The huge amounts of data available today or soon to be generated by IoT devices, connected cars, and other digital platforms leads us to a potential issue where the cloud will no longer be sufficient to process and analyse the data instantaneously, what is the answer ?
Enter edge computing
Sometimes faster data processing is a luxury other times it’s the difference between life and death.
An autonomous vehicle, for example, is essentially a large, high-powered computer on wheels that collects data through a multitude of sensors. For these vehicles to operate safely and reliably, they need to respond to their surroundings right away. Any lag in processing speed can be deadly.
While the bulk of data processing for connected devices now happens in the cloud, sending data back and forth across a central server can take seconds too long.
By next year 2020, (yes I know that has crept up on us), it is estimated that the average person will generate 1.5 GB worth of data per day. With so many more devices connected to the internet and generating data, cloud computing might not be able to handle it all especially at the faster speeds required for certain uses.
Edge computing makes faster data processing for autonomous vehicles possible, but how does it work?
What Is Edge Computing?
Edge computing enables connected devices to process data closer to where it is created — or the “edge.” This can be either within the device itself (i.e. sensors), or close to the device, and provides an alternative to sending data to a centralised cloud for processing. Some of the biggest players in tech — including Amazon, Microsoft, and Google — are exploring edge computing, potentially giving rise to the next big computing race.
Edge computing could prove to be more efficient in some areas where cloud computing operates today, Edge computing enables data to be processed closer to where it’s created (i.e. motors, pumps, generators, or other sensors), reducing the need to transfer data back and forth between the cloud.
The shift to edge computing
In our data-heavy future, with billions of devices connected to the internet, faster and more reliable data processing will become crucial. The consolidation and centralised nature of cloud computing has proven cost-effective and flexible over recent years, but the rise of IoT and mobile computing has put a strain on networking bandwidth.
Ultimately, not all smart devices need to utilise cloud computing to operate. In some cases, the back and forth can and should be avoided.
That’s where edge computing comes in.
According to research, the global edge computing market is estimated to reach £5.4bn by 2022.
Advantages of edge computing
Although a new area, edge computing offers some obvious benefits, including:
Real-time or faster data processing and analysis:
· Data is processed closer to the source, not in an external data centre or cloud, which reduces lag time.
· Enterprises spend less on data management solutions for local devices than for cloud and data centre networks.
Less network traffic:
· With an increasing number of IoT devices, data generation continues to rise at record rates. As a result, network bandwidth becomes more limited, overwhelming the cloud and leading to a greater bottleneck of data.
Increased application efficiency:
· With lower latency levels, applications can operate more efficiently and at faster speeds.
In summary this is a very interesting development we are seeing and one that will pose just as many questions as it provides answers.
If you would like to chat about the opportunities around computing at the edge or where cloud and IOT can help your organisation drop me a line or give me a call
0114 281 5973