edge computing is a distributed computing Architecture in which hardware and software support data computation and storage at the physical edge of a network, as close as possible to the end user.
Edge computing improves network performance by using the shortest path to transmit data between the sensor or end user and the cloud or data center. Essentially, it brings the cloud or data center as close as possible to the user or device, reducing response time.
Because of the ubiquity of Internet of Things (IoT) Devices, edge computing cases are numerous and far-reaching.
Read more about how edge computing is changing the data management landscape: Micro data centers evolve the edge
Edge Computing Use Cases
Edge computing is relevant in multiple contexts, including but not limited to healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.
Edge computing in agriculture
Indoor farming systems send and receive data from sensors to grow crops. The sensors require edge computing to make smart decisions about crop watering, nutrient density, and optimal harvest times.
Edge Computing in Healthcare
Edge computing has applications in healthcare to track patients’ vital information in real-time and to keep patient data current and secure.
Edge computing brings data processing, analysis and storage closer to a hospital’s local server or a device in the patient’s home. Physicians can be alerted to unusual patterns or changes in patient data and take immediate, potentially life-saving action if necessary.
For example, HCA Healthcare has partnered with Red Hat to develop a real-time solution Sepsis diagnostic solution with edge computing. This solution helped HCA Healthcare reduce the time to diagnose sepsis, a life-threatening reaction to infection, to a day or less.
Patient wearable devices are a prime example of an edge solution as they generate and receive data where the user is located. A heart rate monitor, for example, locally analyzes data about the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, and sleep patterns, keeping physicians updated with real-time patient information.
Edge computing in entertainment
Edge computing comes into play for absolutely every app, but especially for streaming services like Hulu or Netflix.
Edge computing optimized Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) by identifying the best low-latency network path for a user’s Internet traffic and ensuring a widely distributed global cache or data store for servers. This is especially important in the evening at a certain location, when most people come home from work and watch their favorite shows.
An optimized network also helps marketers curate more personalized and interactive customer experiences, such as B. sophisticated chatbots, recommendations and even offline interactions.
ISPs that support users’ work and play needs require performance analytics from edge computing to ensure reliable, fast Internet.
Edge computing in manufacturing
A manufacturing company with plants around the world benefits from edge computing as its leadership can make faster and more accurate business decisions related to optimal operations.
The data that management uses to make these decisions doesn’t have to come from a central cloud. Instead, they can be collected and transmitted near the server of any facility location.
Edge computing also comes into play in particular to ensure safe working conditions for employees. When a machine suddenly shuts down automatically due to an obstacle such as a hand or a shirt sleeve, this is an incident that management wants to know about. Sensors or cameras on this machine part can collect and transmit live data at the edge.
Bringing data processing through IoT devices and sensors closer to manufacturing plants allows management to better monitor production lines and worker safety and anticipate necessary maintenance work.
Edge computing in retail
For retail businesses, especially those engaged in e-commerce, edge computing is becoming particularly important for the collection and transmission of data between retailers and customers.
For online orders, for example, edge computing enables fast and accurate order processing and fulfillment between mobile or web orders and distribution centers closest to buyers.
Edge computing is also behind the magic of selecting a specific store location to check an item’s availability. Additionally, it helps retail businesses generate more accurate sales forecasts to better prepare for seasonal fluctuations in the store.
Edge computing in the energy sector
The oil and energy industry has relied on collecting and sending data to a remote data center. This prevented timely resolution of problems related to oil line pressure or electrical conductivity due to the lag time between a critical incident and its resolution.
Edge computing has accelerated the identification and resolution of technical or security issues that arise in the energy sector, as it provides real-time information from IoT sensors in drilling rigs or power plants.
In general, edge computing helps organizations with multiple physical locations improve their energy consumption management. IoT devices and sensors connected to an edge platform help users:
- Track energy consumption.
- Conduct real-time analysis of consumption.
- Adjust or reduce heating, cooling and lighting in different locations depending on the time of day.
Edge computing in telecommunications
Edge computing has a much longer reach than Wi-Fi, allowing for broader and more scalable connectivity. For this reason, edge computing is deployed in 5G mobile communications networks to provide fast app experiences and cache content for local users. This essentially allows user traffic to bypass an infrastructure backbone.
Although broader implementation of public 5G networks are emerging, edge computing is contributing to the current surge Private Cellular Networks (PCNs). Telcos and other companies are investing heavily in 5G networks to connect IoT devices to edge computing facilities. In fact, the 5G market is predicted to be an experience CAGR of 72% and are valued at nearly $250 billion USD by the year 2028.
In recent news, Deutsche Telekom is a partner of Google Cloud bring cloud services Closer to Deutsche Telekom’s lead, piloting the 5G service in Austria and starting other joint projects.
Edge computing in transportation
Self-driving vehicles, or really any mode of transportation that works with geolocation data, use edge computing.
An autonomous vehicle, for example, constantly collects and transmits information about weather, traffic and road conditions, as well as several other data points. Such a vehicle requires a lot of computing power to send, receive, collect and analyze information as the vehicle moves in order to make the right decisions.
Edge computing ensures an optimal end-user experience for mobile transportation apps like Uber or Lyft. Drivers’ vehicles are equipped with geolocation devices that stream data live to the app, allowing end-users to choose the fastest journey. Also, end users can track the location of their ride.
Vehicles, whether self-driving or not, need constant connectivity. Edge computing enables fast, low-latency communication between these vehicles and data centers.
Edge Computing Benefits
Edge computing benefits businesses in several ways:
- Expanded product and service offering and reach.
- Better and more diverse ways to serve customers.
- Extensive data storage capability.
- compliance by data sovereignty and security.
- Improved security as data is distributed across the network instead of in one central location or only the most sensitive data is sent to the cloud.
- Sharper real-time monitoring.
- Reduced raw data transmission costs, especially in areas with high cellular rates.
- Improved network performance.
- Reduced network loads through processing at the edge.
- Greater bandwidth capacity over a larger geographic area, resulting in lower bandwidth usage at a given edge location.
- More reliability, fewer network interruptions.
- Faster data processing.
- Higher end-user satisfaction.
Read more about tips to keep the Edge safe: Best practices for securing edge networks
Edge computing is here to stay
Edge computing is on the way to widespread adoption. And while it’s growing in popularity, that doesn’t mean the end of cloud services. Cloud and edge computing are allies in providing businesses with scalable yet efficient connectivity and secure data transmission and storage.
Read more about edge computing and other data center trends: Data center technology trends for 2022
gardener estimates that the global enterprise edge computing market will grow to US$19 billion in 2024, at a CAGR of nearly 14%. Gartner also predicts that by 2025 75% of enterprise-generated data is processed outside of the traditional centralized cloud and data center.
The boom in edge computing adoption and usage is attributed to the parallel growth of IoT edge devices. Edge computing keeps device and network performance at their peak, helping businesses save money on expensive cloud computing. However, edge and cloud computing will continue to go well together. While the cloud enables heavy computing, the edge offloads localized tasks to consume fewer resources.
Continue reading: Top 6 Edge Computing Companies of 2022