If you look back at the history of computing, you'll notice a cycle where computing becomes more centralized, then it becomes more distributed, then back to centralized again, and so on.
Over the past 10 to 15 years, the centralized model, in the form of cloud computing, was the dominant trend. But now the trend seems to be swinging back toward a distributed model again as edge computing becomes more prevalent.
In edge computing, data processing happens at the edge of the network rather than in a centralized hub. This means that devices at the edge of the network need to have processing and storage capabilities. In practical terms, edge computing takes a lot of different forms. Remote offices that have their own servers and storage on-site are a form of edge computing. Drones, autonomous vehicles, and mobile devices are also examples of where you can apply edge computing. And as these types of devices become more commonplace, the edge computing market is experiencing exponential growth.
According to Grand View Research, the edge computing market was worth $3.5 billion in 2019, and it's growing rapidly. In fact, the firm expects to see a 37.4% compound annual growth rate through 2027, when the market could reach $43.4 billion.
So why is edge computing becoming so popular now?
Edge computing has a couple of big advantages over centralized models like cloud computing. First, if you process data close to where you use it, you can reduce latency. In other words, your devices get faster if you don't have to wait for them to transmit data to the cloud, for the cloud to process it, and for the cloud to send data back to the device again.
Second, if you process some data at the edge, you don't have to transmit as much data to the cloud, which can reduce costs related to data transmission.
This slideshow highlights 10 trends that are making these benefits particularly attractive to enterprises right now and are accelerating edge computing.Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio