2021: the year Edge Computing came into our lives

Emilio Moreno    21 December, 2021

As we come to the end of the year, it is a good time to look back and see how the Edge has come into our lives. In my personal case, in 2021 Edge Computing has entered fully, as I have been lucky enough to take on responsibilities in the area.

2021 has been an important year in the Edge Computing relationship for Telefónica. From an infrastructure point of view, we already have a commercial offering (VDC-Edge) that allows our customers to enjoy the benefits of Edge.  In parallel, we have shown new examples of innovation with our customers in the area, demonstrating that there are technological challenges that can be solved by this new paradigm.

However, there is always a margin of doubt about the real impact it is having – is it just a fancy term that the whole industry is eager to embrace? Some time ago, when the term Cloud Computing started to become popular, I remember seeing “classic” solutions that with a little coat of varnish were quickly postulated as Cloud solutions.

One of the leading technology analysts, Gartner, positioned the term Edge Computing in August this year, at the top of the “peak of inflated expectations” of its classic “Hype Cycle”.

Obviously, when expectations are high, there is a risk that they may not fully materialise and lead to disappointment.

In this particular case, regardless of the illusions of each actor in the industry, I see some factors that I find interesting and that make me think that the impact of the Edge is going to be very significant. It is unlikely that we will ever have “before the Edge” or “after the Edge” time references, but it is going to have a significant impact on our lives.

One of these is the arrival of “real” 5G, 5G SA (StandAlone). Although we have already been enjoying 5G for months, the deployment of the SA version will mean the arrival of new capabilities, such as Network Slicing, which represent a huge leap forward. And we must not forget the latent geopolitical conflict in relation to 5G between China and the USA, which could lead to the world being divided into isolated technological blocs. This latent rivalry shows that 5G is more than just a multi-billion-dollar market, but that it directly and powerfully influences other economic sectors and our lives in general.

The other is that we are working intensively with partners and end-users to identify use cases that demand this technology, and to improve the offering and create a new generation of services to users. This is a substantial change from the classic approach of designing a product, launching it and waiting for demand to come. In my view, it will help our business customers to imagine services, technologies and use cases that they could not even contemplate before, and that will rely on Edge to get to market.

So, let’s hope we see the Edge explode in 2022. And in the meantime, Merry Christmas and 2022 to all of you!

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