As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, edge computing computing is becoming more important to enterprises in a variety of industries.
In some ways, edge computing is the opposite of cloud computing. Cloud computing involves transmitting data over a network to a centralized server for processing, while edge computing is the practice of doing that processing out at the edge of the network — on or near the sensors or devices generating the data. More often, though, cloud computing and edge computing operate hand-in-hand.
The reason for this intertwined relationship stems from the vast number of sensors and devices that are now connected to the Internet and the volume of data that those sensors and devices generate. According to Cisco, the size of the Internet of Things is doubling every year, and by 2030, 500 billion objects will be connected to the Internet.
Enterprises want to harvest the data from all those devices to derive valuable insights, but transmitting all that data to the cloud across current data networks simply isn't feasible for both financial and technological reasons. The solution is to do more data processing at the edge and transmit a much smaller pool of information to the cloud. This reduces network traffic and the associated costs.
Analysts predict that as much as 40 percent of IoT data will need to be processed at the edge. Many vendors see that as an opportunity to sell new edge computing products and services to enterprises. Here are fifteen companies ranging from the largest technology vendors to smaller edge-focused startups that are all major players in the growing edge computing market:
Note that the companies are arranged in alphabetical order, not ranked in order of importance or size.
While many of the companies on this list offer a wide range of technology products in addition to edge computing solutions, ADLINK Technology focuses on the edge. It offers IoT hardware and software, artificial intelligence (AI) software and robotics solutions. It serves customers in healthcare, manufacturing, networking, communications, military, aeronautics and the public sector.
Headquartered in Taipei, ADLINK is a public company listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange. It was founded in 1995 and has more than 1600 employees worldwide. In 2018, the company reported revenues of $10.5 billion new Taiwan dollars, approximately $343 million US dollars.
Although better known for its cloud computing services, Amazon Web Services (AWS) also offers a range of services for the industrial, commercial, and connected home IoT markets. Those services include Amazon FreeRTOS microcontroller operating system, AWS IoT Greengrass that brings AWS services like Lambda functions to edge devices, AWS IoT Core, AWS IoT Device Defender, AWS IoT Device Management, AWS IoT Analytics and many others. It also provides solutions like its Connected Vehicle solution, IoT Device Simulator, AWS IoT Camera Connector and others. And of course, it also sells edge devices, including its popular Echo and Alexa smart home devices.
Founded in 1994, Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and it is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the stock symbol AMZN. In 2018, it reported revenue of US$232.887 billion and net income of US$10.073 billion. It is the world's largest cloud computing company, the world's largest online retailer and the third largest company in the world by market value.
Cisco leads the networking market, which makes it no surprise that it also plays a key role in networking IoT devices. It offers IoT networking hardware, the Cisco Kinetic IoT platform for managing edge data, IoT Threat Defense security and IoT management and automation solutions, as well as advisory and technical services to help other organizations get their IoT initiatives up and running. Its IoT customers include utilities, manufacturers, transportation companies, cities and government agencies, retailers and education institutions.
Traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol CSCO, Cisco reported revenue of US$49.33 billion and net income of US$110 million in 2018. It was founded in 1984, and its headquarters is located in San Jose, California. It is number 64 on the Fortune 500 list of the largest corporations in the United States.
One of the smaller edge computing companies on this list, ClearBlade is a pure-play IoT and edge computing vendor. Its primary products include its ClearBlade Enterprise IoT Platform, ClearBlade Edge IoT Software, and ClearBlade Secure IoT Cloud. It also offers edge computing solutions for connected products, smart rail, smart monitoring, real-time location and asset tracking. It serves companies in the rail, mining, facilities, oil and gas, logistics, healthcare and energy industries, as well as organizations in the public sector.
ClearBlade makes its home in Austin, Texas. It is a private company and has raised on estimated $8.1 million in venture capital. It was founded in 2007 by Eric Simone.
