Research: What 5G means for edge computing

A recent TechRepublic Premium poll reveals that edge computing adoption will increase through 2026, but organizations are taking a wait-and-see approach before introducing 5G into the mix.
Written by Melanie Wachsman, Editor

5G promises high-bandwidth and low-latency wireless data transmission. The technology will also play a crucial role in connecting edge devices to the cloud. Ultimately, the combination of 5G and edge computing is poised to benefit the enterprise. 

How committed -- or prepared -- is the enterprise to marry these two technologies? That's what ZDNet's sister site, TechRepublic Premium, wanted to discover. 

SEE: Edge computing adoption to increase through 2026; organizations cautious about adding 5G to the mix  (TechRepublic Premium)

TechRepublic Premium conducted an online survey to learn more about how organizations will make 5G part of their edge computing plans. Respondents answered questions about the types of edge computing and 5G technologies their companies currently use or plan to use in the next year, and the business purposes and applications for which they are using edge computing. Respondents also reported how 5G is likely to affect their company's edge computing usage in the next five years.

More than half of respondents (54%) use remote mobile devices and laptops, and remote servers and networks (50%) as part of their edge computing strategy. Edge computing technologies also noted by respondents were: operating software and systems locally deployed away from headquarters (37%); remote asset monitoring (27%); content delivery networks (21%); virtualized mobile networks (12%); IoT applications (8%); and autonomous vehicles (5%).

Remote servers and networks, and remote mobile devices and laptops tied for the top spot in edge computing technologies that respondents want to roll out in the next 12 months, at 42%. 

Currently, 30% of respondents' companies do not use any edge computing technologies, and 25% said that their company does not plan to in the near future. 

Of those respondents who do deploy edge computing technology, most (70%) do so to provide better customer experiences, while  46% of respondents use edge computing technologies to reduce operational costs. 

Despite the increase in adoption of edge computing, 5G acceptance still lags in respondent organizations. More than half (57%) of respondents reported are neither using nor plan to use 5G technology.

SEE: Edge computing adoption to increase through 2026; organizations cautious about adding 5G to the mix  (TechRepublic Premium)

However, 5G will affect some companies' future use of edge computing: nearly a third (31%) of respondents will adopt or are already planning to adopt edge computing technologies within the next five years; and almost a quarter (24%) plan to use additional edge computing technologies going forward. 

Only 13% of respondents said that 5G will not affect their use of edge computing, while 9% said they will ultimately adopt edge computing technologies but have not yet entered the planning phase.

The infographic below contains selected details from the research. To read more findings and analysis, download the full report: Edge computing adoption to increase through 2026; organizations cautious about adding 5G to the mix (free for TechRepublic Premium subscribers). 


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