The combination of cloud computing and streaming media is meeting the on-demand content needs of today’s users. That’s why network performance is so critical. Providers not only require networks that supply high levels of uptime, those networks must also be built with latency considerations in mind. Until recently, this has been a challenge, especially when attempting to provide low latency services to markets that lack the proper infrastructure for high-performance networking. Fortunately, edge computing solves this problem while allowing providers to grow market share.
With edge computing, servers are located closer to end users, be they office workers or consumers. In this way, processing and storage moves closer to the network edge. And that allows providers to cut the distance data must travel, which reduces latency and boosts network performance. Most significantly, edge computing ensures consistent network performance even when demand for applications increases.
While there may not be any specific edge computing applications, an edge computing infrastructure can definitely enhance network-based services. The essential issue is to push processing-capable hardware closer to the network edge.
One example is an edge data center. This could be a colocation center located close to a growing consumer market. Typically, highly populated areas are a long distance from the type of data centers that host cloud computing applications and streaming media platforms. But when companies install servers in an edge data center, they essentially create a relay station that processes critical data near end users. At the same time, less urgent data gets shifted to a facility in another location. In addition, content providers are able to cache media, which allows easier access for local users.
Despite the clear benefits for end users, companies want to know how edge computing makes it easier to expand into new markets. It’s easier because edge computing allows for growth without the necessary infrastructure investments of the past. This is especially beneficial for areas with smaller populations that lack the high-bandwidth network connectivity found in bigger regions. Also, when it comes to construction, edge data centers are smaller and less expensive. In fact, if you build an edge facility in a small market, you can essentially be the first organization to “plant a flag”, which can provide branding and profit advantages for years to come.
As you can see, an edge data center can help to extend the reach of your services into underserved markets. You can also build a micro facility in regions with more demand to further improve the network performance for those users. However, use of IoT devices is increasingly leaping ahead of these facilities to the edge. That’s because users in areas with limited network access are using their smartphones and cellular networks as surrogates for direct broadband access. More and more organizations have noticed this trend, which has prompted them to install micro data centers to improve IoT connectivity. This is yet another example of how enterprises can acquire more customers and gain footholds in new markets.
Technology changes, consumer tastes shift, but one thing is constant: companies will always need to enter new markets. Accordingly, leaders must learn how to leverage edge computing solutions in order to remain competitive in the years to come. There are two choices – wait for others to build the networks needed to reach consumers with traditional IT deployments, or be proactive and use edge computing infrastructure to capitalize on the growing demand today. Those who wait are risking losing out on market share, something that’s hard – if not, impossible – to capture once you fall behind. But innovative companies – those who understand that waiting means failure – can beat competitors to the punch. Then, as demand continues to grow, they’ll be the obvious choice for consumers in markets of any size.