5. Dell EMC
Dell EMC divides its edge computing hardware into three different categories: 1) The Mobile Edge portfolio includes cloud-enabled hardware for mobile or remote locationslike the PowerEdge XR2 Rugged Server, the PowerEdge R740/R740XD, and Micro Modulear Data Centers. 2) The Enterprise Edge portfolio includes the VEP460 Open uCPE platform, and 3) the IoT Edge portfolio offers Edge Gateways for manufacturers, retailers and digital cities. The company also offers edge computing management and orchestration capabilities through OpenManage Mobile.
A subsidiary of Dell Technologies, Dell EMC was formed through the merger of Dell and EMC in 2016. Dell Technologies is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DELL. For fiscal 2019, the company reported US$90.62 billion in revenue and a net loss of US$2.31 billion. It is number 84 on the Fortune 500 list.
Like Amazon, Google offers a line of connected home products for edge computing, and it also offers cloud computing services for managing edge data, most notably with its Cloud IoT Core service. In addition, it offers hardware in the form in of its Edge TPU for running AI and analytics at the edge of the network. Analytics at the edge is a particular focus for Google, and it touts its other AI cloud services as a good complement to its edge computing products. It serves a wide variety of different industries.
A subsidiary of Alphabet, Google has its headquarters in Mountain View, California. It was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Google.com is the most visited website in the world. Alphabet stock is publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbols GOOGL and GOOG. In 2018, it reported revenue of US$136.8 billion and net income of US$30.7 billion. It is number 15 on the Fortune 500 list.
Hitachi Vantara offers storage, converged infrastructure, IT operations management, data protection, analytics and video intelligence products, as well as its range of IoT products. That positions it well for offering complete solutions for gathering data at the edge and processing it. Its primary IoT product is its Lumada platform, which includes Lumada Edge Intelligence, Lumada Maintenance Insights Lumada Manufacturing Insights, and Lumada Video Insights. It sells solutions for companies in the energy, manufacturing, and transportation industries, as well as solutions for maintenance and repair.
Part of Japan's Hitachi conglomerate, Hitachi Vantara was formed out when the company brought together three of its subsidiaries: Pentaho, Hitachi Data Systems and Hitachi Insight Group. Hitachi is headquartered in Hitachi, Japan, and was founded in 1910. It is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange under the symbol TYO. In fiscal 2019, it reported ¥9.480 trillion (approximately US$87 billion) in revenue and a net loss of ¥321.0 billion (US$2.97 billion).
Through its Aruba networks subsidiary, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) offers wired and wireless networking products, including network security solutions, that enable edge computing. HPE also offers Edgeline Converged Edge Systems, rugged converged appliances targeted at the operational technology (OT) market, which includes control systems, telecommunications, industrial networks, and IoT data acquisition. In addition, the company provides services related to IoT and edge computing.
Spun off from Hewlett Packard in 2015, HPE is headquartered in San Jose, California. Its stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol HPE. In 2018, it reported revenue of US$30.85 billion and net income of US$1.9 billion. It is number 102 on the Fortune 500.
Like Cisco and HPE, Huawei sells a range of networking products that help enable edge computing and the Internet of Things. In addition, the company sells an Edge Computing Internet of Things (EC-IoT) solution for analytics at the edge. The company's focus is on the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and it has specially targeted products for predictive maintenance and energy companies.
Headquartered in Shenzen, China, Huawei was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei. Its corporate structure is somewhat difficult to understand because of China's bureaucratic regulations, but it is a limited liability company and claims that it is owned by its employees. For 2018, it reported revenue of CN¥721.202 billion (approx. US$105.191 billion) and net income of CN¥59.345 billion (approx. US$8.656 billion).
IBM's sells an Edge Computing platform based on OpenShift technology from its Red Hat subsidiary. It also offers Edge Computing for Servers, which helps organizations manage the infrastructure at the edge of their networks, as well as the Watson Internet of Things platform, which applies its AI technology to IoT. It has specific IoT solutions for enterprise asset management, facilities management and systems engineering.
Founded in 1911 by Charles Ranlett Flint and Thomas J. Watson, Sr., IBM has its headquarters in Armonk, New York. Its shares are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol IBM. Revenue for 2018 totaled $US79.6 billion, which resulted in net income of $US8.72 billion. It is number 38 on the Fortune 500 list.
Although better known as a chipmaker, Intel offers a family of edge computing products as part of its Intel IoT Platform. Those products include IoT gateways, the Intel Secure Device Onboard (SDO) service, Wind River Helix Device Cloud, Wind River Titanium Edge and edge computing components featuring Intel processors and storage. The company also has reference architecture, developer kits, tools and SDKs for IoT deployments. It primarily sells products that other companies can use to create their own IoT products and services.
Founded in 1968 by Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce and Andrew Grove, Intel has its headquarters in Santa Clara, California. Its stock is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol INTC. In 2018, the company's revenue totaled US$70.8 billion, while its net income was US$21.0 billion. It is number 43 on the Fortune 500 list.
Much like the other leading cloud computing providers, Microsoft's Azure division has rolled out a number of products and services to support edge computing. Those include its Internet of Things services like Azure IoT Central (IoT app platform), Azure IoT Edge (AI services deployed on edge devices), Azure IoT Hub (communication service that connects edge devices to the Azure cloud), Azure Sphere (IoT security) and Azure Stack Edge (on-premises processing for AI workloads that will be transferred to Azure), among others. The company also offers the Windows IoT platform, which includes developer tools and a lightweight version of windows designed to run on edge devices. Microsoft's IoT customers include Ecolab, Texa and Avacon.
One of the world's largest software makers, Microsoft has its headquarters in Redmond, Washington, and it is publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker MSFT. It was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. For fiscal 2019, the company reported US$125.8 billion in revenue and net income of US$39.2 billion. It is number 26 on the Fortune 500.
Oracle offers hardware for the edge in the form of its Oracle Tactical Edge Cloud Infrastructure, ruggedized compute and storage based on the company's cloud services architecture. It also has a set of IoT applications available on a SaaS basis, as well as industry-specific solutions for industrial manufacturing, construction and engineering, utilities, retail, healthcare and insurance. Its IoT customers include Hitachi Consulting, Accenture, AskStory and LT Infotech.
Based in Redwood Shores, California, Oracle was founded by Larry Ellison, Bob Miner and Ed Oates. It is best known for its flagship database, but it also offers enterprise software, hardware and cloud services. A public company, its stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol ORCL. Revenue for 2018 totaled US$39.83 billion with a net loss of US$3.82 billion. It was number 81 on the most recent Fortune 500 list.
On of the smaller companies on this list, Saguna is a pure-play edge computing company focused on "transforming communication networks into edge cloud computing platforms." Its flagship product is a multi-access edge computing (MED) solution that includes edge virtualization and open management and automation capabilities. The startup offers solutions for mobile operators, enterprises and application developers, but it is primarily focused on the telecommunications industry and network service providers. Its customers include HPE, Dell, BY, Akamai, 5Tonic, Wind, Vodafone, Vimmi, and KDDI.
Based in Israel, Saguna was founded in 2008 by Danny Frydman and Lior Fite. The private company has raised an estimated $8.2 million in venture capital.
SAP groups its edge computing products together under the brand name SAP Leonardo IoT Edge. this end-to-end solution includes SAP Edge Services that can run on an IoT gateway and its Edge Platform, which extends the company's cloud computing capabilities to the edge. The company serves enterprises in a wide variety of industries.
Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, SAP is one of the world's largest providers of enterprise software. It was founded in 1972, and its stock is traded on both the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SAP. For 2018, SAP's revenues reached €24.70 billion with net income of €4.08 billion.