Edge computing use cases may be classified under two major categories: Third-party applications and operator applications.
Edge Computing and MEC Operator Applications
Operators place their own applications on the edge. These may be further classified as: analytics, compliance, security and NFV.
The edge collects a large amount of data about users, network conditions, local context, consumer behavior etc. that can be invaluable to OSS/BSS applications. Sending all of this data to the core may be counter-productive for two reasons: high latency and wasted bandwidth. In many closed loop automation situations, e.g performance degradation requiring corrective action within milliseconds, letting a centralized application drive closed-loop automation is just not practical. Second, the amount of data generated by edge devices and functions can be substantial when you consider items such as log files. It is much more cost effective to run analytics on the edge and send small batches of condensed information to the core. Analytics may include a range of activities such as event correlation, big data applications, machine learning etc.
Compliance consists of a broad variety of applications that could range from copyright enforcement to geographical data placement. Copyright enforcement comes in play during concerts, plays, sports events etc. where an audience member does not have the rights to transmit the event video via their cell phone. An edge application could either disable the upstream transmission completely or reduce the resolution to make the transmission compliant. (Unrelated side note: de-duplication could also be done to reduce precious upstream bandwidth). Geographic placement comes in when, by law, a certain piece of data has to reside in a particular geography. Edge applications can enforce these laws.
Generally, CSPs have protected themselves against attacks from the internet. However, the October 2016 Dyn DNS cyber-attack demonstrated that as UE, IoT and CPE devices become more sophisticated, attacks could be mounted from the “other” side. Edge computing allows for applications such as DDOS and cyber security to prevent these types of attacks, and moves the security perimeter closer to the source.