With the arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the predicted surge in the number of connected devices, edge computing (previously labeled as multi-access edge computing or MEC) has become increasingly necessary. Edge computing is a network architecture that brings real-time, high-bandwidth, low-latency access to the edge of the network. By bringing computing power to the network edge and to the end user, latency is decreased and network speed is increased.
Low latency and reliability are requisites for most IoT applications. The term IoT represents all the devices that are connected to the Internet and can communicate with other connected devices through wireless networks and embedded sensors. Research from Siemen indicates that 26 billion of these devices will be in use by 2020.
Living on the Edge: IoT
IoT living on the edge brings forth the following considerations and benefits:
- IBM mentions that the edge not only reduces latency for IoT connectivity, “but potentially ensures that applications are not disrupted in case of limited or intermittent network connectivity.”
- Business Insider predicts “that 5.6 billion IoT devices owned by enterprises and governments will utilize edge computing for data collection and processing in 2020.” With billions of devices sending communication and data to each other, aggregating the data through the edge will help industries analyze and secure the data.
- With edge computing, industries can maintain sensitive data from IoT communications at a localized source and only send non-sensitive information to the cloud for processing.
- Microsoft identifies that edge computing “enables manufacturing equipment and other smart devices to operate without disruption even when they’re offline or Internet connectivity is intermittent. This makes it an ideal computing model for businesses that count on the ability to quickly analyze data in remote locations such as ships, airplanes, and rural areas — for instance, detecting equipment failures even when it’s not connected to the cloud.”