While cloud-computing still performs much of the so-called thinking, several modern industrial network edge infrastructure devices such as switches, routers, and gateways have made themselves know as crucial elements in the IIoT architecture and IIoT integration.

These edge-computing devices have come a long way since their inception and have since moved beyond simple data connectivity. They are now performing tasks that include IT-OT-ET convergence, edge-to-cloud integration, and maintenance, as well as edge computing and security, among others.

All of these solve the ever-growing issue of overburdening applications and communication links within the network infrastructure by offloading, filtering, and storing data at the edge, instead of in the cloud. It can also identify and flag any anomalies that may arise with any device or process within the system.

IIoT edge devices typically include three fundamental characteristics: the deployment of standard microprocessors, the support of standard IP connectivity, and the incorporation of conventional OS systems. With ongoing price and performance improvements in both terms of connectivity and computing power, an increasing number of facilities have begun using these systems as their preferred means of going forward.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone, however, as the shift to using local storage capacity, standard microprocessors, and operating systems, are enabling for better overall performance at the IIoT edge.

The IIoT Edge Computing Opportunity

Experts believe that Windows and Linux-based devices will become the industry favorites. The analysis comprised by ARC has taken into consideration several factors, including the current and potential size of the edge computing market over the course of the next few years.

Their analysis first takes into consideration the total number of Linux- or Windows-based industrial network edge infrastructure devices, based on other preliminary research, and then, applying an estimate based on current trends in edge computing.

Estimates point to the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on modern network edge infrastructure devices by 2022, representing one of the most robust growths in the industry to date. In 2017, the Global Edge Computing Market accounted for nearly $8 bn. That sum is expected to reach $20.5 bn., by 2026, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 11%, during this period.

Concerning technology, fog computing will experience the most growth. In short, Fog networking, or fogging, implies a distributed computing infrastructure where data, computations, storage, and applications are being organized in the most efficient positions between the data source and the cloud. Fog computing will enhance both cloud computing and edge services, bringing the cloud closer to where information is produced and utilized.

Regarding geography, Asia-Pacific is expected to experience the highest growth concerning CAGR during this period, by encouraging digitization over many business sectors, with the objective of developing resources and an increase in productivity in emerging economies.