge compute will be found in supporting automated systems. This requires for the edge to be intelligent and scalable in order to ensure network availability for resilient transmission and achieve expected run times. Without it the sheer number of edge devices needed will be unmanageable”

"The work of Free Edge Computing is important in guiding the understanding of this relatively new modality, and the evolution of IoT and Industrial IoT in a new era defined by the rise of autonomous systems," said Don DeLoach, founder and CEO of Rocket Wagon Venture Studios. "We started to hear about edge computing years ago, in part around the Cisco Fog Computing Architecture. This made sense, and a growing number of people and organizations began to extol the value of edge computing, but mostly in the context of pushing computational resources closer to the source. This resonated from both a resource perspective and latency perspective. That is 'a' benefit, but far from being the 'only' benefit."

DeLoach continued "As the market has matured, we see more and more edge platform providers emerging, with many of the earlier ones adding increasing capabilities. And sure, these additional capabilities are edge-based AI and Machine Learning, the shiny penny of IoT, but they are more than that, and in critical ways.  The separation of the creation of the data from the consumption of the data is best facilitated at the edge, using thoughtful governance models. The layering of security can be augments at the edge. The application of data privacy can be effectively addressed at the edge. The curation of the underlying dataset, including filtering and enriching, can be done to propagate data to the right constituent in the right form can be addressed at the edge. The edge, as the 'First Receiver' of data, plays a huge role. We are beginning to see that more and more."

“Many technologists worry that the proliferation of cloud to edge will create a hacker’s paradise and open up new levels of vulnerability," said Chris Swan, Chief Revenue Officer at Dispersive. "The growth of edge to cloud communications is about to explode and will require completely new network paradigms beyond decades-old VPN and legacy SD WAN to address new security challenges. While edge computing solves important requirements for faster, multi-function processing, the latency when data is collected at the edge and sent to the cloud for certain processing, including analytics, is also important. Securely transmitting data, but not at the expense of performance, will be more important than ever - especially for IoT and Industrial IoT solutions. Solutions that rely on both edge and cloud computing can thrive, but only when a secure, scalable virtual network is designed into the architecture from the beginning."

"This new paper is a must-read for those who wish to understand what it will take to conquer the challenges associated with edge computing, while also going after opportunities," said Michael Hathaway Partner, IXOT Consulting. "Intelligence is moving to the edge, in large part because it provides low-cost, customizable applications that can be deployed exactly where they are needed. As a result, cloud will continue to grow with commodity services, including storage and elastic cloud computing resources. Intelligence at the edge provides low latency computing, and distributed edge architectures provide far more scalable solutions."

"Sensor and control systems tend to lack adequate security to directly connect to the public Internet," Hathaway continued. "The success of edge computing will require adoption of best practices for distributed and decentralized identity management and security as opposed to reliance centralized and proprietary frameworks, thus establishing standards and collaborating on the future of edge to cloud computing is essential to rolling out the large scale autonomous systems and applications that will drive value creation in 2020 and beyond."

To increase the diversity of viewpoints, State of the Edge maintains different tiers of membership to support not only large enterprises, but also start-ups, solopreneurs, and non-profits. The organization also welcomes new contributors, encouraging individuals and organizations to join the community, present ideas, participate in discussions, and offer their suggestions and improvements to the body of work. By combining many viewpoints in a transparent process, the 2020 State of the Edge report presents a resource that can be used by journalists, analysts, vendors and practitioners.


Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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