It’s highly probable that you have already noticed the widespread usage of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in modern times. These smart interconnected gadgets, ranging from thermostats, refrigerators, door locks, medical sensors, fitness monitors to surveillance systems, make life more convenient and safer. This technology has been around for quite some time and is now integrated into many aspects of everyday life.
As a substitute, Edge Computing is a (relatively) novel concept in the field, which shares some similarities with IoT yet sets itself apart in other ways.
Discover the commonalities and differences between these two technological advancements.
To put it simply, what does Internet of Things actually mean?
The idea of an embedded system can aid in comprehending the Internet of Things. Even the tiniest devices like thermostats, need an operating system to function. These gizmos possess a restricted amount of internal storage that is permanently attached to the circuit board, which necessitates a lightweight and efficient operating system.
An embedded system can function as a collection of components engineered for a particular intent by utilizing this kind of operating system. Such components generally involve a processor, memory and input/output devices, like controlling a thermostat.
The Internet of Things (IoT) mandates numerous devices to be unified with a network for proper operation and intercommunication. Smart home appliances, like refrigerators, can synchronize grocery lists with smartphones owing to their integrated internet connections. Thermostats like those offered by Nest, necessitate internet connectivity to communicate with mobile devices for remote controlling purpose.
Owing to the importance of these connections, Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets should be outfitted with low latency connectivity, which in turn ensures rapid data transmission and reception. This is especially significant in contexts where IoT devices are implemented for powering vital infrastructure like robots, smart factories, and autonomous vehicles.
Security poses a significant concern for numerous embedded systems. When brimming quantities of data are needed, this can pose a challenge to system upgrades and data processing because of the constrained local storage capacity. Unfortunately, it’s not an unusual occurrence for individuals to overlook the installation of the most recent updates. This is a frequent circumstance because manufacturers and developers of IoT devices frequently cut back on internal storage in a bid to economize. Because of the exorbitant cost of development, numerous manufacturers opt to forgo introducing improvements.
Even though not all embedded gadgets linked to the Internet of Things (IoT) possess a small form factor and single purpose, edge devices are a distinct kind of appliance.
Firstly, let’s tend to another urgent matter.
Edge Computing: Definition and Explanation
At its core, Edge Computing entails handling data in proximity to its origin. To clarify this concept, let’s contemplate a conventional computing approach as a case in point.
Suppose you run a bus service that mandates riders to have a requisite balance on their card prior to boarding. In the conventional scenario, the card data is transmitted over a wireless link to a central hub where processing occurs in a standardised manner. Following the validation of the user’s account and verification of adequate funds, the centralised server will grant an affirmative response to the request. The driver will subsequently permit the rider to board the bus.
If that appliance on the bus necessitates local computation of data and synchronises the resultant data to a remote server, it doesn’t qualify as an Internet of Things (IoT) device. In the IoT landscape, Edge Computing pertains to the employment of a computer situated near the gadget, which interacts with a remote server.
In the context of IoT/Edge Computing, this is how it operates:
Upon scanning their card, the customer gets clearance for access. Owing to the Edge Computing appliance synchronising with the central server and possessing an updated database of information, it rapidly authenticates the user’s account and grants approval for access, enabling them to board the bus.
As no data needs to be transmitted, Edge Computing expedites transaction processing. Nevertheless, the Edge Device requires periodic synchronisation with the central server to guarantee that the stored data is current. This procedure is typically carried out when the device isn’t being utilized. In addition, Edge Computing provides the added advantage of heightened security as local management of data synchronisation is feasible.
In light of the difficulties stemming from an unreliable Internet connection, Edge Computing has gained escalating relevance for establishments and amenities. These appliances constitute a component of the Internet of Things by virtue of their ability to process data in real-time and synchronise it when required.
The hardware prerequisites for IoT Edge Computing appliances are more exacting than those needed for regular IoT devices, necessitating greater internal storage and more potent processors. This is particularly applicable in cases where extensive datasets are involved for specific purposes (such as the bus example). It is crucial that the infrastructure possesses the capacity to facilitate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of user accounts.
The development of IoT devices poses a relatively uncomplicated task when compared to Edge Computing engineering. The operating system necessitates the ability to oversee localised tasks, alongside independent synchronization and processing of data when a device encounters a network connection or arrives at a predetermined location. For both IoT and Edge Computing developers, security is crucial as inadequate security measures may jeopardise user data.
The critical contrast between the Internet of Things (IoT) and Edge Computing is that the former permits real-time local computation of data, followed by synchronisation with a centralised server at an opportune time. This differentiation can occasionally be quite nuanced.
Considering their crucial roles in commerce and society, both IoT and Edge Computing are here to stay. If your enterprise isn’t already involved with IoT and Edge Computing, it’s just a matter of time before it will.