How the $56bn edge economy will give telecoms a revamp
Industry Voices

How the $56bn edge economy will give telecoms a revamp

cliff tam HGC

Cliff Tam, SVP, global data strategy and operations at HGC Global, explains the vital role for telecoms in realising the growth potential of edge

Edge computing brings with it a new wave of business for telecoms. The necessity to provide services as close as possible to billions of eyeballs is driving a revival age for operators – and they are in a prime position to reap benefits such as larger customer bases, stronger market penetration, and a healthier revenue flow.

This all comes at a time when the global edge computing market size is projected to reach US$55.93 billion by 2028, from $8.24 billion in 2021, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.1% during 2022-2028, according to Valuates Reports.

The sheer business opportunity these figures present has telecoms executives feeling positive about the edge, with a recent IBM survey finding that 49% of operators will make large investments in the next two-to-three years targeted at supporting the edge. As many as 94% expect edge computing implementations to improve operational responsiveness in the next five years.

Edge is a strategic opportunity to cement the telecoms place in the value chain, especially within the digital infrastructure segment which will enable edge computing and all its promises around things such as the metaverse.

Although a lot of discussions still happen on what the edge means, at HGC we see it as the idea of moving computing power from cloud servers and data centres on to connected network devices such as mobile phones and IoT sensors. In other words, closer to the user.

This is vital when the main goal really is to reduce latency times to as little as feasible, in order to offer experiences to consumers and businesses that are as close to real time as possible. And there are many examples on how edge is delivering such outcomes.

For instance, in gaming edge is allowing players to game in real time with UX graphics answering to their commands by the millisecond. In banking, customers are benefiting from faster, more seamless, and hyper-personalised services and products – a lot of them delivered through smartphones and other portable devices.

Ultimately, edge computing provides a much more cost-effective path to scalability, allowing businesses to grow their processing capacity by combining IoT devices and edge data centres.

However, it’s not all roses. Challenges remain for telecoms operators, especially over scalability – or at least the speed at which the market requires it to happen. Scalability can sometimes become a barrier to progress, as great customer experience is the key success factor for edge platforms use cases.

Indeed, it is a fundamental element of successful edge computing implementations, because new edge use cases such as augmented and virtual reality generate record-breaking volumes of data that need analysing and processing in real time.

Winning barriers

To put the scale issue into perspective, the average person is expected to conduct more than 5,000 data interactions every day by 2023. This means things are about to change dramatically for the everyday consumer and business, which will create a fiercer landscape for operators. For instance, they will have to better equip themselves to service OTT and cloud service providers before these firms shift further into building their own infrastructure.

Orchestration and moving at speed are key to success, as big logos like AWS, Google, Ericsson, and Nokia invest in their own edge play, rivalling the positioning of telcos.

Nevertheless, telcos have strengths that can play to their advantage. They include, for example, knowledge in network design and management – which places operators at the front of the race. They have been doing it for decades.

And this is where HGC can help. Being at the head of the race is something we are exceptionally focused on. We work to ensure our customers and partners have the right ecosystem wherever they are and that they can scale it as fast as they need to stay ahead.

To that extent, we have combined our edge efforts under a first-of-its-kind edge digital infrastructure ecosystem, built to support the global expansion of edge and the worlds this will enable – such as the $13 trillion (according to Citi) metaverse economy.

We really believe it’s the time for telcos to reap the benefits of edge. If they do not start strategising today and quickly rolling infrastructure and services out to the market, they will miss out on the benefits of edge – particularly if they leave the door open to cloud operators and other competition to find their ground.

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