Now that we have discussed the edge (If you have missed the article, find it here:) and have a basic understanding of it, let’s take a look at the three main advantages.
- Reduction in Latency
Let’s do a simple exercise, pull out your smartphone and say ‘Ok Google’ if you are on android or Press the Home button on your IOS device. Give it a command, as simple as setting an alarm for 5 AM for Tomorrow or to remind to pack lunch at 8 PM tonight. 1…2..3… your task is performed. The lag is because your device took your voice, sent it to the cloud(data centres) to be provessed, received back the task to perform and executed it. If you are a not-so-busy person like me, you might not notice or care much about that small lag as you are so accustomed to it.
At an industrial level, with a plethora of connected sensors and devices, production going on in thousand products per minute, a small lag could lead to the production of multiple erroneous devices, disruption in production or issues with quality control. A very small lag in processing information could lead to losses in thousands if not millions of Euros or disruptions in production and prevent the optimisation of processes.
- Handling Poor Connections
Now, try the above task but after turning off the Wi-fi or Mobile Data. You get one of the responses below.
What if our phones had a local computing unit for voice processing and converting it to tasks? We could use Siri or Google Now to perform activities for us without Internet Access at a much faster rate. At the industrial level, it means increasing reliability. Edge devices can process data locally, update them regularly to the cloud and function independently. Factories operating in remote areas with poor internet connectivity can derive huge benefits out of using edge devices.
- Improved Security
Let’s take the most basic example of handling large amounts of currency notes on a daily basis. Using the cloud is like using the Bank Vaults to store your currency notes. Every time money comes in, you run to the bank to store it and you need to use it, you go to the bank to get it back. The currency notes are very safe in the bank but the transition between the bank and your business unit is the vulnerable part. Edge would mean building a mini-vault in your business unit, carrying out all transactions for a week using the local vault and then using the bank on a Friday to store the surplus cash. The reduced number of transitions from the business unit to the bank decreases the vulnerability of the notes being stolen or being prone to attempted thefts.
Similarly, in cloud computing, data is consistently being sent and received from the machine sensors to the data centres and can lead to vulnerability for hackers and corporate espionage. This could mean spending huge amounts to make sure the transfers are safe and secure with round the clock monitoring. However, if the information was to be locally processed with few updates with the cloud servers, the risk of data breaches can be reduced along with the number of transfers to be secured and monitored, leading to a reduction in costs.
Apart from these, there are multiple other benefits of implementing Edge Computing such as the reduction in connectivity costs, higher business uptime and reduced dependence on expensive data centres which trickle down as a by-product of one or more of the three main advantages explained above.