For some time, analysts and industry experts have been heralding edge computing as the next big thing that will revolutionise the IT and telecom industries. But for industries to move, there needs to be real and meaningful benefits, achievable within reasonable investment and at an acceptable risk. It would indeed therefore be great to identify the ‘killer app’ for edge computing – a single heroic app to unlock the full potential of this promising distributed computing paradigm, one that’s capable of fulfilling the level of world domination predicted by analysts. So where is it?
Perhaps this is the wrong question. If we stand back, the edge is not there to run a single all-encompassing, killer app, but to enable an ecosystem of applications that allows organisations to better extract value from data near its source. And this objective is neither simple nor standard, since, like us humans, every business is different, with different goals, constraints and assets. However, edge computing will not succeed if all its implementations are bespoke. The good news is that there is an existing ecosystem that exhibits a similar need for wide and wild variety, yet is based on standardised building blocks that tech companies can provide at affordable pricing, thanks to economy of scale.
Where is this ecosystem? I suggest looking in your pocket. The dominance of the smartphone appliance is no longer questioned today… yet what about all those apps? Your mobile device is not satisfied with a one-size-fits-all killer app, so why should your edge infrastructure be any different?
Apparently, even the mighty Steve Jobs didn’t initially foresee the rise of the App Store as a key part of the iPhone®’s success story, instead expecting web apps to be the next big thing. Apple® had to move quickly to meet developer demands, opening up the iPhone® ecosystem to allow these people to create native iOS apps and this, in turn, led to the creation of the App Store to monetise these apps and make them available to customers.
For edge computing to work well, businesses need a simple and scalable way to purchase apps and immediately deploy them where their data is. But of course no-one needs integration complexity, complicated contractual negotiations and operational risk.
Here at SixSq we’re now on a similar path to Apple®, building the world’s first repository of edge apps, the Nuvla Marketplace, usefully informed by the experiences of the App Store, Google Play® and other digital distribution platforms.
Since June 2022, we’ve been fostering strong relationships with some of the best creative minds in edge computing app development through the SixSq App Vendor Programme. These specialists don’t pull any punches – their powerful apps are oriented to omnipresent AI, steely cyber defence, operational optimisation and predictive analytics to meet business challenges head on. I’m talking about reducing latency, overcoming bandwidth challenges, increasing autonomy, ensuring data sovereignty, cutting the carbon footprint and more.
To de-risk projects and ensure future-proofed solutions, we’re all about standardised operational, technical and contractual app development within a systematic framework for an open, frictionless ecosystem.
Together this makes the Nuvla Marketplace the go-to source of business-ready apps, provided and maintained by domain experts. If you like a dubious metaphor, we at SixSq provide the Tinder app for edge computing and, as the platform operator, we also come on your date as chaperone!
With our approach, vendors can register new apps on the Nuvla Marketplace in a few hours, while you can deploy these apps in seconds and enable your edge devices in minutes. The potential for our edge marketplace to deliver multiple killer apps is real. Of course time will tell, but the telling is already starting. Don’t wait for the killer app, the marketplace delivers a suite of readily-available apps to deliver your business outcomes.
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