What is Edge Computing?
Growth in business is all about connections. The ability to access data in real-time requires a high-performance network that delivers content instantly. This strategic approach starts at the source of data generation, leveraging analytical information to make choices based on learned experience. By moving the processing component directly to the device that creates the data, Edge Computing eliminates latency and increases efficiency.
Peter Levine says, “Think about a self-driving car, it’s effectively a data center on wheels, and a drone is a data center with wings and a robot is a data center with arms and legs…These devices are processing vast amounts of information and that information needs to be processed in real time” (TechCrunch, 2017). These “smart devices” would not be effective if their data had to travel to the Cloud to be processed before use. Edge Computing pushes intelligent processing to individual devices for more valuable communication and customer satisfaction.
Does that mean Edge Computing will replace Cloud Computing?
The answer is NO for several reasons.
Edge and Cloud: Working Together
First, businesses have massive amounts of data, all of which can’t be stored on devices. Processing on the Edge should be used when there are specific purpose-driven projects with deadlines, but the Cloud can take over to store analytics or when large data volumes require more computing power. Additionally, Edge data has more short-term value, as indicated in the example of a child’s ball rolling out in front of a self-driving car. The car’s sensors detect the ball and the child and automatically apply brakes, but the data is useful only for that moment. If the braking mechanisms had to wait for an action to return from the Cloud, the car might not have stopped in time.
To work together, the Cloud’s role must evolve to fit today’s real-time data environment, essentially becoming the older brother in the relationship. Edge devices will generate local information while the Cloud collects valuable data from all connected devices to learn from experience. When an older brother teaches the younger one how to build a fort, he explains the best method learned from trial and error. In the same way, the Cloud analyzes the actions of the Edge smart devices, alters them to perform better, and delivers these processes back to the now “smarter” devices. Edge and Cloud Computing form a team that encourages continuous data creation and growth.