The expansion of technology and growth of high-speed wireless networks, like 5G networks, has made it possible for a wide range of connected devices to become viable. Many people are familiar with some of these devices like smartwatches, for example. This is just scratching the surface of the types of connected devices currently available and in development.
One of the challenges with all these potential sources for data is how it will all be monitored and acted upon. There is a wealth of information but a bottleneck in computing power to make use of all the information. This is where edge computing comes into play. It’s a modern process to help maximize the power of the massive wave of information that will be available. The devices providing this information are referred to as the internet of things, or IoT. It’s estimated that, by 2025, there will be over 30 billion IoT devices around the world.
What is Edge Computing?
As a concept, edge computing is rather simple to explain but much more difficult to implement. With edge computing, much of the data processing required is done by the IoT devices themselves rather than at a centralized server like is often seen with cloud computing. In other words, the computing is done on the “edge” which is how the name came about.
The reason this is growing in popularity is because of the massive amounts of data being generated by the billions of IoT devices currently deployed. As more devices are added in the healthcare industry, autonomous vehicles, video conferencing, cybersecurity infrastructure, and other use cases; that volume of data will only continue to grow.
To manage this, centralized cloud servers would have to be expanded rapidly. This comes at a significant initial cost as well as the ongoing cost of operating the cloud servers. With edge computing, the connected device can do the processing of data and send the completed results so that the end user can act on it much more quickly as compared to waiting for raw data to be processed by a potentially overworked central server.
How Is Edge Computing Implemented?
The world is in the early years of edge computing. Many of the connected devices in use right now rely on cloud infrastructure. However, this is shifting and it will be common to see devices advertising edge computing as a feature. Major companies like IBM and Microsoft are leaders in the space.
Where edge computing will help the most is in industries or use cases where there are a number of IoT devices all collecting data at the same time and that data needs to be acted upon quickly. Healthcare is a perfect example of an industry where edge computing is already being implemented. Imagine the vast array of monitoring devices in a healthcare setting and how important much of that data is. Edge computing would enable the monitoring device in question to compute data instantly without the involvement of a central server and then make necessary decisions which could include notifying an on-duty physician or nurse.
Modern security systems are also using edge computing in many connected devices. A complete security system could include cameras, window and door sensors, water sensors, motion detectors, as well as other components. Time is of the essence when it comes to security which makes edge computing an ideal solution.
Reducing Bandwidth Usage
Another important benefit of edge computing is reducing bandwidth usage on networks. Many people have likely experienced what happens when their old router has more and more devices being added. With IoT devices, businesses and households may soon have dozens of new connected devices all operating on the network. If each device were to constantly send and receive information over the internet, the available bandwidth could be eaten up rather quickly.
With edge computing, the devices are doing the computing themselves and only communicating over the network when necessary. This is how businesses will be able to added a lot of new devices to the network and still be able to enjoy functional video conferencing.
Step Into the Future of Computing
While edge computing may sound like something in the distant future, it is an important implementation that businesses are already making today. IoT devices that employ edge computing are making healthcare workers, security professionals, and automotive manufacturers more efficient.
To see the power and benefits of edge computing in everything from security devices to video conferencing improvements, contact the experts at Perry proTech today.