What will the next phase of the internet look like? Where are the opportunities for providers and installers? What trends and patterns do industry pros need to be aware of?

These are just some of the questions that are explored in a new market research report—State of the Edge 2020—that’s been quietly making the rounds in IT circles for the last few months. Drawing on insights from the edge computing community, the report offers some bold predictions for the immediate future.

Here’s a quick look at some of the key highlights that internet providers need to know.

The internet is aging… fast

Like any piece of technology, the internet is always evolving and adapting to new needs and uses. But there’s evidence to suggest today’s internet architecture is starting to show its age, with more and more examples of small regional outages setting off a domino reaction and taking down large chunks of the wider internet. 

What’s more, today’s internet seems to be a poor match for the applications and needs of the near future. From the expansion of AI, to the rollout of self-driving cars, to the interconnectedness of billions and billions of additional devices, our current internet infrastructure simply can’t keep up: latency is too high, bandwidth is too narrow, and costs are too exorbitant.

Even with today’s technology, we’re seeing an imperative need for fiber especially in the world of business. To ensure smooth and uninterrupted connections fiber installed in fiber-ready OSP and inside distribution enclosures is essential.

The “Third Act of the Internet”

Today’s internet landscape, however, is on the verge of some profound changes. According to the report, we’ve just entered the “Third Act of the Internet”, where we’ll witness the rollout of a new internet infrastructure, one that can support the real-time and low-latency needs of tomorrow.

This third act includes 5G wireless technology, network virtualizations, and—most notably—edge computing.

Like any piece of technology, the internet is always evolving and adapting to new needs and uses. Click To Tweet

Edge computing in particular has the potential to massively disrupt the last-mile network, serving as a bridge between end-point devices and upstream infrastructure. In a nutshell, it allows certain computations or processing to take place closer to the end-user, rather than at a centralized cloud further away. This in turn enables the ultra low latency needed for network-synced autonomous vehicles, remote surgery, and so on. 

The Edge Computing Market is About to Explode

This is also where the opportunity lies for internet providers and specialists, as the research suggests the edge computing market will balloon to more than $700 billion by 2028.

The forecast takes into account 11 different industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. All tolled, it predicts a steep climb in the amount of dollars companies across the board will spend to retool their capabilities and ensure they can take advantage of advances like edge computing and 5G wireless.