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#AFPJargonWatch: Edge Computing

  • By Bryan Lapidus, FP&A
  • Published: 10/29/2018


#AFPJargonWatch is an occasional series to help finance professionals better understand the changing knowledge and definitions of the industry. 

The latest installment of #AFPJargonWatch looks at edge computing.

What it is:

Moving computing processing power close to the data source, or The Edge, where it is embedded in objects that were previously non-computational devices. This is a paradigm shift from the old days when computing processing power was embedded in core servers and data centers (the cloud) and all devices were tied back to them. Sometimes called “fog computing.”

Why it matters:

After cloud, it is “the next IT transformation,” said Charles McLellan, editor of ZDNet. Think of it as the internet of things on steroids. Not only does everything have sensors to collect data, but everything is “alive” with processing power and can take action: Refrigerators that sense when milk has gone bad, street lights that alert police to gunshots, and clothing that monitors your vital signs and tells you to raise your heartrate for the best caloric burn. Edge computing creates faster decisions because calculations are made onsite, requiring less data traffic across the network. Only output data is sent back to cloud data centers, creating a cycle where there is additional capacity for  more IOT data.


  • Investment speculation: while everyone is guessing here, this market is growing fast. Here is one number:  the global edge computing market is expected to reach USD 6.72 billion by 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of a whopping 35.4 percent.
  • GE Digital: “By applying big data, advanced analytics, and machine learning to operations, industrials can reduce unplanned downtime, improve asset performance, lower cost of maintenance, and open up potential for new business models that capture as-yet untapped value from machine data.”
  • Google: Announces “Cloud IOT Edge” to deliver Google AI capabilities at the edge. In their words, “Cloud IoT Edge extends Google Cloud’s powerful data processing and machine learning to billions of edge devices, such as robotic arms, wind turbines, and oil rigs, so they can act on the data from their sensors in real time and predict outcomes locally.”

For more on how macro changes become new capabilities and new operating models, check out the Roadmap to the Future of Finance.


Connect with Bryan Lapidus, FP&A, via emailLinkedIn or Twitter.

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