May 18, 2021
Enterprises, telecommunications companies, and cloud service providers will increasingly invest in edge data centers in the coming years to speed applications such as streaming video, factory automation, and telemedicine; and enable new technologies, such as autonomous vehicles and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).
PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the global market for edge data centers will more than triple, from $4 billion in 2017 to $13.5 billion in 2024.
Edge data centers are small data centers located at the edge of the network, where they are closer to users and devices. Having compute power at the edge enables faster performance and lower latency because organizations don’t have to move the data to far-flung data centers to process it.
For example, by keeping data and compute power at the edge, a factory that manufactures car seats can use visual analytics algorithms to detect defects in real time, according to Accenture.
Besides AI and factory automation, a recent Data Center Frontier story* said prominent edge computing use cases include:
Enterprises and Telecommunication Companies Drive Edge Data Center Growth
Today, enterprises and telecommunications companies are the biggest drivers of edge data centers, according to a recent Data Center Knowledge story. Meanwhile, cloud service providers are already on the edge and are continuing to build out their presence there.
For enterprises, the biggest driver of edge data centers is industrial automation and using IoT to enable smart manufacturing, but they are also using it for healthcare and retail, the story said.
Enterprises are deploying edge computing infrastructure on their own premises, such as factory floors or retail branches, but they are also relying on local and regional colocation data centers, Omdia analyst Cliff Grossner told Data Center Knowledge.
Content delivery network capacity and network function virtualization are currently the biggest drivers of edge deployments for telcos. The use of edge data centers for next-generation applications such as autonomous vehicles and AR/VR is still in its infancy. In the future, telcos are expected to invest more in edge data centers to pursue new revenue streams from autonomous-vehicle communications, AR/VR as well as video content delivery and gaming, the story said.