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Edge Computing

What is Edge Computing?

Edge is the latest buzzword in IT. Following in the wake of other terms such as IoT (Internet of Things) and Cloud. Although this term has been around a few years, newer technologies are helping speed up adoption and interest.

edge computing people working on computers in a modern office

You can think of edge as being literally near the source of data or at the source. Whereas Cloud services, like Office 365 or Gmail, are done at various data centres. Paul Miller at The Verge put it a great way – “In the personal computer era you would ‘install’ software. In the edge computing era, you’ll only use it”. You can read the full article here. Edge was designed to help with bandwidth and latency issues. For example, you run a business from your office and warehouse in rural Wales, you’re broadband is limited to ADSL and all your employees work from Office 365. That is a lot of data going over a limited connection.

Computation done closer to the device, rather than somewhere halfway around the world, results in a huge benefit. This benefit is seen in real-time data and applications performance. Typically, IoT devices receive and send massive amounts of data to the Cloud. Edge can help when there might not be just one device – think a home security system with 1 camera, but several – a large office space with several cameras. Rather than sending a continuous stream of recorded data back to the Cloud, only what is required is sent. Hence, saving bandwidth.

Why is it needed?

We have connected devices; in our offices or in our factories and warehouses. Yet, we still don’t use the data that comes from these devices to make business decisions. IBM (article available here mention a case study by McKinsey & Company which “found that an offshore oil rig generates data from 30,000 sensors – but less than one percent of that data is currently used to make decisions”

If implemented correctly, you can keep up to date on your workloads as well as maintaining privacy.

How does setup vary?

Client devices connect to an edge server or gateway before connecting back to the Cloud. This means faster insights for your business.

5G and Edge

We looked at 5G in a previous post – What is 5G? An uptake of 5G and IoT devices results in increased data volumes. Edge provides a more efficient alternative to sending everything to the cloud or central data centre. As discussed above, data has less of a ‘path’ to travel. Therefore leading to greater data analysis, greater insights and ultimately improved customer experience.

Today, it is all about the customer experience and how they interact with your company. so it may be worth looking into how edge can help your business.

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