Edge computing allows data produced by Internet of Things (IoT) devices to be processed closer to where they are created instead of sending them across long routes to data centres or clouds. Doing this computing closer to the edge of the network enables organisations to run near real-time analysis of important data – a need of organisations across many domains, including manufacturing, healthcare, telecommunications and finance. The disruptive potential of edge computing is fuelled by the unprecedented growth of data, the imminent impact of 5th Generation (5G) networks and the growing importance of latency in modern applications. When specialised and expensive solutions are preferred over generic edge computing or cloud infrastructures, it creates additional costs or excludes a wide set of SMEs from being competitive or even operational.
It becomes clear that current approaches on edge computing are not sufficient to address this forthcoming massive usage of edge computing, especially in the frame of large IoT deployments in smart cities and industrial applications. The massive data generated by new modalities (e.g. Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, real-time video processing for removing privacy-sensitive data etc.) are soon expected to account for an increasing portion of edge computing processing. The main goal in such scenarios is to ensure that the overall offered Quality of Service (QoS) fits the application needs over the edge or edge/cloud deployment. Speed and latency issues have been identified as the top barrier in this domain, while cost and reliability (meeting the provider Service Level Agreements - SLAs) are the top and second most important factors for evaluating edge and cloud services. Furthermore, achieving trust in such large scale IoT deployments is another crucial area of interest. With the recent introduction of blockchains as an enabling technology for distributed and peer-to-peer systems, it comes as a challenge to check whether modern edge computing approaches are suitable for being coupled with emerging decentralised applications built on blockchains. A distributed trust technology, ensuring scalability, privacy, and reliability, is a cornerstone for the growth of IoT and edge computing environments.