The world is closer to the next decade of 2020 and like most predictions, it is going to be a great one for technological advancements ! Technological innovations have outdone themselves by creating a world with efficient and easier services.
Data has become the biggest asset to an enterprise and person alike. The transition to The Cloud has changed the dynamic of data processing and functioning of devices that work on the internet. Cloud has made the dream “on demand” computational powers that work on data centers come true.
The tech world revolutionized with cloud computing and honestly, it has reached its maximum for services. However, there is scope for improvement in its functioning and a new wave of computing called the ‘Edge’ has come into being. It is complementary to the cloud and does not compete with it.
Let’s understand the ‘Edge’.
- What is Edge Computing
- How Does Edge Computing Work And Where Is It Used?
- Why Do We Need Edge Computing?
- What Are The Possible Risks With Edge Computing?
What Is Edge Computing?
While technology aims at making the lives of people easier, the motto of Edge computing is focused on making computing faster. How does the edge manage to achieve this? As mentioned earlier, it complements the cloud by its ability to process and analyze data faster wherever the data is generated and speeds up the time taken to deliver this data to the request origin.
The ‘Edge’ literally means the edge of a network that is decentralized. It’s close proximity minimizes the time data travels between the user and the cloud. Just like the cloud has data centers in place, the Edge deploys micro-data centers for better connectivity. This is especially beneficial in diverse geographical locations where cloud is not as efficient and of course, situations that demand real time computing.
How Does Edge Computing Work And Where Is It Used?
Edge computing decentralizes data from the centralized network and pushes it onto distributed networks of the server which are closer to the place of data generation.
Anybody using internet services will gain access to the edge and it’s geographical placement makes it a great advantage for organisations that don’t want their data to reach far off servers.
Where do enterprises generally deploy their applications and services?
There are 3 main places where enterprises tend to deploy their applications:
- At a data center that hosts multiple servers and necessary resources,
- In a managed building where connectivity and cooling are services,
- Cloud services providers.
Cloud service providers is where some of the infrastructure is virtual and services are provided as per-use basis. It then becomes an operational cost and not capital expenditure.
Edge computing would be adding itself to this category by developing micro data centers which reduce the data travel time from client to server.
Let’s understand this better with Use Cases:
This is the most obvious sector where edge computing would prove effective. An autonomous vehicle functions without human assistance and works solely on data transmission. The vehicle sensors’ communication with back end data centers takes approximately 100 milliseconds to transmit which is quite a delay if the car were to respond to an accident.
If these vehicles continue to function on existing technology then they won’t be performing to the best of their capabilities and would require some human intervention.
Edge computing would help this sector by using upcoming technology of 5G which will help bring a better and closer connectivity while driving. AI would also be a great option to make intelligent decisions depending on the traffic flow and road safety.
Only a true gamer will understand why edge computing is so important for gaming applications. The main selling point for virtual games is the possibility of users playing in real time with users that are across the world on the same platform. For locations that don’t receive faster connectivity, Edge computing set up near their geographical location will help them experience the game in its real spirit.
Businesses are usually quick at looking to update their technologies and tapping potential markets which advance their performances. One major aspect businesses can capitalize on when using Edge is amplified consumer data security.
With the data travelling all the way to the cloud, there are higher chances of breaches than with Edge where the data remains close to where it’s generated.
Edge computing will also help scale the performance of IoT services by increased speed. When customers experience real time processes, it gives a boost to your goodwill and brand image.
Few other examples in use cases would be: Digital Health, Retail market, Smart Transportation and something as wide as Smart Cities.
In most use cases, you’ll be able to identify that ‘edge’ is the digital transformation that the 2020 decade promises the world.
Why Do We Need Edge Computing?
By now, you will be convinced of the high speed data processing achieved by the Edge, but there is so much more to Edge that makes it the inevitable future. A good future, hopefully.
Why is this so important? Imagine a hospital with automation services in an operation theater. Device A has to communicate with Device B which is in another part of the world and there is delayed response due to data centers not being able to reach with faster output.
Could a life and death situation rely on the cloud at such a time? No doubt, the cloud has made things easier but with Edge computing, the efficiency of the cloud will reach its optimum potential.
This is where the ‘decentralized’ part of the Edge computing definition comes to light. When data is stored on the edge’s micro-data centers, there are low chances of the data being breached, lost or nonoperational. This is critical for industries that transmit sensitive data such as solar farms, windmills, hydro power plants etc.
Along with faster data responses, Edge computing also saves on your internet usage. Most sectors have an increased reliance on IoT. For example, a place which requires high security would have multiple security cameras in place. Imagine using one camera that filters relevant data and stores it on the edge without having to go back to the cloud every time.
This also saves the internet cost and reduces maintenance time.
What Are The Possible Risks With Edge Computing?
- Businesses will have more control over your life once edge comes into being as they will be processing faster results, drawing better consumer insights and targeting the correct audience.
- There is an increased possibility of human error while setting up the edge technology, which again, can be overcome by more Edge technology.
- Finding the Edge architecture and technology can be difficult in locations that don’t support these advancements.
What lies ahead…
Edge computing is a treat for almost every sector of the world, be it manufacturing or construction, people will be turning to the edge. It will open up new markets by 5G technology and as economy progresses, new revenue channels. It’s micro-data centers could provide services to specific regions and at competitive prices and offers.
Edge works alongside with other emerging technologies that use data as their primary source of processing. Here’s an irony: Edge computing does not leave you on the edge. Instead, it comes closer to your workstation’s Edge for heightened computing and safety.