What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing is defined as being connected directly to sensors/actuators, and provided with enough compute/storage/network resources to manage connected sensors/actuators. Edge computing resources have well defined geographic (“I am here”) and logical (“I am connected to these things in the real world”) attributes.
What is stimulating the Importance and Potential Growth in Edge
Edge computing has potential benefits across a wide range of market sectors, including as well scientific applications. With no surprise, the main adopters are telecommunications and media organisations, given the importance of edge resources for their solutions. Telcos are not only adopters, but central to any edge to cloud ecosystem as providers of the “transport” layer between the edge and the core. Despite the potential relevance of edge computing to their business, most markets are still behind telecommunications organisations in their adoption.
Edge computing is enabling change and in turn, increasing the value of other systems and activities. Edge computing is being driven by operational parts of organisations, rather than IT departments (who may eventually end up owning and maintaining it).
What are the Main Challenges related to Edge Computing?
Whilst research shows a great potential for adoption of edge computing in different application areas and sectors, market research also identifies issues that may limit such adoption. Early edge deployments show that organisations are concerned about:
- Their ability to manage assets, control costs, and ensure physical and data security.
- Lack of skills: one in five organisations lacks the internal skills needed to support edge computing adoption.
- The distributed and often remote nature of edge IT makes human intervention in edge components expensive and potentially unaffordable.
- Telecommunication industry and industrial IoT players are promoting a variety of technologies and standards for edge computing. This may lead to interoperability issues and create additional barriers.
In addition, HORIZON CLOUD identified the following challenges related to Edge Computing:
- Concern about stranded edge investments. Investing in the wrong
emerging technology is a risk. The supply side should facilitate edge adoption and deployment by mitigating the risk of lock-in.
- Edge is complex and expensive for SMEs. Smaller organisations need
help to improve their readiness and maturity, and reduce the complexity of edge computing adoption, while making it affordable.
- Uncertain return on edge investments. Enabling conditions must come
about to facilitate the widespread use of edge technology, so it reaches critical mass as a public edge capability.
- Ensure scalability and affordability of edge computing solutions and deployments to cope with the demands of the foreseen usage scenarios, also by small players.
- Concerns about edge interoperability. Edge computing research and
innovation solutions are coming from the telecommunications sector as well as multiple Industry 4.0 initiatives, but their approaches are diverging. This will create interoperability issues and increase the complexity of adoption and management.
- Limited investment on trusted data access solutions for the edge. As
of today most of the solutions available for trusted access to data rely on specific hardware facilities – software based solutions are still lacking. This limits a lot the flexibility and potential adoption of public edge infrastructure offering where guarantees about trusted access to data are required.