Skip to content

The Difference Between The Edge and Edge Computing


As featured in Acceleration Economy Network

You might be wondering why I picked this topic? Well, I’m often inspired with topics based on my interactions and conversations with a lot of people across a lot of industries and tech domains. One of the things I get a very good feel for is how different communities use techo terms. 

You have probably heard a lot of folks talk about the edge as if it is some kind of technology. You see it all the time in articles. I’ve been in meetings where that lack of clarity of what is meant by edge leaves a group wondering if it even exists or even matters. 

The Edge is Not Edge Computing

Well, they would not entirely be wrong. Yes, the edge has always been there. Yes, it hasn’t changed much. Why? The edge is just a place. In the context of computing, it happens to be where computing happens on and endpoint device. That’s it. 

What is edge computing? Another question of endless debate. That’s when the application you are running on your endpoint device at the “edge” is running is distributed across a compute resource or infrastructure close to the client endpoint device.

So, one, “the edge” is a place and proximity. The other, edge computing, is a software architecture and computing model that inform how an applications can be distributed and disaggregated across resources at the edge.

Consequential Confusion

I will admit, there many interpretations of edge computing and edge. I have had the pleasure of seeing them all, hearing them all, and living many of them in my consulting career and my time as an industry and tech analyst.

There are two things that happen when we can’t settle on common understanding and semantics. 

Number 1 – Just like cloud, we talk past each other. We still do this with cloud today. One of the problems with “cloud” is that it is morphing very quickly seemingly on a daily basis. What do we mean by cloud? Infrastructure? Development platforms? Software applications? There are so many flavors and new permutations. Edge computing is arguably a more vast and potentially confusing topic, especially if we don’t get concepts straight. 

Number 2 – You end up dismissing the whole thing. This is usually an outcome of frustration. Frustration with the debate. Then you end up throwing the baby out with the bath water. There is something very consequential happening with edge computing. If you dismiss it, as I have heard some folks do, you miss out on the opportunities.

Key Takeaways for the C-Suite

Yes, word matter. As a digital leader in your organization, it will help you communicate edge computing concepts, opportunities, and considerations if you can get your organization talking straight about the topic. 

Well, you might be telling yourself, this is too technical. I don’t need to know what edge computing is. That is what folks were saying about cloud. Now it seems it has been the only the we can talk about for the past decade. 

Well, there is a new kid in town. It’s called edge cloud computing. Get to know her.

This material may not be copied, reproduced, or modified in whole or in part for any purpose except with express written permission or license from an authorized representative of neXt Curve. In addition to such written permission or license to copy, reproduce, or modify this document in whole or part, an acknowledgement of the authors of the document and all applicable portions of the copyright notice must be clearly referenced.

If you would like to engage with a neXt Curve analyst on this topic, please:

If you would like to be notified of our latest research by email, please:

Related Content

Subscribe to neXt Curve!

By subscribing to the neXt Curve site you will registered with our reThink research blog and have an opportunity to engage with one of the most vibrant and independent discussions on our digital future. As a subscriber, you will receive newly published research articles and content as well as invitations to exclusive events by mail.

By subscribing you acknowledge and accept the terms of neXt Curves privacy policy.

Request an Inquiry

Send us an email

Request a Briefing