Is Edge Computing Really That Important to the Internet of Things?

August 31, 2018 - 3 minutes read

Just as cloud computing is an imperative part of the workflow and analysis of most businesses today, the Internet of Things (IoT) is developing into a cornerstone of most enterprise setups as well.

But unless we ramp up computing power, network connectivity, computation speed, and device reliability could all take a hit. Is edge computing the solution we need? Can it better prepare us for a future where IoT fully envelops every warehouse and distribution center from San Francisco to Tokyo? Let’s find out.

Cutting Down Computation Time

20 years ago, cloud computing was just a grand idea without any stable infrastructure to support it. But with faster Internet speeds, smaller computers, and a bigger consumer market, enterprises have seen first-hand the advantages of early technology adoption.

Edge computing moves analysis from a remote server to your local device. The technology can also take locally-generated data, from RFID tags, barcode scanners, and other tools to inform the data analysis. It may use data stored in the cloud, but edge computing carries out the computation on the device itself, making the result appear almost instantly for employees. As a result, the cloud isn’t really necessary for edge computing to work seamlessly.

That’s great news for the millions of warehouses in rural or remote areas. And it’s a great technology for time-sensitive work, like self-driving cars analyzing their surroundings. If a dog walked onto the street in front of your car, the car should immediately know to stop; there is no time to send data to the cloud for processing in this situation.

Profound Versatility

Although it sounds counterintuitive, edge computing brings better computation speeds over cloud computing. And speed is king today for both consumers and businesses alike.

Edge computing can also be combined with cloud computing to create an enhanced solution that packs a punch with speed and data storage for future use in training algorithms. These cloud-trained algorithms can be used on the edge to make better-informed decisions using weeks or months of data as a reliable source.

And because edge computing doesn’t require an Internet connection, there’s no need for enterprises to fret about outages, poor Internet connections, or keeping operations going in a storm.

A Promising Future

Edge computing sounds like the perfect solution for many problems. Not only would it help with ground-floor problems like mentioned above, but it could also bolster the improvement of economies and bring down the price of goods if used ubiquitously and efficiently.

It’s a perfect tool to integrate into your current IoT setup, and you’ll be well ahead of the competition after using edge computing for even a few weeks. What other applications might edge computing have in supply chains and retail shops worldwide? Let us know in the comments!

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