Where has the edge gone? It seems like only yesterday we were being told by everyone that was anyone in technology and telecommunications that the edge was everywhere — not just in our communities, schools or hospitals, but even in our own pocket. The edge was the word of choice when it came to describing the future of connectivity, bringing with it promises of next-generation use cases and applications. Where is that discussion now? 

In truth, the importance of edge computing (and the hype surrounding it) hasn’t gone away. In reality, it’s the opposite. It’s become a solution and connectivity paradigm that is so baked into our current technology maps that it’s a given — not a flashy trend. Still, we think it’s time to check back in with the edge conversation. What’s gone on at the intersection of devices and the internet, and what opportunities are growing there?

How the World Got its Edge

In the old days, access to technology was a privilege that few had. Computers lived in rooms on university campuses and government buildings or other private locations. Beyond that, the ability to even leverage emerging technologies was so new and challenging that only a select subset of highly educated individuals could do it. Today, technology is still a privilege — but it’s also become a necessity for large groups of our global population. Incredibly powerful devices, services, platforms and capabilities have become highly democratized. We utilize advanced technology in every nook and cranny of our day-to-day lives — in the classroom, at work and even right in bed when we’re surfing the web or watching Netflix. So, the fabric of technology endpoints is now denser, larger and more geographically diverse than ever. 

In truth, making these commonplace tasks available and viable is a modern miracle built from remarkable networking and connectivity breakthroughs. To use and access these technologies no matter where we are (and have good experiences), takes computing that reaches all the way to the end user — and that’s why edge computing became such a hot subject. 

There are lots of things that an application or a technology initiative needs to be successful. It needs proper infrastructure to support things like reliability and mobility. It needs proper talent behind it so that problems can be solved and use cases can be created and supported. But perhaps the most important thing in our current tech landscape is speed — and that’s at the core of distributed edge computing. 

So, here we are in the aftermath of an edge boom. But the edge is far from over. 

What Happens After We Found The Edge?

So, we use devices that complete their tasks with edge computing every day. Smart technology — like our in-home IoT-powered appliances, wearables and beyond — is everywhere. Collecting, processing and storing data outside of major central computing stations or data centers is no longer groundbreaking, it’s just reality. 

Here’s the key, however: We shouldn’t forget that edge computing applications are still changing the game. Just like any other technology or IT strategy, transformative use cases are always being created using powerful computing at the edge. Think about what happens when we fold Artificial Intelligence into this edge framework: We get things like smart ATMs that can analyze video surveillance in real time with facial recognition software to help protect financial interests at the source. This is the birth of the edge’s next phase that some call edge intelligence. In manufacturing, predictive maintenance and other next-gen applications thrive on being able to quickly capture and understand data, making production lines safer and more reliable. In the home, cloud gaming has enabled a new world of streamed, edge-driven content and entertainment opportunities. Nearly every industry and community benefits from applications that rely on edge computing to deliver experiences that really work. 

For all of these reasons, having a gateway to the edge is crucial for businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries. Choosing a data center that can offer the quickest and most convenient access to key locations and populations — combined with robust connectivity to support any use case — is vital to remain competitive. This is why we’re proud to call ourselves an edge data center here at 1623 Farnam. 

It’s time to reinvigorate our collective focus on the edge. To start, learn more about today’s edge capabilities