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A survey of 466 business and IT leaders conducted by the market research firm Omdia, finds that 70 percent of respondents will invest in some form of edge computing within the next 12 months. About 80 percent of respondents are expecting 5G wireless networks to become indispensable to achieving that goal.

Most respondents (70 percent), who are investing in edge computing, expect to spend $100,000 or more on edge computing projects in the first 24 months of deployment, with nearly a quarter expecting to ultimately spend $1 million or more.

A full 70 percent also said they expect to rely on managed edge computing services to achieve their goals. The biggest edge computing challenges cited by survey respondents, however, are lack of internal expertise, cybersecurity and data protection, and lack of a key technology partner.

What’s driving the increase in edge computing investments?

Overall, the survey finds nearly half of respondents said investments in edge computing are part of broader networking/connectivity transformation initiatives, while another third said digital business transformation investments were driving the shift. One-fifth said investments in edge computing were being driven by stand-alone projects. And well over a third (37 percent) said 5G networks will play a critical role in these efforts.

The primary reasons for investing in edge computing are to make remote/field workers more efficient (24 percent), safety (24 percent), insights (16 percent), engagement (15 percent) and compliance (14 percent).

In general, edge computing solutions will be employed to not only collect data but also process and analyze it at the point where it is created and consumed. Only the aggregated results of those application experiences will then be transferred back to systems of record running on a cloud or in an on-premises IT environment.

Edge computing creates more opportunity for MSPs

Whenever there is an issue with an edge computing platform, it often requires organizations to dispatch IT personnel to fix it. In addition to not wanting to absorb those costs, many organizations are trying to limit potential employee exposure to COVID-19 viruses. They would rather rely on a managed service provider (MSP) whenever feasible. MSPs, of course, may have similar concerns but at least benefit from having the monitoring and security technologies required remotely managed edge computing platforms already in place.

It’s still early as far as the adoption of edge computing is concerned, but MSPs should not be surprised to wake up one day to discover there are more workloads running at the edge than all the public clouds combined. In fact, edge computing may very well turn out to be a much larger opportunity for MSPs given the distributed nature of these application environments.

The issue, as always, is making the right investments today to be able to take advantage of an edge computing opportunity that will soon transform almost every aspect of how IT is consumed.

Photo: Fit Ztudio / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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