5G and edge initiatives are typically part of broader enterprise-wide digital transformation efforts.
Edge and 5G have become leading areas for investment across industries and are seen as powerful ways to catapult enterprises to the next level of digital transformation. These 5G and edge initiatives are particularly visible within the manufacturing and healthcare sectors.
That is one of the key takeaways from a study from Google Cloud and Omdia. While this report is targeted at cloud service providers, it provides valuable perspectives for enterprise users as well. “Manufacturing clearly sees the edge opportunity, but others closely follow,” the study’s authors point out. Edge is also emerging strongly within the healthcare and retail sector. Overall, 70% of all firms expect to spend $100,000 or more on edge during the first 24 months of deployment. Close to a quarter of all industries are prepared to spend $1 million or more.
5G networks are an important piece of this picture. Eight out of ten enterprises believe that the availability of 5G is highly important to benefit from edge computing, the survey shows. In addition, seven out of 10 enterprises expect to invest in edge within the next 12 months.
Real-time insights from cognitive analytics are driving 5G edge adoption, the survey show. Business intelligence and automation deployments will more than double in the next 12 months, and surveillance and transactions cognitive analytics are the most widely deployed and planned. In addition, edge initiatives will play a role in data storage and site mirroring, which continue to gain momentum.
Edge computing isn’t happening in a vacuum, of course – it’s part of a wider transformation. Almost 50% say edge computing is part of a networking and connectivity transformation initiative, and one-third say edge computing is part of an enterprise-wide digital transformation initiative. Only one-fifth say edge computing is part of a standalone project for a specific line of business department. Among manufacturers, 46% already use a form of edge, while a further 25% plan to invest within a year, the survey shows. While many flavors are used or considered, 42% are looking at locally-hosted edge services. Most wanted transformations are customers designing their own products and experiences.
The top challenges to manufacturers looking to implement edge and 5G include operational efficiency, employee productivity, safety, and skills. At least 40% have just one edge-enabled site, but 61% will expand, most likely to five sites or less. Almost 40% believe a private 5G network is essential to use edge.
Among healthcare providers, 46% use a form of edge, and a further fifth plan to invest within a year. More than a third are using or planning a locally-hosted edge solution. Most wanted transformations are putting customers in control, seamless entry to venues, and pickup of medicines and data. Edge is most likely under the network budget; a third say it’s part of digital transformation; less than a fifth say it’s under a cloud budget. In addition, 44% say 5G is critical to edge success; 81% say a campus network upgrade is essential. A third are looking at a private network.