The global market for edge data centers is expected to nearly triple to $13.5 billion in 2024 from $4 billion in 2017, thanks to the potential for these smaller, locally located data centers to reduce latency, overcome intermittent connections and store and compute data close to the end user.
However, the right timing and strategy for moving data centers (and related services) to the edge will be different for each organization, depending on the conditions, environment and business opportunities in its marketplace.
By filtering the data close to the source, low-cost edge centers can help close the potential 64 zettabyte gap between global data center traffic and useable data created.
Edge data centers may soon handle much of the data that flows through many sectors of our economy.
Agriculture: Billions of farm animals are scattered all over the world. Farm analytics to manage disease are adding to the data gap—which edge centers can close.
Banking: Edge data centers provide the low latency that traders and asset managers increasingly depend on.
Defense: Military drones connected to edge computing react faster and relay information more quickly.
Health care: Robotic surgeries depend on ultra-low latency computing and uninterrupted network access, which edge data centers supply.
Industry 4.0: Multiple smart factory use cases include machine predictive maintenance and predictive quality management.
Inventory: Analytics at the edge can increase efficiency for robotic picking and inventory management, as well as for delivery fleet management and package tracking.
Mining: When analyzing data from mines that could indicate dangerous geological or chemical conditions, edge computing’s low latency can save lives.
While the global market for edge data centers is expected to be strong, different sectors and industries will likely vary in pace of adoption, based on impact of edge demand and probability of that impact.
To make the right strategic choice about how to approach edge data center technology and related markets and applications, companies should look for answers to the following five questions.
Principal, Capital Projects & Infrastructure (Technology, Media and Telecommunications), PwC US