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Edge Computing 101

Edge computing is quickly becoming this year’s biggest buzzword. It’s being thrown around at conferences, mentioned in presentations, and dropped into conversations between industry leaders, but there seems to be minimal understanding as to what the term actually means. Today we unpack what edge computing is and how technology and business leaders can leverage it as part of their larger product and market strategy. 

What it is

In today’s digital, connected landscape businesses need to process and analyze immense amounts of data and turn it into actionable information. Traditionally, companies have relied on a client-server computing model – data travels to a server connected to the cloud to be processed and stored. This traditionally also requires a very reliable internet connection. Edge computing uses connected and non-internet connected devices to process data near where it is collected. So, instead of relaying the data to the cloud, having it being processed there, edge computing processes data and converts it to actionable information locally.  

Edge computing requires less bandwidth by processing and analyzing data where it’s gathered and allows for a more efficient cloud for enterprises, reducing traffic and improving application performance.

Currently, around 10% of enterprise-generated data is created and processed outside of a traditional centralized data center or cloud. By 2022, Gartner predicts this figure will reach 50%. 

Examples

Edge computing is imperative for systems that require higher levels of immediacy. For example, within the IT space, it is massively beneficial for intrusion detection security to operate on the edge in order to better assess and address risks. Think about it this way – if a museum is protecting the Crown jewels and a thief comes sneaking over, an on-site security guard capable of making a snap decision is more effective than a gallery attendant who has to call a supervisor and ask for permission to confront the thief.  


According to a recent Gartner report, data generated and processed by enterprises outside of a traditional data center will increase from less than 10% today to 50% by 2022.

Edge computing is also extremely important for autonomous vehicles – in fact, self-driving cars would not be possible without it. When a car is determining whether to swerve around an object in the road, there is no time to waste transferring data back to a central, far-off server. Having a network in the car itself that is capable of aggregating and processing information instantaneously is imperative.  

If you already have a distributed network of devices, sensors, cameras etc., including edge computing as part of your digital strategy should be a major 2018-2019 initiative. However, this also introduces some new challenges, such as security and version control/management. If you’re interested in taking an even deeper dive into the methodologies behind edge computing, or are considering edge computing for your business, reach out and our team would be happy to connect