Edge compute: use cases, business opportunities and growth strategies

If edge computing is an area of interest to you or a key part of your strategy and growth plans, our edge insight and support could help

What is edge computing and why focus on it now?

Edge computing brings processing capabilities closer to the end user/device or the source of data. New technologies and demand for new applications means the time is ripe for edge. Consumers want low latency for content-driven experiences and enterprises require local processing for security and resilient operations. Those who want to add value in this space need to understand the business models, the use cases and define a clear go-to-market plan, including operators who can use edge computing to grow revenues outside connectivity.

See our edge computing articles, research and webinars below or talk to us about your project.

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STL Partners edge practice in the news:

Recent publications that have featured our edge experts

Can telcos learn from Amazon

Why we need edge computing

The emergence of edge computing

Edge research and insight

We work with telecoms operators and the leading technology companies in the ecosystem on edge computing. These insight pieces can help you understand and capture the opportunity.


About edge compute and edge cloud

An overview of edge computing and edge cloud to highlight the key questions being asked by the wider ecosystem and telecoms operators who are exploring the opportunity


STL Partners edge use case service

STL Partners has launched a new use case service. The detailed use case pack and accompanying analyst time will help to drive alignment, educate stakeholders and accelerate edge computing strategies through marketing leading analysis and evaluation.


Telco edge computing: What’s the operator strategy?

Edge computing is a strategic opportunity for telcos. We examine the driving needs and applications for telco edge computing, describe the market and the options for telcos, discuss their partnerships with hyperscalers and recommend key actions.


Building telco edge infrastructure: MEC, Private LTE & VRAN

Edge infrastructure deployment is happening – but how big will it really be, and where will it happen? We quantify the five-year outlook for edge deployments across four key domains.


Edge Computing Market Trends

The global edge computing market is expected to grow rapidly at a CAGR of 34% during the period 2019-2025. We explore the main industry drivers, key players, regional differences and use case examples spanning a variety of sectors.


Telco edge computing: How to partner with hyperscalers

Both telcos and hyperscalers want to capture the value at the edge, but they need to work together to deliver of edge computing solutions and generate demand among customers.


Edge computing questions and answers: What you need to know about edge computing

We answer some of the most commonly asked questions about edge computing. Included are resources that cover the fundamentals of edge computing.

What is an edge server


What is an edge server?

Although much of the excitement around edge computing is in the applications and platforms, hardware is still a critical component. Key questions we answer in this article is what an edge server is, how it differs for different use cases and types of edges and what the key trends are.


Edge computing and the Industrial IoT

We explore how edge computing support advanced new use cases for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as part of the transformation to Industry 4.0


Digital health at the edge: Three use cases for the healthcare industry

The healthcare industry must transform to meet growing demands on medical infrastructure and expertise. Edge computing will help drive this transformation and the move towards digital health, while also providing a potential role for operators in the ecosystem.


Does IoT need edge yet – and will it need it in the future?

The Internet of Things industry is growing rapidly, with use cases in smart homes, industry 4.0, autonomous cars and more. Meanwhile, operators’ deployments of edge computing infrastructure are also accelerating. How can IoT benefit from edge computing and what are some of the key use cases and requirements for the future?


Cloud gaming: What’s the telco play?

This report explores how the cloud gaming market is likely to evolve and what this means for telcos. Beyond providing better connectivity through 5G and edge computing, there are several ways in which telcos can add value to the cloud gaming ecosystem.


Smart Mobile Labs Q&A: Edge computing applications to limit the impact of COVID

The economic impact of COVID-19 on all types of businesses and industries globally goes without saying, but it has also put new strains on telecoms networks. Should we accelerate distributed/edge computing? Rüdiger from SML provides his views on this and which edge-enabled applications can support the front-line, as well as business continuity.


SK Telecom: The road to the world’s first 5G MEC platform

SK Telecom is a leading operator, having already launched 5G in April 2019. It is now one of the first service providers to begin the journey to make edge computing real and develop its own MEC platform – for both distributed MEC and on-site MEC. We explore how in this case study.


AWS, Azure & Google at the edge: How much of it is telco edge computing?

With the flurry of recent announcements, it looks like the hyperscalers are making big bets on telco edge. However, how significant is telco edge in their overall strategy? Is telco edge key for edge computing? Are the telcos partners or customers? And what are the differences in approaches between the hyperscalers?


Edge computing investments are just beginning

With all the hype, it’s difficult to determine how important edge is right now. How much is being invested relative to other technologies? How might this change?


15 Edge computing companies to watch in 2020

In this article, we have provided a spotlight on 15 companies (in no particular order) who are making waves in edge computing and are “ones to watch” in the next couple of years


Shadow Q&A: A cloud gaming company’s views on 5G and edge

Are 5G and edge relevant for cloud gaming? We spoke to Shadow – a cloud gaming company – to dispel the myths.


Telcos can disrupt AR/VR gaming models with edge computing

Edge computing can revolutionise the AR/VR gaming industry and provide an additional revenue source for telcos. Telcos can offer an edge cloud platform to gaming companies, which will bring the compute capabilities from the AR/VR headset to the edge cloud.

Interactive tool

Edge computing ecosystem tool

An interactive tool that maps out where different companies are positioned across the edge computing ecosystem


Edge computing: Changing the balance of energy in networks

Energy consumption levels across networks and data centres are on the rise due to the advancement of the internet and cloud-based services. To combat these challenges, edge computing can be utilised to change the balance of energy across a variety of use cases and applications.


Artificial intelligence: a killer app for edge computing?

Artificial intelligence and edge computing are both buzzwords within the industry in their own right. But, they should also be considered together – AI as a key use case for edge computing, and edge computing as a key enabler for AI to deliver on performance and keep costs down. In this article we’ll discuss opportunities and challenges, as well as a couple of key use cases for artificial intelligence at the edge.


How edge computing will support digital transformation in the oil and gas industry

Improving operational efficiency is paramount in the oil and gas industry: it is capital intensive, price sensitive and (can) operate in extreme environments. Digital transformation has become critically important and is being aided by the rise of IoT, AI and AR/VR. In this article, we share our thoughts on how edge computing can also play a key role.


What’s blockchain got to do with edge computing?

Edge computing enables a network for blockchain, but what’s blockchain’s role in edge computing? Why blockchain could enable a truly open distributed cloud marketplace.


Five edge computing use cases for the manufacturing industry

The manufacturing sector is poised to be an early adopter of edge computing, taking advantage of its benefits to accelerate digital transformation. Latency, data security, flexibility and reducing bandwidth are all key factors for the five edge manufacturing use cases we evaluate in this article.


Edge computing from the front line: developer case studies

Much of the discussion around edge computing has focused on use cases which are still hypothetical.

This webinar presented case studies “from the front lines” of developers & enterprises testing edge computing today across different applications.


5 things edge computing app developers want telecoms operators to know

The telecommunications industry interested in edge computing must listen to the requirements of developers who will run their applications at the edge. These developers want clarity around delivery, orchestration and pricing.


What’s in an edge computing platform?

The term “platform” often refers to many different things and becomes even more confusing when linked to a new, not well-defined domain such as edge computing. We seek to clarify what an edge computing platform is and provide examples of the edge platforms being developed today.


Mobile Edge Computing: What is Mobile Edge Computing?

Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) – formerly known as mobile edge computing – is a type of edge computing that extends the capabilities of cloud computing by bringing it to the edge of the network.


Edge business models and how to execute them

A joint webinar with MobiledgeX and STL Partners exploring edge cloud business models and the value proposition for application developers in augmented reality.


Five viable telco business models

How telcos can commercialise multi-access edge computing? We present five business models for telcos, demonstrating quantified revenue streams and costs.


Decoupled cloud connectivity pricing models for edge

We discuss how encouraging applications to move workloads to the edge to reduce backhaul costs will inadvertently mean telcos need to re-evaluate their pricing models

Data chart

Investment in edge start ups

Our data snapshot shows that venture capitalists and other investors see the value in the edge cloud market, as the number of start-ups continues to grow in this space


What can telcos learn from Amazon?

