Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm in which computation is largely or completely performed on distributed device nodes known as smart devices or edge devices as opposed to primarily taking place in a centralized cloud environment. Edge computing is often presented in tandem with or as a developmental consequence of the rollout of the pending 5G telecommunications rollout.

The eponymous “edge” refers to the geographic distribution of computing nodes in the network as Internet of Things devices, which are at the “edge” of an enterprise, metropolitan or other network. The motivation is to provide server resources, data analysis and artificial intelligence (“ambient intelligence”) closer to data collection sources and cyber-physical systems such as smart sensors and actuators.Edge computing is seen as important in the realization of physical computing, smart cities, ubiquitous computing and the Internet of Things, IoT devices.

Estimates vary but most forecasters place the number of IoT devices connected today at 8-9 billion . Forecasters such as Gartner beleive that by 2020 assuming the rollout of 5G there will be between 20-25 billion devices in the IoT universe most of which will be requiring very low latency. 

Edge computing is related to the concepts of wireless sensor networks, intelligent and context-aware networks and smart objects in the context of human–computer interaction. The Internet of Things and edge computing are variously classified as sub-disciplines of the other, but edge computing is more concerned with computation performed at the edge of networks and systems whereas the Internet of Things label implies a stronger focus on data collection and communication over networks. Both disciplines are instrumental to the nascent Fourth Industrial Revolution and industry 4.0,

Edge computing pushes applications, data and computing power (services) away from centralized points to the logical extremes of a network thus completely changing the data transport routes of a centrally based, cloud centric data flow system. By definition the data transformation and transport challenges posed by the emergence of Edge computing will demand a new profile of services and technologies.