- George Sherman is JPMorgan’s CIO of global tech infrastructure, overseeing its cloud tech.
- Edge computing is an emerging technology that moves computing closer to where the data is collected.
- Sherman says edge computing will dethrone cloud as one of Wall Street’s hottest tech trends.
Move over cloud — edge computing is going to be Wall Street’s next big thing.
That’s at least the sentiment of one of the top tech executives at the largest US bank by assets.
While much of the recent tech talk on Wall Street has focused on the pubic cloud, “it’s going to be yesterday’s conversation” in as little as five years, George Sherman, JPMorgan’s chief information officer overseeing public and private cloud infrastructure, recently told Insider.
“I actually think the conversation is going to be more about, ‘How do you move workloads closer to the point of consumption?’ which isn’t necessarily a cloud construct. It’s an edge construct,” Sherman said
Edge computing involves analyzing data closer to the point of collection as opposed to transporting it back to the cloud and doing it there. Computations run on the so-called “edge of the network” can be done faster.
Latency, or the speed at which calculations can be done, has long been a barrier to Wall Street’s full adoption of the public cloud.
By combining edge with cloud computing, financial institutions stand to collect and analyze data faster.
“I think that’ll be the kind of flavor of the day in the next five to 10, it’s already kind of starting but if we think about where it is in its maturity curve, it’s still very new,” Sherman said of edge computing.
5G and IoT are leading the push to edge computing
The rise of the internet-of-things (IoT) — or the network of devices, like toasters or smart watches, that are connected to the internet and collect data — has played a role in the increased interest in edge computing.
The roll out of 5G technology, which is the fifth-generation wireless network standard, is also key to edge computing since it speeds and broadens connectivity. But the tech has taken a while to get deployed worldwide, Sherman added.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the bank, which operates a $12 billion annual tech budget, from exploring applications for edge computing.
In late-2019, JPMorgan stood up its Future Lab for Applied Research and Engineering (FLARE), which aims to enable the bank’s emerging technology priorities and inform its next-generation solutions, like quantum and edge computing and 5G wireless.
“Technically speaking, what 5G is based on is very short wavelengths and very high frequency. But what this translates into is a lot of data can be transmitted over shorter distances with respect to 4G,” Marco Pistoia, managing director and director of FLARE, said during an episode of the bank’s podcast in February.
“We are going to have a lot of data, but shorter distances so a lot of the new technologies can leverage the amount of data that can be transmitted. We have speed, we have consistency, we have higher availability, and we have lower latency,” said Pistoia, who was a top engineer at IBM before moving to JPMorgan in 2020.
JPMorgan isn’t the only one eyeing edge computing. New York-based exchange operator Nasdaq highlighted the tech as a key differentiator to optimizing the systems that match buyers and sellers.
Bank of America, meanwhile, has earmarked 5G and edge computing as game-changing technologies that could improve internal tech challenges, including running data-intensive software, as well as customer-facing technologies.
“We’ll be talking about telecommunications players more than we’re talking about tech giants,” Sherman said.