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Edge Computing Volume 1: Decoding Edge Computing

Data centers and IT departments are leveraging edge computing to keep up with the increasing demand for efficient services. Edge computing is a method of optimizing cloud computing systems by processing data as close to the source as possible, otherwise known as the edge of the network.

Bandwidth is not always available to send data back to a cloud attached system, so the compute function needs to happen on devices themselves. Mechanisms like those referenced below need to determine who or what is in their vicinity, and to understand the context of their goals, then take that data and deliver it directly to the user who needs it immediately.

Transmitting large amounts of raw data over a network, such as the cloud, puts a lot of stress on a network’s resources. By processing data closer to the source and then only sending the data that has value to a data center or the cloud, network resources can be conserved.

Identifying Value

Edge computing is propelled by mobile computing and the increasing number of networked devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

The biggest advantage of edge computing is that it drastically improves response time by processing data right at the source, all while conserving network resources. There are many cases in which reaction time is the most important factor when working in the Internet of Things.

Processing data closer to the source to find what is valuable also means that ultimately less data will be sent over the network. This can help avoid network bottlenecks, improve performance and save on cloud computing costs. By discarding the data that is not valuable, storage is reduced and along with it, infrastructure costs.

Making the Move

Edge computing is making its way into different industries. Those likely to adopt the technology the quickest are manufacturing, utilities, energy and transportation. These entities deal with a large amount of data daily, so edge computing is a critical resource in identifying what is valuable and what is not. Following in their footsteps will likely be retail, healthcare, agriculture and smart cities.

Many technology experts expect edge computing to be mainstream in the next 5 to 10 years due to the following benefits:

  • Real-time data analysis at the local device level, not in a distant data center or cloud.
  • Lower operating costs due to smaller data management expenses of local devices.
  • Reduced network traffic from local devices via a network to a data center or cloud, decreasing network bottlenecks.
  • Improved application performance as apps that don’t tolerate latency can achieve lower inactivity levels on the edge, as opposed to a distant cloud.

For more information on edge computing, how it is being used and how it may benefit you, please contact our team today.