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Short Introduction to Edge Computing

If your business is somehow related to technologies and innovations, you have probably heard of edge computing. In this blog post, we are going to give the answers to the following three questions: What is it? What benefits does it offer? What are the use cases?

What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing is an approach to the IT network architecture that implies the decentralization of computational processing and carrying it out close to the data source, at the ‘edge’ of the network. The data is no longer sent to the cloud or any single data processing center, now it is sent to one of the multiple network nodes that are located close to the sensor or a device generating this data (e.g. in a particular store of a huge retailer or in the office of a logistics company).
The idea of such an architecture goes back to the 1990s when the CDN (content delivery network) was introduced. CDN is a network of nodes that stores static cached media data and is located close to the end-users. Multi-access edge computing enhances the CDN conception by providing those nodes with computational capabilities. This eliminates the necessity to use cloud computing and some experts believe that in the future it will be replaced by edge computing.

Benefits of Edge Computing

After dealing with the edge computing definition, let us highlight its main beneficial features:

Speed

Since the data is transferred to near-by computation resources (servers, data storages, software solutions), it is processed without latency while allowing you to improve the network’s bandwidth.

Security

In the case of dangerous software detection, it is quarantined which helps to eliminate the risk of “infecting” the whole enterprise’s network.

Efficiency

Reducing latency and enhancing bandwidth, edge computing allows real-time data processing, optimization of resource usage, and increasing network efficiency.

Control

Low-latency data processing allows real-time monitoring of equipment/transport/building conditions and safety via sensors and devices.

Edge Computing: Use Cases

Below are a few edge computing examples that show how different industries can benefit from using edge computing architecture to build their network.

Logistics

Edge computing introduces a more reliable way of getting data for effective fleet management. It focuses on enhancing vehicle-to-vehicle communication via sensors and IoT software rather than sending the data to centralized storage or cloud and then returning it back after being processed. The implementation of IoT edge computing solutions to fleet management also allows real-time data transfer even when a vehicle is in the poor connection area.
Such a solution also helps to monitor the transfer of goods across warehouses and stores, analyze stock, and plan future procurement.

Industrial sector

The core mission of edge computing in the industrial sector is empowering IoT solutions with the speed they need to ensure real-time predictive maintenance. The need for stopping a production line may cost a fortune and that is why any enterprise will rather prevent the breakdown than fix it. Edge computing technology allows real-time monitoring of the equipment’s health and notifying if something goes wrong or the maintenance services needed. Along with minimizing the risks of breakdowns, the manufacturing organization can prolong the lifetime of the costly equipment.

Retail

The retail industry also benefits a lot from introducing edge computing technology to the supply chain. With the help of sensors and real-time data processing, retailers can control the storage and transportation conditions of products they get as well as manage their suppliers more effectively.
One more opportunity for retailers here is collecting data from particular stores and transferring it to the ERP system for further analysis or processing it via the closest computational node to provide better services.

Autonomous vehicles

The number of autonomous vehicles in the streets will continue to grow. Since the situation on the road changes each second, it is crucial for vehicles to react immediately in order to ensure safety. Edge computing helps to analyze data fast, cut the response time and correct the route or perform certain actions when it is required. Another challenge it copes with is the growth of data streams: more and more data will be generated by autonomous vehicles and edge computing technology will help to process it as fast as it is needed.

Smart home

A smart home solution usually implies having a voice assistant (like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri) that interacts with the user. To make such a communication effective and pleasant for users, a voice assistant has to provide an immediate response or perform actions right after being asked for, hence, real-time data processing is required. This is where mobile edge computing comes to help.

Blockchain

Blockchain and edge computing can team up for accelerating blockchain operations. Using cloud computing, the data has to travel through the entire network in order to get from one blockchain node to another. Edge computing allows creating server-to-server data flows and minimizing the need for transferring data through the whole network.

Bottom Line

Thus said, edge computing improves the enterprise’s network enhancing bandwidth and response time. There are many more ways to upgrade and optimize your business processes regardless of the industry you work in. Our software development team will help you to find the best of them. Contact us for more details!

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