A glimpse into the world of edge computing
We had a time when no one had a computer. Then we came across a time when there was a personal computer in every household. Till a few years before, we were living in an age where every person had their very own smartphone and a personal computer.
But today, we are living in the cloud computing era where everything you have is not owned by you. All your data is stored on a server located miles away. This is referred to as cloud computing.
And to take it one step ahead, we have edge computing which is a technology that is closely associated with cloud computing. So what is edge computing and what are its practical applications? Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- What is edge computing?
- Where is edge computing used?
- Why edge computing came into existence?
- What are the use cases of edge computing?
- Final Words
What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing is the process where data is processed at the same site it is generated. Instead of sending all your data to the cloud and then processing it, edge computing allows you to send selective data to the cloud. In essence, it allows you to bring cloud computing near the point where the data is sent.
Many people think that cloud computing will disappear due to edge computing. They cannot be more wrong. In fact, edge computing will help you to use cloud services efficiently. Edge computing is designed to act as a bridge between your data points and cloud servers.
Where is Edge Computing used?
A classic example of edge computing is the use of high-definition video cameras that relay information to the cloud servers. These cameras work on a motion detector that records when there is some activity before it.
Now take a look at all the work the cloud servers have to do when someone walks before a camera –
- It has to keep a check on any activity going on in front of all the cameras.
- It has to push the command “ record ‘ when there is activity before the camera.
- It has to obtain video recording, process, and store it.
The cloud server has to go through all these activities before you can watch the video. What if we can use an edge computing device to lower the work of the cloud servers? Let’s say that we use an edge computing device to calculate motion. When we attach this to the camera, tasks no 1 and 2 will be automatically relieved from the cloud servers.
With 1 camera, this may not sound like a difference. But when you have 500 cameras, this small device can save you a whole lot of bandwidth. It can help you put the server at ease and allow it to focus exclusively on processing and storing the footage.
Here’s an example of edge computing with IoT devices
Why edge computing came into existence?
Consider a scenario. You own a factory where you produce shoes. You have a production line which includes hundreds of machines with thousands of moving parts. You also have cameras and other smart devices in your factory.
Now let’s say that you have decided to upgrade your network to Microsoft’s Azure servers. Think about all the data that is needed to be uploaded from all these IoT devices and security cameras. When you have so many devices, you need to have a higher bandwidth. Even when you invest the capital to get very high bandwidth, you might have moments where the speed is just not enough.
You will have latency issues and this can lead to data loss. When you install edge computing devices and hardware to all your IoT devices, you effectively free up tons of bandwidth. This lowers your internet costs and lowers the stress on your capital investment. Most of the outgoing data will be processed and stored by the edge computing devices. This will lower (or) completely eliminate latency issues in your servers.
Edge computing was brought into existence to primarily solve latency problems. A good example of these is used in online multiplayer games. Here data is calculated at the gamer’s device before sending it to the cloud. If the opponent moves to a point, your game calculates all the different possibilities before getting the data. Once the data is received, it executes the right set of information.
One more major use of edge computing is to increase data privacy in IoT devices. The idea is that all your devices must be prevented from data breaches. Edge computing allows you to protect that data coming from IoT devices at scale.
What are the use cases of edge computing?
You can reduce the amount of data that is sent to the cloud and rather send only selective information. With edge computing, you can move all your operations involving tech and machines to the cloud and still run it with the reliability of on-premise servers.
You can use edge computing to reduce latency issues for your customers. When you give a smooth experience to your customer, they will have a better appreciation for your brand and be back for more.
Oil and gas
Oil refineries can use edge computing to enable the use of IoT on a large scale. This can improve the efficiency of the whole supply chain management.
Sensitive patient data can be handled safely with edge computing. It will increase the efficiency of data transfer in the healthcare industry.
Multiplayer games that are played in an online environment will benefit a lot from edge computing. They can reduce lag and allow players to play games without any difficulties.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Edge computing will allow you to optimize end-user experience by reducing lag in smartphone applications. This will help customers to use AR and VR seamlessly.
If Cloud computing is here to transform the way industries work, edge computing will help you enable the Internet of Things (IoT) and accelerate digital transformation. Finally, edge computing is here to boost the way businesses work in the digital economy.