Jaisri Vijayakumar

As enterprises’ IT landscapes become more convoluted, newer technologies are coming to the rescue. Businesses now have the flexibility to scale their operations as per their needs, run their infrastructure more efficiently, and ensure that they’re not losing any customers due to a slow application. All of this is made possible by Cloud Computing. Simply put, cloud computing delivers computing services over the internet. This gives the owners the freedom to access their data from any location via the connected network of servers/data centers. This has proved to be profitable for organizations. 

What is Edge Computing?

Gartner defines Edge Computing as “a part of a distributed computing topology in which information processing is located close to the edge – where things and people produce or consume that information.”

Edge Computing is an emerging technology that is already playing an important role by enabling quicker decision-making by analyzing the data at the edge of the network.

At its basic level, Edge Computing brings computation and data storage closer to the devices where it’s being gathered, rather than relying on a central location that can be miles away. This is done so that data, more importantly, real-time data, does not suffer latency issues, as that can affect an application’s performance. Additionally, companies can reduce costs by having the processing done locally, reducing the amount of data that needs to be processed in a centralized or cloud-based location.

Edge computing was developed due to the exponential growth of IoT devices, which connect to the internet to either receive information from the cloud or deliver data back to the cloud. IoT devices generate enormous amounts of data during their operations.

A single device producing data can easily transmit it across a network. For example, a video camera live streaming footage from a remote warehouse. Problems arise when the number of devices transmitting data at the same time grows. Not only will quality suffer due to latency, but the costs of bandwidth can be tremendous.

How does Edge Computing work?

Edge Computing hardware and services help solve the above-stated problem by being a local source of processing and storage for many of these systems. An edge gateway can process data from an edge device and then send only the relevant data back through the cloud, reducing bandwidth needs. For real-time applications, the data will be sent back to the respective edge device.

Edge devices vary from things like an IoT sensor to a laptop, a smartphone, a security camera or even an internet-connected microwave oven in the office break-room. Edge gateways are considered edge devices within an edge-computing infrastructure. Internet of Things (IoT) devices are an important component of edge computing because these connected devices can process data on the edge. 

This technology fulfills the local computing needs by processing data in micro data centers, like an office or a facility, instead of sending them directly to the main data center. Micro data centers are at the center of edge computing needs. This can be considered as an on-premise technology which is diminished to match certain business models.

It is important to ensure that IT infrastructure can operate on-site, from within the largest spaces to small remote sites. The connectivity challenges in remote locations can be overcome by bringing data locally on-site, thus eliminating latency.

The units will be configured for functions which will be their primary job in a device. Each unit in the edge computing will have its infrastructure like a computer, storage, and networking system. These devices will take care of the context/network switching, routing, security, and load balancing. The complete network of these devices becomes a centralized point for data processing from multiple sources. The data points will be analyzed by event processing engines which would decide on where the data should be streamed. 

The data may be processed on edge or can be sent to a data center nearby based on pre-defined rules for further analysis. There are two types of data, namely ‘hot data’ and ‘cold data’. Hot data will be instantly analyzed to make quick decisions and in the case of cold data, it will be stored and analyzed later for analytics based on historical trends.

One of the key features of edge computing is the speed and responsiveness it offers is so great that in future the data which is stored will be acted upon the edge of the network instead of transferring it to data centers for further analysis.

There is a common misconception that edge computing is only for IoT embedded devices but that is not true. Edge computing, though ideal for IoT, offers great scope for departmental and traditional business applications. Wherever the data sources are, the edge computing layer will be operating close to it.

Edge computing has several advantages, such as:

  • Increasing data security and privacy
  • Better, more responsive and robust application performance
  • Reducing operational costs
  • Improving business efficiency and reliability
  • Unlimited scalability
  • Conserving network and computing resources
  • Reducing latency

Edge Computing Use Cases

Autonomous Vehicles

The choice to stop for a pedestrian crossing in front of an autonomous vehicle (AV) must be made in very little time. Depending on a remote server to deal with this choice isn’t practical. Moreover, vehicles that use edge innovation can cooperate even more effectively if they can speak with one another first instead of sending information on mishaps, climate conditions, traffic, or bypasses to a remote server first. Edge registering can help.

Healthcare Devices

Health monitors and other wearable healthcare gadgets can constantly watch out for the conditions of patients. It can save lives by alerting caregivers when help is required. Moreover, robots aiding medical procedure must have the option to rapidly break down information so as to help securely, promptly, and precisely. Transmitting data to the cloud before making decisions is not the most efficient for healthcare devices.

Security Solutions

Since it’s important to react to dangers instantly, security surveillance systems can benefit from edge computing innovation. Security frameworks can distinguish potential dangers and alert clients to unusual activity.

Retail Advertising

Targeted promotions and data for retail associations depend on key parameters, for example, demographic data, set on field devices. Right now, edge computing can help secure client protection. It can encrypt the information and keep the source as opposed to sending unprotected data to the cloud.

Smart Speakers

Smart speakers can attain the ability to interpret voice instructions and execute basic instructions. Turning lights on or off, or changing indoor regulator settings, regardless of whether web availability fails would be possible.

Video Conferencing

Poor video quality, voice delays, frozen screens—a poor connection to the cloud can cause numerous video conferencing disappointments. By putting the server-side of video conferencing programming nearer to members, quality issues can be reduced.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether edge computing is just another buzzword, it has great scope for organizations to implement it and realise the benefits of faster data processing and transferring, thus enabling quick decision-making. It is time for enterprises to take the next logical step towards upgradation of their business processes.

References:

https://www.networkworld.com/article/3224893/what-is-edge-computing-and-how-it-s-changing-the-network.html

https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2019/08/will-edge-computing-transform-healthcare

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/5/7/17327584/edge-computing-cloud-google-microsoft-apple-amazon

About the Author

Jaisri is a tech enthusiast. She is passionate about reading and sharing knowledge. She believes “CHANGE IS THE END RESULT OF ALL TRUE LEARNING”