Edge is the biggest business opportunity since the birth of the internet

Monaco calling

Datacloud Global Congress hears of the next big Jeff Bezos opportunity as industry players plan to work together, while probably fearing some new kids on the block.

The move towards edge networks will be driven by new alliances and new players, hoping to benefit from the biggest digital opportunity since the birth of the internet, delegates at this week’s Datacloud Global Congress in Monte Carlo were told.

At the Edgecon conference which was held during the Datacloud event, Mark Thiele, director of engineering for edge compute at Ericsson, said: “Edge is an opportunity to work with people you wouldn’t normally be able to work with, including rivals, as the edge opportunity is so big and floats so many boats, there are plenty for everyone to climb into.”

He said: “In 1992, when the first internet was around we were messing around with Mosaic, lists and IP addresses not knowing what it would turn into. By 1995, grandma was using it, but most of us weren’t Jeff Bezos who knew how to make money out of it.

“This is the next big opportunity though and we have to work together to build a network that can take advantage of it.”

Edgecon heard predictions of 75bn connected devices by 2025, illustrating why new edge networks and data centres are required to make up for the shortcomings of the global internet. There are about 400 internet exchanges in the world, and only 100-150 are comprehensive in terms of offering full peering and data handovers from network to network.

One delegate from a company that builds telco networks warned however that the ubiquitous connectivity promised by edge could not be achieved by “simply throwing things into containers”. “You will have to build networks and grow them methodically”, they said.

Speaking at the new Finvest event at Datacloud, Eddie Kilbane, CEO and co-founder of the DataPlex Group, said: “The new edge networks will be built by new companies, not the telco incumbents as their existing networks are too old and cumbersome to build onto. The banks realise this and are ready to lend to make it happen.”

Data Economy pointed out to Edgecon organisers that when it came to allowing users to access and share data and content anywhere they wanted, through automated edge networks, more would have to be done to address issues around intellectual property, security and content copyright, for instance. Edgecon plans to discuss these issues at future events going forward.