The Internet of Things is growing at an explosive rate with new connected devices popping up with exemplary use cases in both home and industrial usage. According to IDC estimates, the data load generated by 41.6 billion IoT devices can exceed 79.4 zettabytes (ZB) of data. A single zettabyte is approximately one billion terabytes.
Along with this, Gartner predicts that as early as 2022, nearly three-quarters of industrial data processing will happen outside of public clouds and data centers. This gap is where edge computing will, quite literally, define its edge with the market expected to exceed $13 billion globally by then.
Why is edge computing so crucial to the future of IoT? Let’s do a deep dive.
- 91% of organizations will implement edge computing
- 84% believe edge computing applications have a positive impact on their operational responsiveness
- 75% say they will invest in AI in the next three years to create new business models at the edge, combining intelligent workflows, automation, and edge device interconnectivity
- 54% will use edge computing applications for energy efficiency management
- Most edge disruptors expect an ROI of over 20% in the next three years.
What is Edge Computing?
Edge is essentially a distributed computing paradigm. In this paradigm, data processing and computation happens on classified device nodes, commonly referred to as edge devices. This is in stark contrast to the initial days of IoT wherein all collected data was pushed to the cloud for processing and analysis. With IoT growing at an unprecedented pace, however, the data load has promptly gone up to trillions of gigabytes effectively choking the data traffic routes and causing latency issues. Edge computing resolves this by processing some or even all of the data locally, instead of sending it all the way to the centralized cloud. Since data is processed near its source of generation, this also helps in reducing Internet bandwidth usage significantly. The paradigm gets its moniker ‘edge’ from the location of where it processes data – at the edge of networks where the data is generated.
IoT and Edge Computing
Edge computing plays a crucial role in enabling our collectively envisioned connected future of tomorrow wherein smart cities, computing, extended reality, cloud gaming, and the Internet of Things (IoT) all come together in a seamless computational environment in a fluid movement of data through increasingly complex networks and busier routes. Edge computing can help in data stream acceleration as well as provide server resources, data analysis, and artificial intelligence to data collection sources as well as smart sensors and actuators. Your local provider in Managed IT services Houston should be able to elaborate further.
Edge computing is of particular interest to environments invested in remote work/ anywhere operations scenarios or those with a geographically dispersed user base. Even with ever-increasing data loads, edge computing can drive significant improvements in time to action, response times, real-time data processing without latency, and most critically, conserve network resources. Think of it as smart devices responding near simultaneously to any command or request it takes in. With technologies like self-driving vehicles already taking to roads and the sky and other critical IoT use cases, such as, processing classified data, or data that requires real-time or low-latency decision-making, or data processing that happen in environments where cloud connectivity is sparse – eliminating the scope of lag and reducing Internet bandwidth usage can be crucial to the success and efficiency of such technologies.
Beyond preventing the scope of networks from choking, edge computing serves another crucial purpose for IoT. With mission-critical tasks, it is absolutely imperative for IoT to remain secure and maintain accuracy over time. This is further complicated by the fact that most IoT devices are low-powered and are highly prone to hacking. Edge computing’s ability to process data without the need for transmission to the public cloud makes data safer by cutting its journey short. It also adds resilience and redundancy for data through its distributed architecture wherein data processing can continue uninterrupted even in the case of a breakdown somewhere in the network. Edge systems are also capable of producing cryptographic keys and securing the network, wherein communication with all locally connected IoT devices can be secured through the use of edge devices called ‘security agents’.
How Edge Computing Can Help Secure the IoT
- Network latency – Edge computing devices analyze data locally (at or near the point of data generation). Therefore, unlike cloud-processed data that relies on Internet bandwidth, there is zero latency involved. For highly precise time-sensitive IoT use cases, such as autonomous vehicles, that may require sub-second response times – this can literally make or break the efficacy. Consider reaching out to IT Support Houston to know more about latency reduction.
- Improved data security and privacy – Edge computing can improve security and privacy by effectively reducing the number of sensors and actuators that need to be connected to the Internet. This can, in turn, minimize exposure to security attacks. With data processed locally, the amount of sensitive data sent through the network is also reduced.
- Cost-Effective – With reduced cloud usage and processing, the cost goes down. Filtering of irrelevant data at the edge gateway also reduces the cost of transmission of data.
- Better App performance – Storage and processing of data at the edge (instead of journeying back and forth to the cloud) minimizes lag times and this helps to improve overall application performance. This also improves the real-time monitoring of data.
- Unlimited scalability – In edge computing, the scalability of your IoT network is really dependent on deploying edge servers at requisite locations of data generation. This frees up businesses from depending on cloud infrastructure storage and costs and enables them to scale at will.
- Better business efficiency and reliability – Significantly reduced data traffic and decreased cloud storage can lead to more predictability and structure in business operations. With the whole world relying on digital connectivity for home and business use 24/7 now, it is critical for businesses to remain always available at the point of need. Edge computing can help by increasing the availability of site uptimes and even prevent electrical failures. IT Consulting Providers in Houston can help you put this into action today.
About the Author
Scott Young is the president of PennComp LLC, an IT Support Houston company. Being a CPA, Six Sigma Master Blackbelt, Change Management Certified and Myers Briggs Qualified, Scott’s expertise is reflected in PennComp as a leading IT company for computer services and network integration. PennComp utilizes Six Sigma methodologies and practices in their service delivery and offers state-of-the-art monitoring and management tools to their clients. His blog can be found at https://www.penncomp.com/blog/.
Sam leads our team of advice columnists and is responsible for providing our readers with sound advice on matters concerning security, especially online.