Accelerating innovation by bringing computing to the edge.
New opportunities with edge solutions.
The demand for wireless data continues to rise exponentially. Technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), the internet of things (IoT) and autonomous vehicles all require the transmission and processing of massive volumes of data with next to no latency. The closer servers and data centers are to the point of transmission, the easier it is to accommodate these technologies without increasing network congestion and latency. That’s why edge solutions locate the bulk of the processing power right at the edge of the network—for example, near a cell tower or small cell network—opening up new opportunities for all types of organizations.
A simple idea with game changing potential.
Most digital interactions today are handled by a few massive data centers that cover large regions of the country. Edge solutions reimagine that model, by deploying many smaller, powerful data centers near where people live and work. In other words, at the edge of the network. This new model has many benefits.
Greater speed, less latency.
It’s pretty simple: when data has less distance to travel, it gets there much quicker. Seconds become milliseconds, which means better response times for anything connected to a network.
Offloading keeps networks open.
With more computing happening locally, less data is being sent out over large cloud networks—reducing traffic and allowing more devices and data-intensive applications to function properly without slowing down everyday network use.
Decentralized processing reduces risk.
When networks are no longer reliant on large data hubs, the impact of any one cyber attack is greatly reduced. Edge solutions can also be utilized as part of a private network, which isolates architecture and makes it safer and more resilient.
Cloud capabilities, private data center benefits.
By computing at the edge, companies get the capabilities of cloud computing with the benefits of a privately positioned data center. And since edge solutions provide their own data collection, there’s less need to invest heavily in data storage.
Localized networks have great potential.
When data centers become a built-in part of local infrastructure, additional location-specific data can be incorporated into applications operating on the edge. This will especially be critical for autonomous vehicles and other AI and machine-learning technologies, where every data point matters.
How industries can use edge solutions.
Edge solutions have real potential for almost every industry, and in many cases will be considered a platform for businesses to grow. Here are just a few examples of the possibilities they can bring to life.
Today’s games are often limited by the computing power of the in-home systems used by each individual gamer. Cloud gaming has the potential to equalize the playing field, attract new gamers and reduce the need for expensive systems all together. Edge solutions will be able to process and transmit the massive amounts of data that advanced games require at low latency and without causing network congestion. It will push the envelope of what developers can create and open gaming up to new uses, including companies that want to implement advanced gamification into their operations.
Transportation & Autonomous Vehicles
From self-driving cars to drone delivery services, the transportation and automotive industries are quickly changing. To fully realize these new technologies, network speed will need to increase and latency will need to be cut to nearly zero. An autonomous car, for example, can’t afford to wait seconds in a scenario where it needs to make a split-second decision. With computing and processing power at the edge, these new technologies become much more feasible.
Limits on technology companies often come down to data speeds, latency and processing power. Edge solutions have the potential to mitigate all these obstacles. Whether cloud services are a core part of a company’s offering or just a piece of their operational infrastructure, having data and computing at the edge of the network will bring added flexibility and open up new opportunities. As companies and people further increase their data usage in new and innovative ways, edge solutions will be a core part of the infrastructure that keeps the most successful technology companies ahead of the curve.
Media & Entertainment
One of the biggest obstacles of today’s entertainment companies is finding fast and efficient ways to deliver content to consumers, who increasingly demand access 24/7 from any device. Edge solutions allow content providers to decentralize distribution in a way that enhances content delivery and reduces overall network congestion. Additionally, with data and processing power located closer to the end consumer, new innovations become possible—from 4K picture to more interactive media formats.
Commercial Real Estate
As property owners embrace technologies like smart lighting, advanced security systems and smart management systems, the amount of data they generate will grow exponentially. Real estate developers who plan for edge solutions throughout their developments, along with CBRS, will be at a strategic advantage as their properties become smarter and more efficient.
Public safety agencies are always looking for new ways to better serve their communities. In a profession where every second matters, edge solutions open up several new possibilities. For example, a drone network could be deployed to quickly transmit critical information to arriving first responders. Localized data from networks could also provide additional location-based information during emergencies—keeping everyone informed and safe.
The future of many municipalities is smart city technology. Edge solutions will allow communities to adopt and deploy the many connected IoT devices needed for things like smart lighting, automated public services, advanced traffic management and enhanced first-responder capabilities—without causing network congestion for the residents and businesses.
To enhance their client services and get a leg up on the competition, financial companies are always on the lookout for new computing advantages. By transmitting data locally, edge solutions can shave valuable milliseconds off of every piece of analysis and transaction—greatly reducing one of the most costly obstacles in the industry—latency. And as companies embrace new AI tools for data analysis and optimization, edge solutions play another important role in helping to transmit and process required data.
Many manufacturers are moving quickly to adopt the capabilities of Industry 4.0—greatly increasing the amount of data they need to transmit and process. Edge solutions will allow them to take full advantage of advanced manufacturing processes, logistics, automation, diagnostic monitoring and more—at fast speeds and with low latency. Additionally, by better allocating and localizing data, manufacturers can decrease the risks of dangerous or costly network outages.
With the utility industry as a whole largely embracing smart grid technologies, edge solutions will be critical to maximizing the potential. Specifically, utility companies will need to be able to support large amounts of data being transferred from localized grids without slowing down basic operations. Edge solutions will provide the computing power and speed needed to support smart meters, smart lighting and the thousands of alternative energy sources feeding power back to the grid.
Edge solutions by the numbers.
Expected cumulative CapEx spend on edge IT infrastructure and data center facilities by 2030
machine-to-machine connections estimated by 2023
estimated exabytes of data created globally every day by 2025—equivalent to over 100 billion HD movies
There’s a whole class of things that we’re able to do with the intelligent edge that were economically infeasible or outright impossible before.
We’ve gathered several resources to help you better understand edge solutions.
The Edge Opportunity – Platform Matters
Research firm AvidThink explores every aspect of edge solutions, from the potential to technical insights into deployment and architecture.
Forbes: Critical Capabilities for Industrial IoT Edge Computing
Forbes goes deep on the potential that edge solutions hold for IIoT and Industry 4.0 as a whole.
What is Edge Computing?
IBM Fellow Rob High gives a visual explanation of how edge solutions work and what they can do.
State of the Edge 2020
The leading vendor-neutral platform and the Linux Foundation collaborate to provide a comprehensive point-of-view on edge solutions in 2020.
Forbes: Vapor IO And Cloudflare Partner On Edge Computing
See how one of our earliest edge solution partners is working with a leading content delivery network.
The sweet spot for edge solutions.
To reach their full potential, edge solutions need to be properly situated throughout a network. Specifically they need to be close to wireless infrastructure (i.e. a tower or small cell) that has enough space nearby to accommodate a shelter, and they have to have access to a both a fiber connection and power. As a REIT with a unique portfolio of towers, small cells and fiber, we have thousands of sites that meet these criteria. Our years of experience connecting customers at our colocation facilities around the country make us an ideal partner as you plan for the future. Additionally, as founding member of the Open Edge Computing (OEC) initiative, we’re uniquely positioned to help you take advantage of the promise of edge solutions.