The IoT world is becoming smarter, faster, and more intuitive each day. With technological advancements and innovation, industrial companies are beginning to drive new levels of performance and productivity using IoT solutions.
Edge computing is quickly proving to be a key element to these Industry 4.0 breakthroughs.
What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing is transferring the logic that is typically performed on the cloud back to devices themselves through gateways. This enables analytic and data gathering to occur directly at the source – the device.
In the past, edge devices were weak, so depending on devices to perform logic wasn’t realistic. However, today’s devices are designed with stronger hardware capabilities. This allows for the installation of full operating systems directly on the devices. It also makes it possible to attain logic directly on the device, instead of on the cloud via the Edge.
Advantages of Edge Computing
Edge computing is more advantageous than cloud-based computing due to:
- Real-time responses. Situations that call for real-time responses are better off using edge computing vs. cloud-based computing. For example, edge computing can be seen in smart homes and smart security domains, where real-time responses are needed. If someone breaks into a house, the owner wouldn’t want to depend on cloud-based response times; he would need immediate response time, which the Edge offers. For factory use cases, real-time responses are needed to immediately deal with problems or issues that might arise and avoid a larger crisis.
- Battery & network cost saving. When saving battery life and networking is recommended, data sent to the cloud will be limited. With GPS devices for example, limiting the data that is being sent to the cloud and saving battery life and networking is key. The data is only updated if it’s relevant or involves a big change in the GPS location.
- Privacy. There are times when sensitive information wouldn’t want to be sent to the cloud, so it’s stored on a private network and kept confidential. Performing logic directly on the device eliminates the need to open an additional connection to the cloud, keeping the sensitive information more secure.
A New Way to Store Information
Most businesses have incorporated cloud-based storage into their IoT solutions to monitor and analyze the gathered data from devices. The cloud will continue to be used, but with the introduction of devices that have bundling capabilities – computing, storing and analyzing – edge computing is gaining traction.
With edge computing, the data can be stored in two locations. First, on the device itself. When the device has the ability to apply logic on the data, the data can also be stored there. This is especially advantageous with cases that require real-time responses, battery saving, and privacy matters.
Second, on the cloud as a backup. There might be specific logic that is relevant to several devices, so data also needs to be stored on the cloud to compare the collected data to other use cases that already exist there. Many times, edge computing and cloud-based computing can work together in a coexisting environment.
Industrial Benefits of The Edge
The business side of edge computing also presents a compelling case for its successful future. As devices become smarter, IoT solutions also become smarter and faster, helping businesses gain a higher value and ROI for their investment:
- Predictive Management. Utilizing the Edge can help businesses reduce costs and add an extra layer of security assurance.
- Energy Efficient. Not only does the Edge lower energy consumption and maintenance costs, it is highly reliable and increases smart manufacturing.
- Time Saving. Because logic is performed directly on the device, this allows for time-saving measures and rapid deployment of new processes and models, essentially scaling IoT solutions much quicker.
Edge Computing Use Case
Here’s how edge computing is already being successfully implemented:
One example is autonomous vehicles. With autonomous cars literally running on hundreds of sensors that generate over 40TB of data for every eight hours of driving, it makes perfect sense to use edge computing. It’s not practical or safe to send all that information to the cloud. This is a real-time response case, where every millisecond of data requires immediate attention to ensure the safety of passengers and the public.
And although this data requires real-time response, the cloud is also an important factor as well. Analyzing the data and comparing it to the performance of other cars already in existence is essential for the future of autonomous vehicles. It’s a classic case for the Edge and cloud-based computing working together in unison.
Living on The Edge
As more industries start applying smart devices and smart IoT solution to their products, the demand for “smarter, faster and better” is inevitable. Edge computing is just another step toward the future of IoT, and it’s receiving more and more traction by many large companies.
If you’re interested in learning more about The Edge and IoT Solutions, contact one of our IoT experts today.