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The technology can help state and local governments provide public safety, utility, smart city and disaster management tools in quicker, more efficient fashion. As AI becomes more common, edge computing might as well.
Simply put, edge computing means deploying servers close to data sources to boost the speed of communications, which in turn opens the door for faster, more reliable and real-time data analysis tools that can improve public services. Smart city projects, utilities and public safety are among the most attractive areas for backers of edge computing technology in the government sector.
Recent spending projections help to illustrate edge computing trends in gov tech.
According to market intelligence firm IDC’s most recent EdgeView study, local and state governments in the Americas will spend $3.8 billion on edge solutions in 2022, a figure that will increase to $4.9 billion in 2026. Most of that spending will come from the U.S., according to Jennifer Cooke, IDC’s research director for Edge Strategies.
Worldwide, that spending stands at $8.2 billion and is projected to increase to $11.6 billion by 2025.
That’s not all when it comes to the ongoing potential of edge computing for public agencies. IDC also found that 74 percent of survey respondents plan to increase edge computing spending, with the average planned increase at 34 percent — answers that might be “aspirational,” Cooke told Government Technology, but which still underscore the interest in the technology.
Drivers of that interest include the need to store data for longer periods of time, the increasing amount of data used by public agencies and new tools that depend on machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Edge computing is hardly a new concept, but as agencies rebound from the pandemic and deal with other digital challenges, the technology holds fresh promise, Zheng Song, an assistant professor of computer and information science at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, told Government Technology via an email interview.
“I believe technology-wise, edge computing and AI will be the two main opportunities for reshaping public services and infrastructure,” he said. “The massive amount of sensors deployed in the field can already provide useful insights for public safety, disaster relief, smart transportation, social welfare, and other domains related to public services. Edge computing along with AI will process and make sense of the huge amount of data generated by these sensors in a real-time, privacy-preserving fashion, which will unleash the true potential of such data.”
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