Booming MEC market to hit $7bn by 2024, as 90% of industry brings data home
Nine in 10 industrial enterprises will use edge computing by 2022, as cloud workloads shift closer to the ‘coal face’ of industry in pursuit of lower latency and higher security. This spiralling interest in close-range industrial analytics functions will drive the value of multi-access edge computing (MEC) upwards at a rate of 157 percent per year. Telecoms operators are well positioned to capitalise, but must pull their socks up.
So says Frost & Sullivan, which has just published a 2024 market forecast on industrial 5G and MEC. The firm reckons 90 percent of industrialists will be parking their IoT and AI data on site, or in nearby 5G networking equipment. The trend maps with the growth in private LTE and 5G networking, whether hitched to standalone on-premise cellular, or to slices of public 5G spectrum, augmented with local small cells.
Frost & Sullivan’s stated forecast for MEC says the market to be worth $7.23 billion by 2024, growing at a compound rate of 157.4 percent in the period. It was worth $64.1 million in 2019, it calculates. The rate of growth is “astonishing”, said the firm. Software-based edge application and solutions will deliver the highest growth, in terms of value, followed by edge-based services, including from mobile operators, cloud providers, and edge data centre colocation services.
In particular, Frost & Sullivan recommended mobile operators “should work on solutions and services to meet the requirements for connected and autonomous cars”, and partner with cloud providers AI specialists to design solutions for “autonomous cars, drone delivery, and others”. It said system integrators have a job to provide “end-to-end solutions” for industrialists without specialist cellular and compute knowledge. It implied 5G MEC innovations like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are ‘anyone’s game’.
Interest in Industry 4.0 technologies, including 5G and AI, stems from the promise of higher automation and intelligence, delivering “hyper-connected industrial environment(s)”, and gains in terms of productivity and efficiency. Frost & Sullivan listed the industrial use cases that will make use of 5G connectivity and edge computing, to accelerate the rate and distance of data exchange. It cited: autonomous assets, remote asset monitoring, data extraction from stranded assets, autonomous robotics, autonomous vehicles, and smart factories.
Renato Pasquini, information and communication technologies research director at Frost & Sullivan, commented: “The recent launch of the 5G technology coupled with MEC brings computing power close to customers and also allows the emergence of new applications and experiences for them. Going forward, 5G and MEC are an opportunity for telecom operators to launch innovative offerings and also enable an ecosystem to flourish in the business-to-business (B2B) segment of telecom service providers using the platform.”