Edge computing is a means for organisations to process data from the internet of things (IoT), without having to use cloud computing or data centres. Indeed, edge computing allows this data to be processed closer to the device from which it is sourced, accelerating the procedure and allowing data analysis to be conducted in almost real time. This is great for certain industries which need speedy data analysis such as the finance and healthcare sectors.
So how does edge computing work?
The ‘edge’ in edge computing is essentially the technological infrastructure that lies close to the sources of relevant data, such as medical devices or energy generators. They tend to lie away from centralised computing systems such as the cloud. So that data produced by these devices does not have to be pushed all the way through to the cloud, edge computing uses a network of microdata centres that can process information locally, then pushing all of this data to a centralized data centre or cloud storage system. As data is processed locally, this method minimises the backlog of data traffic that would otherwise be making its way to a given centralised repository.
Why is edge computing important, and how will it change things?
Edge computing is great for the industry, as it allows businesses to apply machine learning to their processes, speed up data processing and improve analytics, thus improving performance, lowering maintenance cost, and facilitating opportunities for new business ventures.
While the cloud will still play a fundamental role in industrial IoT processes, edge computing will increase efficiency and increase the capacity to manage huge volumes of data. This is especially important for a digitised world in which volumes of data grow ever larger.
There are a huge number of benefits that edge computing seems to promise, including the management of energy efficiency and maintenance costs, smart manufacturing, and flexible device replacement. In other words, this technology will allow for more accurate predictions for the future and analysis of current trends.
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