The Benefits of Edge Computing

It’s predicted that by 2020 nearly 50 billion ‘things’ will be connected to the Internet, sending massive amounts of data across the network. This “Internet of Things” is already transforming the way we live and work – and to cope with the ever-increasing number of intelligent, connected devices, a new computing model called edge computing is gaining popularity. But what exactly is ‘edge’ computing?

The Benefits of Edge Computing Blueberry Software Development

All of us want self-driving cars, smart cities, smart homes, and so on – but have we ever wondered what it takes to create such amazing applications?

The last decade has been focused on cloud technology, and despite all the benefits of cloud computing to deliver software and service-focused applications, the percentage of real-time data processed by businesses outside of the cloud has been increasing due to the need for quicker reaction times to maintain a competitive advantage.

Because edge computing works on a decentralised data processing approach, unlike the cloud, large quantities of data can be turned into actionable insights quickly. In edge computing, devices analyse sensor data in real time on the factory floor before sending it to the cloud or data centre as needed. In other words, data processing occurs at or near the source of data generation, usually by things containing sensors or embedded devices. However, rather than replacing the cloud, edge computing is more likely to complement cloud computing.

4 Reasons why edge computing will transform businesses

1. Security

Can you imagine the level of damage that a security breach can cause to an IoT system, particularly if it occurs at the central server? It can shatter the whole system and make it vulnerable. But, if security systems are present at each ‘edge’, any glitch at one edge can be solved separately without disturbing the other parts of the IoT system.

Moreover, when data is moving between different fragments, it must cross various layers of security. The data exchange is between the internet, servers, and nodes. At each of these, we can implement additional security measures such as firewalls and security scans.

2. Scalability

Edge computing offers high scalability to the network. For extending the network as and when required, we can increase the devices, data centres, and the processors without affecting other parts of the network.

A huge network is not easy to handle in a cloud where the whole burden is on one centralised server. An IoT system generates large volumes of data. Simultaneous processing of this data is cumbersome. And, the problem increases when you have to add more nodes to the network. Large scale extensions will not just slow down the system but can even cause a system breakdown.

On the other hand, a vast network with edge computing can work efficiently at different fragments simultaneously. And, the size of the network will not affect its quality, as many fragments have their separate processing. A distributed processing reduces the traffic and processing burden on the central data repository.

Edge computing is therefore the best solution for networks which have an enormous span and are expected to keep growing with time.

3. Faster Processing

IoT has so many applications working together. If they share the same central server, all of them can slow down the server.

Moreover, the central server in an IoT environment will also have to manage very high volumes of data. Bulk data creates complexities for not just the server, but all the fragments of the IoT system. If the server slows down or fails, all the connected devices also fail!

In edge computing, data is accessible locally to the connected devices. This means the edge technology allows the data processing at each device ‘edge’. It is closer to the data source.

The proximity of the processing and data centers eliminates the need for data to travel to the centralised server, making the processing faster. And, as this reduces the data movement requirements, the response time reduces at each fragment of the IoT, contributing to high efficiency.

Another speed benefit of this system occurs because all the data is not processed together centrally. So, at each processing centre, only a part of the data processing is done. Simultaneous multi-processing makes the system more productive.

And, when the entire network is not exchanging data all the time, it saves a lot of unnecessary network cluttering, while maintaining data sharing between nodes only as and when required.

4. Cost Effectiveness

Large networks are required for the increasing demands of IoT. And as the size of a network grows due to the number of connected devices and real-time applications, so do the expected operational expenses in IoT systems.

This is another reason why edge computing is gaining traction. Compared to existing alternatives, edge computing is more efficient, secure, and easily scalable, so the costs associated with slow processing and security are reduced by a large extent. Additionally, edge processing reduces storage, operating, and overall network costs.

The most critical aspect of IoT systems is the presence of varied, interconnected devices. The components of IoT can range from humans to hardware, software, devices, and network channels.

Thankfully, edge computing enables interoperability between modern smart devices and legacy devices that are potentially incompatible. It does this by converting the communication protocols used by legacy devices into a language that modern smart devices and the cloud can understand. This means older devices can be connected without investing in expensive new equipment!

Another benefit is that edge computing makes the fragments capable of operating without the need for high-speed internet connectivity, which was a mandate for effective cloud functioning.

Conclusion

Edge computing is becoming increasingly popular in large systems such as the Internet of Things. It’s variety of benefits mean applications based on edge computing are extending to agile and real-time systems, such as traffic management, self-driving vehicles, security systems, fleet management, remote monitoring of oil & gas, smart grids, smart cities, and so on.

If you’re interested in custom software development and need a technology partner, have a look at our services to see if we might be the right fit for your next project.

If you’re interested in custom software development and need a technology partner, have a look at our services to see if we might be the right fit for your next project.
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