Edge computing by the numbers: 9 compelling stats

What's the state of edge computing, now and looking ahead? Let's dig into the data
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Alongside the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and long-anticipated 5G mobile networking connectivity, edge computing is capturing new attention by enterprise IT. This decentralized approach – processing data as close to its generation point as possible – is already working behind the scenes in many industries, enabling smart utility grid analysis, safety monitoring of oil rigs, streaming video optimization, and drone-enabled crop management.

[ Why does edge computing matter to IT leaders – and what's next? Learn more about Red Hat's point of view. ]

In the year ahead, investments in such localized computing power should grow exponentially – as evidenced by the following snapshot of current and future edge-related activity, by the numbers:

9 edge computing statistics and predictions

$3.5 billion: The value of the global edge computing market in 2019, according to Grand View Research.

$43.4 billion: The size of the global edge computing market will explode to this level by 2027 – a compound annual growth rate of 37.4 percent – according to Grand View Research. “It’s quite evident that 5G and its probable benefits have the potential to create a powerful network based on the technology that is expected to reorganize the industry architecture,” the company reports.

30 percent: Survey data suggests enterprises will spend an average of 30 percent of their IT budgets on edge cloud computing over the next three years, according to “Strategies for Success at the Edge, 2019,” a report by Analysys Mason.

[ Get a shareable primer: How to explain edge computing in plain English.] 

29 billion: That’s projected number of connected devices all vying for attention on the global network by 2022, according to the Telecommunications Industry Association. More than half of those (18 billion) will be IoT devices.

57 percent: Want evidence that edge architecture is getting real? 57 percent of mobility decision-makers say they have edge computing on their roadmap over the next year, in responding to the 2019 Forrester Analytics Global Business Technographics Mobility Survey.

What were the top three benefits driving those respondents to edge computing, according to Forrester’s survey?

  • Flexibility to handle present and future artificial intelligence demands
  • Avoidance of network latency and allowance for faster responses
  • The need to conduct complex processing that cloud can’t support.

75 percent: Gartner predicts that by 2025, three-quarters of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed at the edge – outside a traditional centralized data center or cloud. That’s up from just 10 percent in 2018.

50 percent: The edge cloud service market will grow by at least that much, according to Forrester analyst Abhijit Sunil, who notes that “public mega-cloud providers, telecommunication companies, platform software providers, content delivery networks, and data center colocation providers are innovating to provide basic infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and advanced cloud-native programming services on distributed edge computing infrastructure.”

1 millisecond (ms): That’s long been the promise of combining 5G networking with edge computing: near-zero latency. That’s 1/1000th of a second – or about the length of the typical camera flash. That’s far from reality today. Verizon, for example, clocked the latency of its earliest 5G network rollouts in Chicago and Minneapolis at less than 30 msIBM points out that edge computing (moving workloads to network edge locations in the network facilities) can further shave latency by 10-20 ms. But experts expect it to be some time before 1-ms latency is possible in real-world conditions.

$14.5 billion: A data-center-in-a-box? That’s the idea behind the micro data center (a self-contained, stand-alone rack-level system for the edge). Such micro data centers are an emerging component of the edge ecosystem, and the market for them will leap from $3 billion in 2018 to nearly $15 billion by 2025, according to a 2019 Global Market Insights report.

[ Want to learn more about implementing edge computing? Read the blog: How to implement edge infrastructure in a maintainable and scalable way. ]

Stephanie Overby is an award-winning reporter and editor with more than twenty years of professional journalism experience. For the last decade, her work has focused on the intersection of business and technology. She lives in Boston, Mass.