Edge computing is a concept of networking that involves bringing computing as close as possible to the source of data to reduce bandwidth, lag, and latency. However, to understand what edge computing is, it’s equally important to understand its origin, uses, benefits, and more. Let’s dive deeper.
The Origin of Edge Computing
The first industrial revolution was a moment of industrial upheaval lasting from 1750 to 1840. This industrial revolution was characterized by the use of steam and water power to mechanize the production and movement of goods.
The second industrial revolution followed closely between 1870 to 1914. During the second industrial revolution, electricity powered mass production. This period was a time of massive scientific innovation, standardization, and mass production.
The third industrial revolution is the digital revolution. This period was earmarked with innovations in science and technology and saw the development of semiconductors, mainframe computers, and the internet.
The fourth industrial revolution started in the early 2000s. It simply refers to the fusion of digital, physical, and biological worlds and the emergence of new forms of digital technology like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, 3-D, blockchain, and quantum physics.
Edge computing falls in the fourth industrial revolution. Cloud computing gave birth to edge computing because the cloud facilitated data storage on centralized cloud servers. Cloud servers are large databases stored and managed by centralized, third-party vendors.
Edge computing refers to running a few processes on the cloud and transferring these processes to local computers and local servers. The purpose of centralizing these computing functions is to reduce bandwidth and latency.
Running applications and processes on remote clouds requires time. That’s because information or computing output has to be sent to the cloud, processed, and then sent back to local computers. This process is not only time-consuming but equally redundant, especially if the person using the computer has a slow internet connection or less bandwidth.
That is where edge computing comes in. Edge computing cuts the time and effort it takes to send computing functions to the cloud and back to local computers. To better understand edge computing, it’s good to look at the following example:
- Consider a building that’s fitted with HD CCTV cameras. These cameras capture raw footage and send raw signals to centralized cloud platforms. Once different raw signals are sent to the cloud, the cloud uses motion-detection software to ensure that only footage containing activities is saved in the database.
What this means is that there’s a significant strain on the building’s internet infrastructure because a significant volume of bandwidth gets consumed by high-volume voltages of footage captured by the CCTV. Additionally, there’s a heavy load on the cloud servers that processes the different signals sent from different CCTVs.
Now imagine that each CCTV has its internal motion sensor computing. Each CCTV will have to only capture images or footage with motion and convey these signals to a centralized database. This would significantly reduce bandwidth strain and cut the time it takes to send these signals to the centralized cloud or database storage. This is what edge computing is and looks like.
Uses of Edge Computing
- Security monitoring: Edge computing can significantly reduce latency and bandwidth used by security cameras and other monitoring systems.
- IoT devices: Smart devices that are linked to the cloud can benefit from running the code themselves rather than simply having to convey signals to the cloud which will, in turn, improve user interactions.
- Self-driving cars: Self-driving cars need to immediately and automatically reach themselves without waiting for instructions from the server.
- Medical monitoring: It’s important for medical monitoring devices to work on their own without waiting for information or instructions from a server.
- Video conferencing: Interactive live videos consume a large volume of bandwidth. So, moving the backend processes closer to the video source will reduce lag and latency.
The Benefits of Edge Computing
We all know that bandwidth and latency cost money and time. So, minimizing server and bandwidth resources will lead to the corresponding cost-cutting. Statista estimates there will be 7.5 million interconnected devices in homes and offices by 2025. Edge computing will cut on computing and processing costs of interconnected devices.
One advantage of moving processes to the edge is reducing latency. There’s a delay anytime a device wants to communicate with a server remotely. In addition, if web users run processes and applications that rely on an external server, that will create delays and latency depending on where these users are located. So, edge computing cuts the processing load and the latency associated with different applications and processes.
Edge computing provides new functionality that wasn’t previously available. For instance, organizations and enterprises can process data in real-time without needing external servers.
One way to optimize new capabilities is to contact Bastionpoint and know how to maximize your processing and computing power while saving costs and improving your performance. Bastionpoint provides fully managed, co-managed, and remote desktop solutions tailored to your enterprise needs.
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