What is Edge Computing?

Edge Computing represents an important ICT trend in which computational infrastructure is moving increasingly closer to the source of data processing needs. The market drivers for this move include preparation for Internet of Things (IoT) networks, optimization of LTE and emerging 5G networks, and the ability to offer new and enhanced mobile applications such as Virtual Reality.

MEC will facilitate the rapid expansion of new and improved apps and services while optimizing IoT as well as LTE and 5G network deployments

This movement to the edge does not diminish the importance of centralized computing such as is found with many cloud-based services. Instead, computing at the edge offers many complementary advantages including reduced latency for time sensitive data, lower capital costs and operational expenditures due to efficiency improvements. For example, there is a reduced need for back-haul infrastructure as a result of localized data processing.

What is Edge Computing?

Edge Computing represents an important ICT trend in which computational infrastructure is moving increasingly closer to the source of data processing needs. The market drivers for this move include preparation for Internet of Things (IoT) networks, optimization of LTE and emerging 5G networks, and the ability to offer new and enhanced mobile applications such as Virtual Reality.

MEC will facilitate the rapid expansion of new and improved apps and services while optimizing IoT as well as LTE and 5G network deployments

This movement to the edge does not diminish the importance of centralized computing such as is found with many cloud-based services. Instead, computing at the edge offers many complementary advantages including reduced latency for time sensitive data, lower capital costs and operational expenditures due to efficiency improvements. For example, there is a reduced need for back-haul infrastructure as a result of localized data processing.

Current Trends and Market Outlook

The “Edge” in this context can refer to the base station itself (eNodeB, RNC, etc.), but also data centers close to the radio network (e.g. at “aggregation points”). One of the terms that has arisen is “Cloudlet”, which refers to a micro datacenter that resides at the edge of the Internet.

Edge functionalities will pave the way to deploy innovative applications and services

Cloud Services Data on DemandRegardless of the terminology, or specific technologies involved, edge computing will usher into existence a wave of new solutions and services as well as enhance existing services. Existing latency dependent services such as Virtual Reality (VR) will benefit from improved accessibility as VR dependency upon a wired connection for required capacity and data transit time is diminished with edge computing.

New services such as real-time data on demand are anticipated to be a major benefit of edge computing. Contextual data associated with new and improved services such as gaming, information services, and other apps will become increasingly more valuable with edge computing.

Accordingly, data services providers are expected to be a major beneficiary of edge computing. The deployment and increased usage of edge computing is likely to reinforce another dominant known as Data as a Service (DaaS), which includes raw data as well as data analytics on demand and decision support services.

Edge Computing Standardization

There are many groups involved with ICT standardization in general that support edge computing.

For example, the China based Edge Computing Consortium was launched in 2016 with the support of ARM, Huawei, Intel, and various Chinese organizations including the Shenyang Institute of Automation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. One of the primary aims of the consortium is to facilitate collaboration between ICT and the world of Operational Technology (OT).

Established by ARM, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft, and Princeton University in 2015, the Open Fog Consortium, emphasizes the deployment of edge computing for IoT networks, systems, applications, and services. One of their focus areas is on the need for an ecosystem supporting a hierarchy of elements between centralized cloud infrastructure and endpoint devices.

The primary standards body for MEC standardization is the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), which created a MEC Industry Specification Group (ISG) in 2014 to address the opportunity.

ETSI published a document entitled Executive Briefing – Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Initiative in September of that year along with an introductory technical white paper entitled Mobile-Edge Computing with contributions from Huawei, IBM, Intel, Nokia Networks, NTT DoCoMo, and Vodafone.

The first Mobile Edge Computing Proof of Concept (PoC) was int