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Public Agencies Poised to Boost Spending on Edge Computing

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.

Closeup of a stack in a data center.
As the business of government technology continues to grow, edge computing is emerging as a hot spot — and an area that is gaining more focus from local and state public agencies.

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 for generating new data-based insights in a number of areas, Zheng Song, an assistant professor of computer and information science at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, told Government Technology.
Thad Rueter writes about the business of government technology. He covered local and state governments for newspapers in the Chicago area and Florida, as well as e-commerce, digital payments and related topics for various publications. He lives in Wisconsin.
Andrew Adams is a data reporter for <i>Government Technology</i>. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield.