By: Ariff Sidi, General Manager & Chief Product Officer, Media Platform, Verizon Media
Edge computing is transforming how data is being handled, processed, and delivered from millions of devices worldwide. The exponential growth of IoT devices and new applications and services that require real-time computing power has accelerated the development of edge computing in several industries. Recent data shows that the market for edge solutions will grow to USD 9 billion by 2024 (from USD 2.8 billion in 2019).
While usage of edge computing is accelerating in industries such as manufacturing and healthcare, the media and entertainment industry hasn’t scratched the surface of edge computing’s ability to transform how we watch and interact with content. However, this is all about to change as the use cases for edge computing in the media and entertainment industry become more apparent, revolutionizing the way broadcasters deliver their services by driving innovation across the entire media ecosystem.
Edge Computing: Where are we now?
Despite the growing interest in edge computing, it’s not a new technology. Edge computing is decades old and rooted in the ideas of remote computing when it was more convenient to have computing resources at the desired location instead of relying on a central, potentially distant location. In today’s cloud computing era, people use myriads of devices to access centralized services via the cloud. Most of the services that can be centralized already are, and emerging use cases demand greater performance and quality of experience than a traditional cloud architecture enables. We’re about to enter the era of edge computing, where data processing is done at or close to the source of data, improving services at scale.
Real-life use cases of edge computing can already be found in smart homes and healthcare. For example, healthcare providers can use edge computing to locally process data from monitoring devices instead of storing it in a third-party cloud to maintain data privacy. Additionally, edge computing can send real-time notifications to health practitioners and create 360-degree view patient dashboards for complete visibility. In the smart home, instead of sending data collected around the house to a centralized remote server, edge computing can process data closer to the home to avoid high costs, latency, and security issues.
Edge computing is not an alternative to the cloud, but it changes the way we use it. Instead of collecting and analyzing ever-expanding data streams, the cloud or corporate data centers will focus on processing information and perform the necessary data archiving. This saves time, money and reduces pressure on the network itself.
Edge Computing in broadcast: are we there yet?
In the broadcast industry, edge computing is still in its infancy. However, even at this early stage, it is clear that edge computing will help deliver next-generation viewing experiences by overcoming the challenge of managing and distributing live content at ultra-low latencies, particularly as more 5G capable devices emerge. Edge computing will help solve the latency challenge by optimizing key video workflow capabilities such as video ingestion, video encoding, and ad-insertion closer to where users physically are by utilizing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) edge compute platform.
Computing at the CDN edge offers broadcasters the ability to manage the demands from traffic spikes and flash crowds. But as the streaming market continues to boom and consumers increasingly expect a TV-like experience, content providers can also accommodate dramatically increased demand for its services to guarantee reliable and high-quality streams regardless of how much data is required. There is also minimal administration necessary to utilize computing at the CDN edge. Developers can deploy code with minimum overhead and minimal infrastructure provisioning.
In a broadcast environment, edge computing means much lower latency, faster workload time, and the ability to localize workloads for individual users or individual customers. Workflows in live media entertainment are extremely latency-sensitive, which means that a reduction to 200 milliseconds latency makes a meaningful difference. This improvement in latency means broadcasters can reimagine the viewing experience, particularly for betting and live sports production.
Taking advantage of edge computing resources to get content into the cloud quickly during live events allows broadcasters to engage with the user across any device or platform. Additionally, content producers can leverage edge resources to get content more rapidly into the cloud for things like processing or transit.
What will the future be like at the Edge?
The broadcast industry hasn’t started to innovate with edge compute solutions yet, but the advantages for content providers are clear.
Edge technology that connects data centres to the cloud will become more and more important than ever before in the future of data centers. Using edge computing to bring video capabilities closer to the end-user will empower broadcasters to deliver next-generation viewing experiences.