According to Gartner , edge computing represents an opportunity for extreme decentralization, placing computing nodes as close as possible to the sources and sinks of data and content. The demand for edge computing is being driven by technologies such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Machine Learning (ML), and 5G because newer applications need connectivity not just between people, but also between Things. The key benefits of edge computing include the enablement of lower latency, enhanced security, and backhaul cost savings.
Industrial IoT solutions drive efficiency and reduce cost by allowing real-time monitoring of assets without human intervention. Real-time monitoring increases the availability of equipment by alerting operations of situations that need immediate attention. Data collected from the assets is used to optimize maintenance scheduling.
IIoT is a key part of the digital transformation process for critical infrastructure industries such as logistics, transportation, manufacturing, energy, utilities, etc. Enterprises are increasingly embracing IIoT solutions to provide critical operational insights to enhance their field operations and various industrial processes and drive significant improvements in efficiency, productivity, cost, and revenue.
5G architecture is essentially designed to take advantage of cloud-native as well as edge-computing concepts – the ability to leverage self-contained functions within or across the data centers as well as in the cloud, communicate in a microservices environment, and work cohesively to compute and deliver services and applications right at the edge of both the enterprise and IIoT networks. Disaggregation, multi-access edge computing (MEC), and virtualization are the three key elements of a 5G cloud-agnostic or cloud-friendly architecture.
MEC is emerging as a key pillar for IIoT and mission-critical vertical solutions, helping to satisfy the demanding requirements for 5G at the edge in terms of throughput, latency, scalability, security, privacy, and automation. Expected to play a critical role in expanding the footprint of MEC, network slicing is a specific form of virtualization that allows multiple logical networks to run on top of shared physical network infrastructure resulting in significant cost efficiency. With slicing, enterprises have access to highly customized networks tailored to their specific security and SLA needs in a cost-effective, timely, and efficient way. 5G driven by MEC and network slicing will facilitate strong revenue growth across many verticals, especially in the dispersed critical infrastructures within IIoT.