Businesses today are working with heaps and pools of data in some kind or the other. Turning that data into valuable insights is the most demanding process for organizations to bring better transformation. The Global IP traffic, as estimated by Cisco, is pacing up to a growth of 3.3 zettabytes annually by 2021. This directly means that in the coming years and as technology advances, businesses must find ways to utilize the data best.
Though this data is a significant enabler for businesses, as it piles up in volume and velocity, transmitting it for processing becomes untamable. Innovations in technology, such as edge computing, were hence born.
What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing refers to decentralizing the processing power of networks, bringing them as close to the source (user) as possible. As a result of this arrangement, data doesn’t need to travel across storage networks. By doing so, edge computing reduces the backhaul traffic to the central data repository, pacing up data processing by manifolds.
Why Edge Computing?
The speed at which data generates will never slow down. It’s only going to see an upward trend by the day. As a result, businesses will be heavily relying on technologies like edge computing in the future. An IDC research predicts that in 3 years, 45% of IoT-created data will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to or at the network’s edge. The research also indicates that 6 billion devices will be connected to edge computing solutions.
By bringing in ‘decentralization’ to cloud networks, edge computing has added to the many advantages businesses can reap from data.
For example, disruptions can be limited to only one point in the entire network. Consider that there is a cyberattack that leads to a power outage. With edge computing, you can curb its impact on only the local applications rather than letting it spread through the entire network. That’s just one use case. Every industry can benefit tremendously from edge computing.
How Edge Computing can transform your business?
Below are a few use cases detailing how industrial edge computing can transform business processes with this new-age technology.
1. Improved Customer Experience
When data can be processed right at the source, marketers can configure automation to respond instantly to customer requirements, queries, and other inputs. To top this, with edge computing, immediate data processing has become a possibility. Therefore, onsite reactions to a customer’s action happen even before a customer leaves the site or closes the tab.
Data such as customer’s location, previous onsite interactions, etc., can all be processed in real-time for hyper-personalized exchanges in a flash of light. Data-based interactions’ tremendous speed and relevancy ultimately result in significantly enhanced customer experience.
2. Increased Data Privacy
Businesses today deal not just with high volumes of data but also with how sensitive and prone all this data has become to cyber-attacks. The number and complexity of online crimes have been on an upswing. Businesses state that data privacy and security are the biggest concerns.
Edge computing helps businesses address these security concerns. It does so by increasing the data bandwidth and achieving a low latency. But edge computing also allows companies to become 100% GPR compliant. This means businesses that use edge technology will always work towards fulfilling all data privacy and security norms, even as they change with the industry.
3. Enhanced Augmented Reality Capabilities
Both augmented and virtual reality are highly dependent on their local environment. Most VR tools need to understand and scan the environment around them.
Though data can be stored on the cloud for AR and VR, translating it into vivid and fast experiences can be challenging. Imagine watching an AR clip where the tech is interrupted because data couldn’t be retrieved and processed at the required pace. Edge computing makes sure that never happens.
AR and VR are extensively being deployed in eCommerce too. Brands like Nordstrom have succeeded in creating visually immersive experiences that give shoppers a real-like, in-store experience. However, the solutions behind such technology are rarely looked into. That’s where edge computing lies.
4. Improvement in Autonomous Vehicles
Self-driving cars run on data. But, because they are running in real life, it becomes critical for them to process all the data faster. They should be efficient enough to learn things without contacting the cloud for data processing.
Engines must run even when there is limited or no connectivity to the cloud. Coordinating with other vehicles on the road without asking the cloud or a remote server, estimating weather conditions and analyzing jams requires more innovative processing with solutions like edge computing.
Consider what would happen if an autonomous vehicle on a congested road cannot gauge the nearest approaching vehicle. The probability of accidents would increase due to the lack of efficient data processing.
Besides the above mentioned areas, edge computing is also tremendously leveraged in industrial IoT. We’ll be delving into This aspect of edge computing in detail.
How can Industrial IoT benefit from Edge Computing?
Let’s return to the point in this post where we discussed edge computing ‘decentralizing’ cloud networks. Now, where most people think that cloud and industrial edge computing are two distinct approaches, we say they are not. Edge computing rather enhances cloud computing. But what’s wrong with cloud computing as a standalone approach?
- There are data security threats related to IoT that can’t be handled using a traditional cloud-based approach.
- There are performance issues related to augmented technologies, such as in the case of cloud-based lighting that we mentioned in the smart buildings use case.
- As the amount of data you use, process, and share increases, the cost of the cloud also grows by leaps and bounds.
All these challenges can be met when you bring the best cloud and edge computing to use them together. In cloud computing, data can be generated and stored—for instance, your favourite Netflix series! With industrial edge computing, this data can be developed and processed closest to the source, using machines or robots all across the globe over the world!
While the benefits of edge computing enhanced cloud computing are transparent, businesses still use them in isolation. As per the Automation World survey, more than 50% of the respondents have deployed cloud computing and nearly 45% use IoT edge computing for IoT implementations.
‘Manufacturers’ in the survey respondents report that utilizing these technologies has reaped tremendous benefits in their initial IoT deployments. As per the survey:
- 50% of the companies launching edge/fog or cloud computing IoT initiatives report significant reductions in downtime.
- 38% report improvements to production output
- 37% tout profitability increases
- 30% highlight a decrease in production costs
If standalone, cloud and edge computing can achieve so much, what amazing results can be achieved when they are combined! In fact, this marriage is much needed for futuristic IoT deployments that follow a typical rollout pattern.
The pattern consists of phases in which phase one is concerned with the cloud to host core enterprise analytics applications. The next step is to invest in new-age computing technologies such as intelligent automation systems that bring in personalization, real-time communication, and speed of execution in the entire process.
An example to describe the combined real power cloud and edge computing could be about offshore wind turbines. Consider an offshore wind turbine farm that uses cloud computing for its business operations. The cloud aggregate signals about weather conditions. If edge computing is used alongside, critical adjustments can be made to individual wind turbines, such as automatically fine-tuning turbine speeds for optimal fleet performance.
Edge computing has revolutionized innovative technology, adding speed to operations. This is *the* technology that IoT demands.
As requirements and demands of technology increase, the trend of using cloud computing along with edge computing will get pushed further. Combining cloud and edge computing for IoT implementation spells your betterment.
Think your business needs to get edge computing or cloud computing to its technology stack? Get in touch with the AWS cloud service provider experts at Rapyder today!
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