The Internet of Things Is Propelled by Edge Computing

Although edge computing is not yet as widespread as cloud computing, its popularity is increasing. According to industry projections, the market revenue is expected to grow from $2.8 billion in 2023 to a whopping $9 billion in 2024. This growth is largely attributed to the expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is forecasted to grow significantly in the coming years. Edge computing is essential in providing the power required for the IoT.

Edge computing is a technology that allows data processing to be done at the source – at the ‘edge’ of the network – instead of in a remote data centre or cloud. In the context of the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing can help to reduce latency and ensure that the data is processed quickly and securely. This has implications for both businesses and consumers; for instance, companies can benefit from improved data management and the ability to quickly respond to customer needs, while consumers can benefit from increased security and reduced latency. In this article, we will explore edge computing in more detail and discuss how it can benefit companies and consumers.

When Asked, “What Is Edge Computing?”

Edge computing enables data processing to take place closer to the end user and their respective devices, as opposed to cloud computing solutions such as online backup services, which occur remotely. For example, a small business may have previously installed security cameras that sent data to the cloud for analysis and storage purposes. However, with the introduction of edge computing, data processing can now be carried out on-site, enabling faster analysis and real-time alerts.

Edge computing can encompass a variety of devices, such as a laptop used by an employee, the latest smartphone, or even a microwave connected to the internet, according to Network World.

When data is processed at the source, rather than being sent to the cloud for further processing, then edge computing and cloud computing can work together in harmony. Edge computing helps to counteract issues such as slow speeds and costly fees which can be associated with cloud computing. To gain a more in-depth understanding of edge computing, please watch the video below.

Pros and Cons of Edge Computing

Edge computing provides businesses with the opportunity to make cost savings, as they can avoid the need to process large amounts of data at each cloud site. This is beneficial to organisations as it can help to reduce expenditure on cloud services. However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks of edge computing as well as the advantages.

The ability to quickly gather, transfer, analyse and retrieve data with minimal latency is a huge advantage of edge computing. Furthermore, the stability of the connection is also a key factor, as more and more mission-critical infrastructures are embracing edge computing, making this aspect fundamental.

Nevertheless, as the number of devices incorporating edge-computing systems increases, so do the related issues. This could potentially lead to delays in broadcast, as well as an increase in bandwidth costs. Additionally, physical and digital security concerns, along with overly complex and hard-to-manage system configurations, could be other potential drawbacks.

Connected Devices at the Fringe of the Internet

Although the Internet of Things (IoT) relies on cloud computing for data processing, this approach may not be suitable for certain scenarios. For example, in a manufacturing plant, if a sensor records a temperature reading that is abnormally high, the machine would need to be shut down rapidly. As IoT For All have highlighted, this could be quicker if the data does not have to be sent to a centralised cloud server for processing first.

The potential for saving both time and money, which would otherwise have been wasted if a section of the manufacturing line needed to be shut down for repairs or maintenance, is greatly improved due to the increased speed of the process.

Edge technology can be utilised to great effect in a variety of locations, both close to the ‘edge’ of a network, and more remote areas. Research sites can range from subterranean to jungle locations, or even satellite offices of retail and financial companies requiring quick and vital processing capabilities in far-flung regions.

Smart Devices and Networked Edge Applications

Some of the many possible uses of the Internet of Things and edge computing are discussed above. The following are some other applications:

  • Farms. The implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors can be beneficial in monitoring the development of plants and the quality of the soil. Edge computing can be utilised to ascertain if the plants are being supplied with the correct amount of water and nutrients.
  • Self-driving cars. In order to make informed decisions, including those that could be potentially life-saving such as stopping at a pedestrian crossing, autonomous vehicles and trucks employ sensors to collect information about the surrounding traffic conditions and receive feedback from them.
  • Homes. In the modern ‘Smart Home’ environment, the combination of cutting-edge technology and lightning-fast processors enables devices to monitor for any unauthorised intrusion or malfunctioning of the home systems, and immediately alert the homeowner accordingly.
  • Healthcare. Data from patients may be recorded and sent to doctors promptly using mobile apps and wearables.
  • Electricity. Installing sensors on the equipment of power companies allows their maintenance staff to monitor the level of wear and tear, enabling them to identify and rectify small problems before they become more significant and require extensive repairs.

Edge computing has the potential to significantly enhance the performance of a range of applications by decreasing the amount of data that needs to be sent to the cloud, and/or by increasing the speed at which it is processed in the local environment.

Compromised Security

It is essential to ensure the safety of this data, as it is with any other digital data. The more endpoints that have the potential to access an edge computing environment, the higher the propensity for disruption. Cybercriminals are particularly drawn to Internet of Things (IoT) devices as they often have inadequate security protocols. Furthermore, the physical location may not have the same level of security as a cloud hosting provider, thus increasing the risk of interference.

Deloitte has highlighted the complexity and importance of ensuring the physical and cyber security of edge assets. To tackle these challenges, stringent security requirements should be put in place for edge security systems, data should be encrypted, and strong access-control techniques should be employed. In addition, Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms could be used to monitor edge systems and react swiftly to any security issues.

Furthermore, data may be more secure in edge computing systems as they travel a shorter distance for processing. If there is a greater amount of data stored in a localised environment, cloud-based systems may be less attractive to cybercriminals.

The Next Steps

The combination of edge computing and the Internet of Things is a revolutionary development that has the potential to significantly enhance the efficiency, productivity and security of all industries. We should expect to see a rise in the usage and sophistication of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning enabled technologies, such as driverless cars and drones.

The increased speed of information exchange regarding malfunctions and disruptions is likely to lead to greater security of electricity and telecommunications networks. Additionally, this could pave the way for a rise in user-friendly innovations, such as facial recognition technology for boarding aircraft.

It is undeniable that, as technology progresses and develops, current issues will be addressed and many innovative solutions will be created. This will open up a wealth of opportunities for people to explore and exploit.

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