What is it? Where did it come from? How does it help my business?
These are just a few of the questions that could be swimming around your head whenever someone mentions a new tech buzzword such as edge computing. You might roll your eyes and sigh, thinking that this is yet another way tech companies pretend they’ve invented the wheel. This time it’s different. This time it makes sense. This time, your business really will benefit from the reinvention of the wheel.
In a nutshell, edge computing is where devices that once relied on the cloud for processing and communication can now do it themselves. Edge computing works with devices that are equipped with intelligent functionality, allowing them to process their own information and only send vital information to the cloud. This has come about as a reaction to the millions of new Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are connected to the cloud. The sheer number of IoT devices around means that the bandwidth of the cloud is compromised, which in turn creates huge latency issues amongst other things.
If you think about it, if all the IoT devices in the world sent all their data to the same place, at the same time, the server wouldn’t have enough space or power to compute such high volumes of data. It simply doesn’t work.
In essence, edge computing is a solution to the load on networks and servers and offers new functionality to individual devices.
This means that huge companies, which have many devices and huge amounts of data, can increase their number of devices, improve latency and essentially create more space for more data. This also opens the doors for companies to solve problems at the source of the issue rather than waiting for the servers to pick up the problem, which also increases reliability. Individual devices can be configured separately so that the administrators or engineers have more power over separate devices. In addition, as the price of computational hardware is decreasing, improving devices and putting them on the edge is an economically viable option for many businesses.
Edge computing and analytics
An interesting aspect of moving the data back into the devices is the opportunity for data analysis. With edge analytics, the data from any given device can be analysed in almost real time, right next to the device. There is no need for cloud interference, or network convergence, just the data from that device when it is needed. Once that data has been analysed, the most important statistics or information can then go onto the network, or into the cloud. This will save time, space and improve speeds of data analysis.
Edge computing gives companies actional insights in near real time, which can then be adopted to improve individual devices. This kind of business innovation is especially important for businesses looking for ways to reduce costs, even improve their data analysis. Generally speaking, edge computing and analysis is at the cutting-edge of business.