Edge AI technology is growing quickly
The global Edge AI software market is set to grow from USD 590 million in 2020 to USD 1.83 trillion by 2026, according to a report published by MarketsandMarkets Research.
Various factors, such as increasing enterprise workloads on the cloud and rapid growth in intelligent applications, are expected to drive the adoption of Edge AI solutions and services.
Edge AI software vendors have implemented various organic and inorganic growth strategies, such as new product launches, product upgrades, partnerships and agreements, business expansions, and mergers, to strengthen their offerings in the market.
This article explores the Edge AI market and where it’s headed in the future.
What does the Edge AI market look like right now?
Edge AI is the combination of Edge Computing and Artificial Intelligence.
With Edge AI, AI technology is embedded in Edge devices, which allows processing and data analysis to take place on the device itself.
The use cases made possible by Edge AI have increased the demand for this type of technology across the automotive and consumer electronics industries, which currently dominate the Edge AI market.
Examples of products relevant to these industries include self-driving cars, video analytics systems, and surveillance cameras.
To further understand the Edge AI Market, let’s focus on its two main segments: Edge AI components and Edge AI device types.
Edge AI by component
The component segment of the Edge AI market includes processing, memory, sensing, and other software-related functionalities.
Governments worldwide have increased funding for new IoT applications and Edge computing solutions, fueling demand for Edge-based technologies. Often, this takes the form of software tools, training and consulting services, support and maintenance tools, and others.
Today, Edge AI is also utilized in the healthcare sector for fast, early detection and analysis of diseases. Furthermore, the increased use of robots has expanded from customer service to health services.
Though this may seem to fit under the Edge AI by device category, it’s the Edge AI hardware (the processors that support specific AI software) that are highly sought after in these industries.
Edge AI by device
The second segment concerns Edge AI devices.
This includes smartphones, smart speakers, wearables (such as smartwatches), and a wide variety of other Edge AI-enabled devices.
Among these, smartphones account for the largest market share under this category as Edge AI has vastly expanded smartphone capabilities (such as security, imaging, and power efficiency).
However, wearables are also rising in demand.
For example, Smartwatches are becoming much more popular, not just for health monitoring purposes but as an extension of smartphones. For instance, smartwatches can deliver notifications, receive and respond to calls and text messages, and control other devices.
What are the top factors driving Edge AI adoption?
Now that we’ve explored the main two Edge AI market segments, let’s look into what’s driving Edge AI adoption in these categories.
1. 5G contributes to the rise of Edge AI
When it comes to 5G, Edge AI is no longer ‘nice to have.’ Instead, it’s a must-have component due to its ability to handle the complexity of this 5th-generation mobile network.
Edge AI (and new data processing and automation capabilities that come with it) support a diverse ecosystem of evolving networks in a way that cloud-based solutions cannot manage as effectively.
Additionally, self-driving cars, virtual reality, and any use case requiring real-time alerts need Edge AI and 5G for the speedy processing it promises. As such, 5G is encouraging Edge AI adoption in numerous industries.
2. Edge AI’s deep learning solutions boost its popularity
It has always been a challenge to perform deep learning in low-power IoT devices due to the limited data storage and computational power of these resource-constrained devices.
Now, Edge AI models are frugal enough to work at the Edge, empowering devices to complete their own data processing and generate insights without relying on cloud-based AI.
Now that deep learning can be performed on-device, innovative new use cases are constantly popping up in many different industries.
3. Edge-enabled IoT devices are in high demand
With the help of Edge AI, IoT devices are becoming smarter. This is because Edge AI allows IoT devices to possess machine learning capabilities, empowering them to process data locally, make predictions, and administer solutions.
Edge-enabled IoT devices are incredibly beneficial across numerous industries today due to their low latency, low bandwidth usage, and local data storage capabilities.
Who are the major vendors in the global Edge AI market?
Despite the increasing use of Edge AI, the industry is dominated by only a few big companies and start-up companies whose expertise differs depending on which market segment (component or device) the business specializes in.
The component and device market segments include:
- Intel Corporation
- NVIDIA Corporation
- Qualcomm Inc.
- Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
- Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
- Google Inc.
- MediaTek Inc.
- Xilinx Inc.
- Imagination Technologies Limited
- Microsoft Corporation
The following start-up companies are also becoming more well-known:
- Cambricon Technology
- Horizon Robotics
- Hailo Technologies
- Habana Labs
Many of these companies have recently launched software and applications in response to new needs during the pandemic because people were spending more time living and working from home.
For example, in late 2019, NVIDIA introduced Jetson Nano, which focuses on machine learning inferencing that updates the existing AI systems in IoT devices.
In the same year, Kneron also launched Edge AI solutions for smart homes, smart surveillance cameras, smartphones, robots, drones, and other IoT devices.
Other companies offering AI solutions, such as AiM Future and Vision Alliance, started to build partnerships as they began transitioning from cloud-based AI to Edge AI (or an Edge/cloud hybrid AI environment).
Additionally, Telstra and Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently collaborated to combine AWS’s Edge AI technology with Telstra’s 5G network.
As can be seen, numerous companies are taking an interest in Edge AI and are undertaking new product launches, product upgrades, partnerships, and business expansions to capitalize on the booming Edge AI market.
Where is the Edge AI market headed in the future?
As we’ve explored, Edge AI has gained popularity as a critical enabler of many progressive technologies like the IoT, 5G, and AI.
In the next few years, the industrial sector is expected to take massive steps in adopting Edge AI, specifically when it comes to their IoT devices. This move will further increase the demand for Edge AI and Edge computing solutions.
At this early stage, industrial IoT devices can detect problems or emergencies, alerting humans so they can intervene promptly.
However, new improvements promise that Edge AI will generate automatic, instant action, which takes the need for human intervention out of the equation.
This action-taking ability can be incorporated into the IoT platforms that manage the machines, such as robotic arms. It can also be incorporated into healthcare by automatically administering the proper medications to patients when certain chemical levels rise in the body.
As Edge AI becomes even more sophisticated and begins taking appropriate actions when anomalies are detected, it’s clear how numerous industries benefit from the power that Edge AI offers.
Edge AI is here to stay
From companies and developers to everyday consumers, it seems as though everyone is experiencing the importance of Edge solutions, resulting in 93% of businesses worldwide adopting Edge AI.
This opens possibilities regarding enterprise-level AI-based services and user convenience and satisfaction.
As such, leading companies worldwide have been investing billions of dollars in developing their Edge AI systems to keep up with the fast-changing landscape of the market.
One conclusion is clear. Edge AI is an incredibly in-demand technology, and its growth isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.