AWS built its customer base by moving from a test bed to a permanent option for IT and computing. Engaging application developers is crucial for growing the edge cloud


How does edge computing architecture impact latency

This article answers that question mapping out the potential “level of edge” and where different operators have announced they are testing or planned to deploy edge nodes.


Why 5G needs edge more than edge needs 5G

4G and edge will drive 5G coverage and applications. This would boost service demand and offer growth for telcos at a time when there is still scepticism for the 5G business case


Turning vision into practice

Our Telco edge computing: Turning vision into practice research gives an overview of the telco opportunity and seeks to address the key challenges for operators pursuing edge


Edge computing news in 2020

Edge computing is a rapidly growing industry and evolving ecosystem. This article aims to keep you up-to-date with some of the key developments within edge computing. Check back each month for our update on M&As, partnerships, product announcements and other strategic plays.

Data chart

How advanced are the industry’s edge strategies?

Our data snapshot shows the telecoms industry is yet to embrace edge and most are still trying to understand the market, particularly the telecoms operators.


CDN: what is edge CDN and virtual CDN (vCDN)?

Content and gaming providers face increasing competition to offer users the best quality of experience in the face of increasing demand for fast and high-quality streaming. The COVID-19 environment has put new strains on the network that means it is much more difficult to ensure delivery of content in a way that optimises user experience. There are two key trends emerging in CDN that could address this challenge: edge CDN and vCDN.


vRAN and edge computing: networking use cases will be key to investment and rollout

vRAN, or virtualised radio access network, could be one of the largest drivers for more distributed compute in the next five years. This has significant implications for how and where edge infrastructure will be deployed. There are several considerations edge application providers must take note of.


What edge developers want from telcos now?

The use of edge computing is accelerating rapidly in applications. Through seven case studies we outline what developers want from edge computing, and how telcos can support them


Edge computing investments: who’s doing what and why?

With all the hype, it’s difficult to determine how important edge is right now.

This webinar explored how much is currently being invested in edge, where these investments are happening across the value chain, and the risk and rewards to consider.


10 Edge computing use case examples

Edge computing brings processing and storage capabilities closer to where it is needed. Why is this important, and which industries can benefit the most?


The future of edge computing

How will the edge opportunity play out? Will telecoms operators use it as an opportunity to move higher up the value chain, or will competitors such as the hyperscale cloud providers squeeze them out? In this article, we explore 3 of the potential scenarios we may see develop over the next few years?


Edge computing & 5g in the automotive industry: from gears to software

Edge computing and 5G is being explored and adopted within the automotive industry to support the increasingly complex software being deployed in cars. Together, 5G and edge computing can deliver low latency, high bandwidth and mobile applications in a secure and reliable fashion. In this article, we explore some of the automotive use cases enabled by these capabilities.


​Edge computing partnerships: Telcos and hyperscalers​

Hyperscalers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google are rapidly increasing their presence in the edge computing market. They have launched dedicated 5G network edge solutions and started partnering with telcos to bring their platforms closer to end users. Telcos, however, are yet to develop a clear strategy on how to use these partnerships to move up the value chain and play a role beyond hosting the infrastructure.


​Edge computing in retail: How to capture the opportunity today

The retail sector is already facing unique challenges. These have only been amplified by the unprecedented environment presented by COVID-19, which means retailers need to maximise their opportunity as countries come out of lockdown, enter the ‘new normal’ and gear up for the post-summer period. Edge is poised to be a key enabler in this, by unlocking new applications and capabilities that will enhance the customer experience across online and offline channels.


What and where are edge data centres?

Although it is still early days for significant edge data centre investments, there is increasing interest and demand for the benefits they bring. However, there is much confusion for what constitutes an edge data centre. In this article we will run through the different types of edge data centres, beginning at the nearest point to the end-user.

Meet the edge computing team

Philip Laidler

Philip Laidler

Partner and Consulting Director

Dalia Adib

Dalia Adib

Principal Consultant and Edge Practice Lead

Tilly Gilbert

Tilly Gilbert

Senior Consultant

Matt Bamforth

Matt Bamforth


Ahmed Ali

Ahmed Ali

Senior Analyst