Worldwide spending on edge computing is expected to be $208 billion in 2023, an increase of 13,1% over 2022. Enterprise and service provider spending on hardware, software, and services for edge solutions is forecast to sustain this pace of growth through 2026 when spending will reach nearly $317-billion, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Edge Spending Guide.
IDC defines edge as the technology-related actions that are performed outside of the centralised datacentre, where edge is the intermediary between the connected endpoints and the core IT environment.
Characteristically, edge is distributed, software defined, and flexible. The value of edge is the movement of computing resources to the physical location where data is created, dramatically reducing time to value and the instant enablement of business processes, decisions, and intelligence outside of the core IT environment.
“Edge computing has gone mainstream,” says Dave McCarthy, research vice-president: cloud and edge infrastructure services at IDC. “The ability to distribute applications and data to field locations is a key element of most digital transformation initiatives. As vendors extend existing feature sets and create new edge-specific offerings, customers are accelerating their adoption plans.”
IDC has identified more than 400 named use cases for edge computing across various industries and domains. The three edge use cases that will see the largest investments in 2023 – content delivery networks, virtual network functions, and multi-access edge computing (MEC) – are foundational to service providers’ edge services offerings.
Combined, these three use cases will account for nearly 20% of all edge spending this year. In total, service providers will invest more than $44-billion in enabling edge offerings in 2023.
For enterprise adopters, including the public sector, the edge named use cases with the largest investments in 2023 include production asset management, autonomic operations, omni-channel operations, freight monitoring, and augmented customer service agents. Combined, these use cases will represent more than 10% of all edge spending this year.
The edge use cases that are forecast to have the fastest spending growth over the 2021-2026 period include emergency response, 360-degree educational video viewing, film/feature production, and lab and field (K-12).
“Despite different headwinds impacting buyers’ spending behaviour, especially in Europe, edge computing remains one of the most resilient and attractive areas of investments, growing globally at a double-digit rate over the next five years,” says Alexandra Rotaru, senior research analyst: data and analytics group at IDC. “Metrics related to enhanced innovation, performance, customer experience, or cybersecurity capabilities will enable companies across the world to expand their budget and build new edge infrastructures.”
Across enterprise end user industries, discrete and process manufacturing will account for the largest portion of investments in edge solutions this year, followed by the retail and professional services industries. IDC expects all 19 industries profiled in the Spending Guide will experience double-digit spending growth over the forecast period, led by the service providers with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21,1%.
The largest part of spending in edge will go toward services, comprised of professional and provisioned services, in 2023. Connectivity services will represent nearly half of this portion, followed by software as a service (SaaS) and support & deployment services. Hardware spending will be driven by investments in edge gateways, servers, and network equipment. Software will remain the smallest technology category over the forecast period.
From a geographic perspective, the US will be the edge spending leader throughout the forecast period delivering more than 40% of the worldwide total, followed by Western Europe and China. Latin America and China will experience the fastest spending growth over the five-year forecast with CAGRs of 18,1% and 18%, respectively.