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What is Edge Computing?

Posted on by Dawna M. Roberts in SecurityMarch 29, 2023

The phone in your hand receives its signal from a nearby network; if it’s a network without edge computing, the smartphone may lag or fail to load. In contrast, the same smartphone may perform perfectly on an edge network. Edge computing is a keystone in modern tech development and implementation; it emphasizes physical location and resource management, resolving the complications caused by old technology.

edge computing

What is Edge Computing?

The "World Wide Web," revealed in 1990, spawned the necessity of connectivity within the previously tech-limited world. For decades, central data models were the best solution for autonomous cities and suburbs; they allowed significant stretches of land to become viable for internet connectivity—hello, Dial-up. Such success culminated in tech advancements, near-universal spread, and unforeseeable ingenuity.

In tech, central data models take on egocentric qualities. Where Earth was once the center of everything, so too were physical Data Centers and the Cloud. All data, applications, and computation would be stored and accessed as needed; devices physically further centralized data sources would face interruptions based on distance. In comparison, devices closer to the centralized data would face complications based on congestion. Users would also experience bandwidth limitations, cybersecurity problems, and reliability issues. Piece by piece, the world’s technological landscape changed; five decades later, we no longer refer to it as the “World Wide Web.” It’s now the “IoT,” or The Internet of Things.

Don't be fooled; the IoT refers to more than the colloquial definition of "the internet." It references all devices with any internet connection. Smartphones and computers are clear examples, but professional equipment, smart cars, refrigerators, and even baby monitors exist. The influence of the IoT spans the world over; in 2021, the estimated active devices within the IoT hit figures over 10 billion, with 127 new devices being added every second. It should be no surprise that society requires better tech to keep up with developments and volume.

What is Edge computing? Centralized data models flow in receiving and sending directions; the Information Super-Highway.Packs of data pile into cars and drive down this highway. Along the way, they run into issues; there are too many other cars; there are limits on how many cars can drive in one lane; the further the destination, the more likely the car will die, along with the dreams of the data inside.

Edge computing seeks to relieve these problems. Edge computing places organizational tollbooths at critical sections of the highway. These junctions are always physically closer to their final destination point, often at the "edge" of a Cloud's direct influence. The information that travels through these tollbooths is more complete, reliable, and comprehensive. An edge computing definition also involves recognizing where computation and analysis happen. In the central models, these events would happen in the Cloud, but these days it’s happening on the edge, closer to home.

Some experts also call edge computing fog computing; others recognize each as a different stage within the broader process. Recognizing all levels of an architecture's map has benefits—like precise solution discourse and resolution—but quickly becomes cumbersome. Many companies overcome predictable information fatigue by collapsing multiple levels under one title, like "Cloud" or "Edge"; in this case, Edge would then refer to all levels of the process done 'beyond' the Cloud. A complete tech map may consist of the following, depending on the industry:

  • Cloud or Data Center - Mass Storage, Internet Service Providers Oversee
  • Cloud Computing - Storage Organization, Data Distribution
  • Fog Computing - Core Edge, Centralized Location
  • Fog Nodes - Preliminary Computing and Tasks
  • Edge Cloud - Aggregation Edge, Regional Impact
  • Edge Gateway - Information Compressed
  • Edge Network - Data Directed to Destinations
  • Edge Computing - Far Edge, Last Tasks
  • Edge Devices - IoT Objects

Edge Computing is Essential for the Future of Tech

edge computing

Edge computing permeates the technology around smart devices and cities. Its ability to be modified and scaled whenever needed will be necessary for the future of tech. Edge computing relieves bottle-necked information from low-bandwidth areas by transferring less information with higher quality relevance. Edge computing enables data to travel further and more reliably within locales, putting physical Edge solutions closer to the Edge device and better information in your hands sooner.

By 2025, three-fourths of all data will be created, processed, archived, and managed within the edge. In 2020, a Statista report measured the edge computing market to be a modest $3 billion value; this report then projected value inflation in the following years. They projected a $12 billion edge computing market by 2028. Those are the smaller projections—the loftier ones claim an edge computing market worth $156 billion by 2030. ROI and revenue projections for edge computing will surge in the upcoming decade.

Edge Devices are Coming; Many are Here Already

Edge devices are already used in businesses and the peripherals of smart cities. Some devices are smart enough to complete all the processing and tasks needed in one physical item. Autonomous operations can happen in a phone, a router, a home, a server, or an office. These same operations are end-to-end encrypted and reinforced—allowing operations to continue even in hostile environments with a poor connection.

Edge devices also have other benefits, with faster-than-ever processing and task completion. Some technology uses edge computation to utilize rapid-response time data; Face-Time calls aren’t the same without real-time data, while autonomous cars require information to make informed decisions on the road. Apart from complete data management, and fortified privacy elements, business owners should also consider cost sensitivity. Every business has complex problems—very few can be solved by starting up a program; not all tasks require the same solution, effort, or scale. Edge computation allows one to find solutions aligned with the company’s budget, scale, and importance.

Edge Computing has More Uses than Improving Function

Edge computation improves more than the mere function of an IoT device. It challenges substandard policies hobbling already integrated architectures. It fosters expeditious data analysis and processing and significantly impacts the sustained ROI of every business and venture it touches. Edge computing is going to be at the forefront of all specialized industries, networks, technology, and more:

  • Manufacturing and material facilities implement software that oversees inventory and production statistics.
  • Agriculture and farming utilize tech that automatically moves and begins irrigation systems or offers insights about animal status.
  • Smart city police squads use edge computing to prioritize city network optimization during emergencies or fulfill green initiatives.
  • Healthcare professionals rely on edge computing for more than research; their medical equipment is life-saving when statistics are essential.
  • Retail business owners rely on edge computing, too, when they require sales projections, creative campaigns, or marketing solutions.

There are unprecedented opportunities for technology at the edge. Its business values alone dramatically increase with the use of tech for new industry niche services; the address lookup technology for ride-shares, for example, must be processed on a nearby network before any interactions can occur. Edge computing will make the future of processing information faster, safer, and more efficient.

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