Edge computing — also known as fog computing — is a data processing model that uses sensors and connected devices to transmit data to a nearby computing device for processing, instead of sending it back to the cloud or a remote data center. This model can offer users an alternative to cloud-based IoT data management, but it can also work in tandem with such systems, allowing users to reduce data transmission and cloud storage costs. And it’s becoming a more sought-after part of the wider IoT ecosystem — 40% of companies that provide IoT solutions reported that edge computing came up more in discussion with customers in 2017 than it did the year before, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s 2017 Global IoT Executive Survey.

In a series of three notes, Business Insider Intelligence examines how edge computing is improving data collection and processing for companies across industries. In the first installment, we focused on the healthcare industry, where providers are turning to edge computing solutions to secure and and more efficiently process the growing troves data they generate. In this second note, we delve into the seemingly paradoxical interest that telecommunications companies have in edge computing solutions and the steps they’re taking to bolster offerings. Finally, the third note will focus on the role of edge computing solutions in vehicles, and how these systems will be crucial in reducing logistics costs and enabling autonomous cars.

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Telecoms Are Making A Play For The IoT — But Hurdles Remain

As the smartphone market approaches saturation, competition among telecoms is growing incredibly fierce. Essentially all consumers are now existing subscribers somewhere, which means these companies' only hope to win more users is to get them to switch carriers.

One way they’re competing with each other — especially in the US market — is by offering unlimited data plans to consumers at lower costs. They’re also including perks like zero-rating specific video streaming services through partnerships that [...]