Edge Computing is a critical technology for operations in areas without a fast or strong connection to a central processing server. If outer space isn’t perfect for edge computing, we’re not sure what is. In October, the Patent Forecast® highlighted how Microsoft was partnering with SpaceX to bring Azure’s cloud computing platform to SpaceX missions, but edge computing was not yet part of the deal. However, in April 2021, Red Hat and IBM announced they would be demonstrating edge-computing technology with the International Space Station’s HPE Spaceborne Computer 2 for use in DNA sequencing.
Red Hat and IBM were likely chosen due to their powerful edge computing suite, and their strong patent portfolio is the icing on the cake. Combined, Red Hat and IBM have 82 patent assets in the last ten years. Their combined portfolio puts them only behind Intel and Cisco in the sector. However, if the demonstration is successful and the collaboration becomes long term, Intel and Cisco may be left with practically no way to compete for edge computing solutions in space. SpaceX and Blue Origin are the essentially the only private companies that would be in need of processing capabilities in space. With SpaceX already partnering with Microsoft, Intel and Cisco may be competing to land a deal with Blue Origin in the future to avoid being left out. On the other hand, they could also try partnering internationally, with the European Space Agency (ESA) or Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Check out the Edge Computing Patent Forecast® to keep up with companies competing for control of the edge.