While no one doubts the power that cloud computing has on our present and future digital needs, it still has basic flaws that are cause for alarm: notably concerns over privacy of data and its ability to handle large-scale, constant computations.
The Internet of Things (IoT) continues growing at an exponential rate. Its market is estimated to reach $457 billion by 2020, a jump of 28.5% from 2016. But concerns still loom about its shortcomings when synced up to the cloud, a problem that has tied edge computing to the IoT.
If your business depends on IoT devices being able to parse data seamlessly in real-time to provide instant analysis for your processes and people, then edge computing is not some hazy future vision, but your solution for today’s problems.
Edge computing does what the cloud can’t for IoT: it reduces latency and gives the opportunity for faster processing for IoT devices that are attempting to operate in real time. Things like the new prototype self-driving cars or sensors in hospital rooms tasked with making decisions as vital signs ebb and flow risk catastrophic events if they are unable to process data instantly without delay.
Here are the three biggest reasons your company should be employing edge computing for IoT right now.
Reduced latency. Sometime this year, IoT devices will surpass cellphones in terms of number of connected devices. That’s pretty staggering for a technology most people had no idea existed five years ago. Having the edge computing device located far closer to the IoT object can drop latency speeds dramatically. Edge computing will also determine each device’s processing needs and adjust accordingly; the entirety of a company’s cloud space does not have to come online for the computations of one small IoT unit.
Upgraded network connections. Edge computing guarantees that cloud outages won’t affect individual devices by limiting interactions with the cloud. Only essential functions will be run through the cloud, which will in turn ease the burden on that environment to perform its own functions. Apps that exist solely in the cloud will have more processing power without having to compete for bandwidth against IoT machines that can successfully exist on the network’s edge.
More cohesive privacy. With new laws like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming online in the near future, data privacy has never been a bigger topic in the digital realm. In its earlier forms, security was a low-grade concern for IoT devices like digital thermostats. But as a legion of microphones, cameras and other personal input devices join the IoT, the threat of data loss or theft becomes more real and more harmful. Edge computing can take a considerable strain off making sure data is secure by performing a number of the data’s required computational steps on the machine itself. The network can then send the data along to the cloud after it has been changed, enhancing both the speed at which it is processed in the cloud and encrypting it to lower the risk of theft.
Author’s note: Established in 1994, Atlantic.Net is a hosting solutions provider, with data centers in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Toronto, London and Orlando. Marty Puranik is the founder, president and CEO.