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New Video Applications Will Represent Majority of Edge Traffic by 2020, Survey Finds

In an effort to identify early edge applications, we recently partnered with IHS Markit to interview edge thought leaders representing major telcos, manufacturers, MSOs, equipment vendors, and chip vendors that hail from open source, startups, and large corporations from all over the globe. The survey revealed that edge application deployments are still young but they will require new innovation and investment requiring open source.

The research investigated not only which applications will run on the edge, but also deployment timing, revenue potential and existing and expected barriers and difficulties of deployment. Presented onsite at ONS Europe by IHS Markit analyst Michael Howard, the results represent an early look at where organizations are headed in their edge application journeys.

Key findings which were presented onstage at ONS Europe by IHS analyst Michael Howard, indicate:

Video and other big-bandwidth applications and connected things that move drive top services, expected revenue.

92 percent of respondents cite video (which includes 360 video and venue) as the top edge application, with even more deployments planned long-term; and video is expected to represent 82 percent of edge traffic by 2020. Autonomous vehicles, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) and Gaming follow video as top services driving edge applications.

Deployment timelines for Edge applications depend on cost and technology advancement.

Not surprisingly, early edge deployments will come as extensions to existing technology, such as IIOT, IOT, surveillance, gaming and smart cities. Longer-term deployments, however, will require additional technological innovation, inventions and/or widespread investments as even a single edge compute location is complex. To meet these requirements, ecosystems will need to collaboratively leverage open source and open standards among business partners to address many of these concerns.

Top barriers to edge application deployments include costs and technology

Given the current interest in edge, it’s not a surprise that many apps go into early deployment; however, most of these early deployments experience only limited or contained rollout. To get to full employment will take years and much investment in many areas including development of new software, and how to manage, monitor, operate and controls from hundreds to tens of thousands of edge locations.

In sum, the IHS research shows that while edge applications are top of mind among networking providers across sectors and there are already many edge applications in limited or contained deployments there is still much technological progress to be made before full deployments are seen. Still, interest is high and many organizations will be looking to initially justify deployments by cost savings, with plans for more revenue-generating applications taking the lead once edge compute is deployed. Technical advancements and organizational complexities need to be solved before edge applications can be deployed, with open source and open standards expected to play a strong role in collaborative efforts to accelerate deployments at the edge.

We look forward to participating in industry efforts to accelerate edge application development and deployments over time, helping to shape tomorrow’s networks and the way we consume information.  Additional details on this research study, via Michael Howard’s slide presentation, will be available in the coming weeks.