Edge Computing Volume 2: The Key to the Internet of Things

In our first volume on edge computing, we discovered how it worked and why the demand for it is steadily increasing.  Now we need to explore how edge computing relates to the Internet of Things (IoT) and what the benefits are from using it in conjunction with cloud computing.

As the number of IoT devices continues to increase, cloud computing systems are having difficulty meeting the data computing and intelligent service demands from the devices. Since the cloud servers are farther away, they are often not able to process the information and relay it back quickly enough. This is where edge computing comes in.

Near Real-Time Analysis

Edge computing allows for the IoT device to quickly move information over to the edge to process valuable data and then send that data back to the device in a quick turnaround. By the time data from thousands of IoT devices is transmitted to the cloud for analysis and sent back to the device that data may have lost its value, even if this process takes only a few minutes.

There are many applications in which fast response time is important. For example, smart streetlights. The streetlight should be able to recognize that a car is coming and then turn on in time to benefit the driver. If it takes too much time to process this information and then turn the light on, the car could be past the light and the data is no longer valuable. If the light can use edge computing to efficiently turn on and off when it is needed, the end result is saved energy.

This near real-time data analysis also allows for improved scalability and energy efficiency for IoT devices, especially small, lightweight ones. For example, smart home devices like the Amazon Echo will be more efficient if they are able to process data near the edge instead of having to send it back to the cloud first. By saving this energy, it allows for the device to be smaller so it can sit in your kitchen or living room perfectly.

Additional Benefits

That valuable information that was processed at the edge can now be sent to the cloud for storage and analysis without the extra data that was deemed less important. This will aid in keeping networks open and less constricted. Fewer bottlenecks means greater overall efficiency in data processing and response time for IoT devices.

Edge computing also allows for improved security within IoT devices. Since the data that is being processed is kept close to the edge of the network and is not being moved over a greater distance to the cloud, the data is less likely to have security issues.

The ability for faster turnaround, less restricted networks and improved security, is the reason that edge computing may be the integral key to the Internet of Things. For more information on the Internet of Things and edge computing, please contact our team today.