I\u2019ll start with an understatement:\u00a0The pandemic has profoundly affected edge computing.\nFor over two years, edge computing has accelerated growth at the distributed edge due to the rise in remote work and the changing demand for various applications.\nFor example, I learned that there is a limit on the WiFi bandwidth at home \u2013 something I hadn\u2019t even thought about until my family relied on our Internet at home 24\/7.\nEdge computing is about moving into unconventional spaces for critical digital infrastructure. Whether on a manufacturing floor (industrial edge computing), an outdoor location, or a retail stock room \u2013 the rack becomes the data center.\nFlexibility and standardization of data centers have become critical. We also can\u2019t forget about the need for robust resiliency.\nFurthermore, physical security is also a big issue. Many edge data centers don\u2019t have IT staff on-site and are more accessible to whomever is around. This is a story that\u2019s still unfolding.\nOverall, data continues to increase, and the acceleration of pushing compute further out has picked up.\nSimultaneously, we see autonomy in warehouses and factory floors, which leads us to the question:\nHow close are we to autonomous operations at the network edge?\nWith the recent technological advancements, autonomous operations at the edge are becoming a reality.\nThere is already a level of autonomy in unmanned places that may not be easily accessible to employees and other personnel.\nRecently, I walked through the Newark Airport and passed by the CIBO Express \u2013 the store is powered by Amazon\u2019s Just Walk Out technology, so there were no cashiers.\nAs the name implies, you can swipe your credit card and walk out with your purchases; think of all the technology needed to effectively run the operation.\nLooking at the infrastructure to support the store, is relying on edge computing alone effective?\nReliable remote IT access is the key to self-sufficient edge sites. You need to be able to solve problems that might occur and have the peace of mind that your edge data centers are operating as they should.\nAt Vertiv, we focus on remote IT access to give customers eyes and ears at their distributed edge data centers and robust monitoring of what\u2019s happening within their networks.\nThere\u2019s also a level of predictive analysis to ensure the customer has the information they need to make decisions about their edge networks.\nI anticipate we\u2019ll see the most evolution around remote IT access to edge data networks that are secure and robust.\u00a0\nWhere are we seeing the most growth in technology to support edge deployments? What\u2019s next?\nWe\u2019ve all heard a lot about the explosion of edge computing and distributed networks, but now, we\u2019re seeing incremental growth. There are many proofs of concepts, and it starts in waves.\nRight now, we\u2019re trying to turn data into something meaningful, which takes edge computing architecture. That means upgrading existing sites and putting in more equipment.\nThe next step is enhancing the customer experience, which includes more augmented reality applications \u2013 that one is a little further out and more of a proof of concept. These aren\u2019t leaps and bounds but rather pockets of activity.\nUltimately, we\u2019ll get to a fully immersive experience with machine learning and AI edge computing happening further and further out. We\u2019re seeing more conceptual discussion in the area but very few edge computing use cases.\nWhen we talk about edge computing, we tend to focus a lot on the IT stack and the critical infrastructure that supports it. What we\u2019re focused on \u2013 and where I hope we move as an industry \u2013 is converging those two things. That comes through remote IT access that has one foot in operational technology and the other in IT \u2013 that\u2019s what\u2019s needed to enable the network edge and support future growth.\nLearn more how Vertiv can connect you with the right IT infrastructure for your edge network.