The Hottest Trends for Cloud Edge Computing in 2022

The term “edge computing” isn’t particularly new for today’s business leaders. For some time now, innovators have been exploring the benefits of bringing data closer to the servers and tools that need to leverage it. However, the interest in cloud edge computing has ramped up significantly in recent years, thanks in large part to the growing XR environment.

Currently, the edge computing market is expected to reach a potential value of $155.90 billion by 2030, with a phenomenal CAGR of 38.9%. Analysis of this evolving market shows companies are rapidly becoming more focused on Edge Computing as a way of keeping IoT devices connected, improving network security, and reducing latency in digital content streams.

The XR environment is particularly dependent on cloud edge computing as we move forward into a world where wearable devices will need to process larger amounts of data at a rapid scale in order to facilitate immersive experiences. Let’s take a closer look at some of the trends influencing the edge computing market for 2022 and beyond.

1. Edge Cloud Computing Becomes Essential to XR

Designing unforgettable and powerful experiences in the worlds of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality requires companies to access a combination of the right hardware and software, as well as the correct networking tools. Today’s XR wearables are becoming increasingly more advanced, producing high-definition visuals and audio at a phenomenal speed, to make digital interactions feel more realistic, organic, and impressive.

However, generating these experiences requires XR hardware to utilize large amounts of data in a small space of time. This is particularly crucial in business environments where XR solutions may be used to connect multiple people in the same space at the same time. Reducing latency and creating a “real-time” environment for communication and collaboration means accessing data on the edge.

Edge cloud computing solutions allow XR users to place crucial assets closer to the endpoints they’re accessing on a daily basis. The solution makes it easier to transmit large packets of data almost instantly, and connect people across a versatile cloud space. Even leading XR manufacturers like Varjo are beginning to introduce edge cloud platforms specifically for this use case.

2. The Growth Edge Computing Innovators

As XR, IoT, and other edge-reliant solutions continue to emerge across the digital landscape, the number of companies we see getting involved with this landscape is likely to grow. A wide number of vendors have already started stepping into the Edge space, including XR hardware creators like Varjo, and computing leaders like Dell and HPE. Internet technology giants such as Google, AWS, and Microsoft are also making their own investments into the “Edge” space.

Moving forward into an environment where cloud edge connections become increasingly critical to day-to-day operations, business leaders will have a variety of service packages and vendors to choose from. We may even see more vendors offering specialized services intended for edge connection monitoring, security, and maintenance, as part of a managed service bundle.

Telecommunications companies in particular are likely to play an increasing role in this space. Already, many telcos have started expanding their infrastructure to include more cloud-focused services and network solutions, including SD-WAN and SASE.

3. The Edge Environment Expands

As anyone with a basic knowledge of Edge cloud computing will know, the “Edge” isn’t a specific place. There’s no specific definition of how close a cloud solution needs to be to the endpoints being leveraged to constitute “edge computing”. In the years to come, we may see a number of different flavors of edge computing emerging. For instance, some companies may use an “edge” gateway placed in close proximity to remote sensors and XR tools.

Innovative analysts like Forrester are seeing a growing presence of “data center marketplaces” which may emerge as a new form of edge hosting options. These solutions will allow organizations to purchase computing space from smaller, local data centers, in a marketplace hosted and managed by data center aggregators worldwide.

Edge containers are a potential growth opportunity too. Software containers deployed at the edge of a network can assist with the management of various crucial edge-related tools, including XR headsets and IoT connected sensors. Containerization makes software portable, lightweight, and easier to maintain across a variety of cloud environments.

4. 5G Enhances the Edge Landscape

Alongside edge computing, 5G is often described as one of the most important tools for the future of the XR landscape. The next generation of mobile network connectivity, 5G allows for lower latency and better data transportation between locations and devices. As 5G coverage expands throughout the world, bringing new capacity and speed to networks, 5G and edge computing are likely to align.

While 5G helps to minimize the latency connected to transferring large amounts of data between tools, the solution can only accomplish so much on its own. Cloud rendering at the edge, combined with 5G, will allow for faster operations in an XR environment, where data can move back and forth between eye tracking and motion tracking tools, headsets, and beacons.

Market leaders are already beginning to demonstrate use cases for the Edge and 5G used in tandem. For instance, during MWC in 2019, NVIDIA demonstrated its CloudXR platform, designed to stream cloud-rendered VR and AR data through 5G connections. The technology allows for almost instant rendering of visuals, without expensive hardware.

5. Edge Computing Supports the Metaverse

Another major computing trend connected to the cloud-based edge environment and the XR landscape is the “Metaverse”. Although definitions of the metaverse vary, most agree it will be an interactive, community-driven digital world, where people can engage in new experiences through XR, AI-enhanced tools, and online platforms.

The Metaverse will be comprised of many different layers, including a decentralized architecture which combines edge computing infrastructure with blockchain technology to enable simultaneous streaming and content management at scale. Edge computing in the metaverse will take the pressure off the public cloud environment, and make rendering 3D images and experiences more straightforward and lightning-fast for users.

Companies like Meta have already begun to invest more heavily in network opportunities for the metaverse in recent years. Meta has been working with Verizon, a leading network provider, to create an edge computing and 5G environment for Metaverse universe development.

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