Like other hot new areas of enterprise tech, edge computing is a broad architectural concept rather than a specific set of solutions. Primarily, edge computing is applied to low-latency situations where compute power must be close to the action, whether that activity is industrial IoT robots flinging widgets or sensors continuously taking the temperature of vaccines in production. The research firm Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2022, 90 percent of industrial enterprises will employ edge computing.\nEdge computing is a form of distributed computing that extends beyond the data center mothership. When you think about it, how else should enterprises invest in the future? Yes, we know that a big chunk of that investment will go to the big public cloud providers \u2013 but hardware and software that enterprises own and operate isn\u2019t going away. So why not physically distribute it where the business needs it most?\n\nTech Spotlight: Edge Computing\n\n4 essential edge computing use cases (Network World)\nEdge computing's epic turf war (CIO)\nSecuring the edge: 5 best practices (CSO)\nEdge computing and 5G give business apps a boost (Computerworld)\nAmazon, Google, and Microsoft take their clouds to the edge (InfoWorld)\n\n\nAugmenting the operational systems of a company\u2019s business on location \u2013 where manufacturing or healthcare or logistical operations reside \u2013 using the awesome power of modern servers can deliver all kinds of business value. Typically, edge computing nodes collect gobs of data from instrumented operational systems, process it, and send only the results to the mothership, vastly reducing data transmission costs. Embedded in those results are opportunities for process improviment, supply chain optimization, predictive analytics, and more.\nCIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and Network World have joined forces to examine edge computing from five different perspectives. These articles help demonstrate that this emerging, complex area is attracting some of the most intriguing new thinking and technology development today.\nThe many sides of the edge\nEdge computing may be relatively new on the scene, but it\u2019s already having a transformational impact. In \u201c4 essential edge-computing use cases,\u201d Network World\u2019s Ann Bednarz unpacks four examples that highlight the immediate, practical benefits of edge computing, beginning with an activity about as old-school as it gets: freight train inspection. Automation via digital cameras and onsite image processing not only vastly reduces inspection time and cost, but also helps improve safety by enabling problems to be identified faster. Bednarz goes on to pinpoint edge computing benefits in the hotel, retail, and mining industries.\n\nCIO contributing editor Stacy Collett trains her sights on the gulf between IT and those in OT (operational technology) who concern themselves with core, industry-specific systems \u2013 and how best to bridge that gap. Her article \u201cEdge computing\u2019s epic turf war\u201d illustrates that improving communication between IT and OT, and in some cases forming hybrid IT\/OT groups, can eliminate redundancies and spark creative new initiatives.\nOne frequent objection on the OT side of the house is that IoT and edge computing expose industrial systems to unprecedented risk of malicious attack. CSO contributing writer Bob Violino addresses that problem in \u201cSecuring the edge: 5 best practices.\u201d One key recommendation is to implement zero trust security, which mandates persistent authentication and micro-segmentation, so a successful attack in one part of an organization can be isolated rather than spreading to critical systems.\nComputerworld contributing writer Keith Shaw examines the role of 5G in \u201cEdge computing and 5G give business apps a boost.\u201d One of 5G\u2019s big selling points is its low latency, a useful attribute for connecting IoT devices. But as IDC research director Dave McCarthy explains in the article, the reduction in latency won\u2019t help you when you\u2019re connecting to a far-flung data center. On the other hand, if you deploy \u201cedge computing into the 5G network, it minimizes this physical distance, greatly improving response times,\u201d he says.\nIn case you\u2019re wondering, the hyperscale cloud providers aren\u2019t taking this edge stuff lying down. In \u201cAmazon, Google, and Microsoft take their clouds to the edge,\u201d InfoWorld contributing editor Isaac Sacolick digs into the early-stage edge computing offerings now available from the big three, including mini-clouds deployed in various localities as well as their exiting on-prem offerings (such as AWS Outposts or Azure Stack) that are fully managed by the provider. Sacolick writes that \u201cthe unique benefit public cloud edge computing offers is the ability to extend underlying cloud architecture and services.\u201d\nThe crazy variety of edge computing offerings and use cases covers such a wide range, it begins to sound like, well, computing. As many have noted, the \u201cbig cloud\u201d model is reminiscent of the old mainframe days, when customers tapped into centralized compute and storage through terminals rather than browsers. Edge computing recognizes that not everything can or should be centralized. And the inventive variations on that simple notion are playing a key role in shaping the next generation of computing.