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Future Look: IBM Space


This year will witness exponential technology at the edge of space continuing its advance.

Edge computing is increasingly helping business and public sector organizations better manage and derive more immediate insights from massive amounts of data generated by today’s connected devices and mobile phones.

Edge computing takes the computer to where data is being created and can help organizations more quickly obtain critical insights in situations of constrained bandwidth, remote or mobile environments.


The result is improved response times and better bandwidth availability. There’s less latency because data doesn’t have to be sent in bulk to a data center to be processed.

The time-saving benefits and communication resource savings are clear when it comes to a future space mission, especially long-term ones such as the Artemis mission or the journey to Mars.

However, these innovations have applications on Earth, as well. In industries such as banking, edge computing can be used for analyzing ATM video feeds in real time for consumer safety.

In the public sector, edge solutions can be applied to assess the health of remote IT systems or equipment.

In retail, edge solutions could be used to personalize the shopping experiences for customers, as stores rapidly communicate specialized offers in real-time.

In the automotive industry, edge computing can help progress an autonomous cars’ ability to make decisions in real-time.

With properly equipped instruments, local information can be computed as well as relayed back to human crews without the need of sending all the raw data — just the desired results.

As 2023 progresses, edge computing applications, using modern artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technologies, will help us better obtain the critical and actionable insights to help perform computing operations more effectively, whether they are in space or here on Earth.

We will also start observing the edge from terrestrial networks being extended to the edge in space in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and beyond.

A wide spectrum of hybrid computing, from laptop to computers in space, will help us to expand an ecosystem for developers, researchers, academia, industry partners.

They will be able to collaborate, build and deploy applications through access to highly sophisticated instruments onboard and technology in space, hence creating a Space API Economy in this new space era.

Author Naeem Altaf is a Distinguished Engineer as well as the CTO of IBM’s Space division. He has 22 years of experience with IBM and leads work for company with NASA and SETI for the Frontier Development Lab program. Naeem was recently appointed as a technical advisor for Explore Mars. He is a computer science graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.