For last few decades, we saw a change of local software processing turning to cloud computing. We are not limited to access everything we want from anywhere, but it’s about to go back to decentralized computing. It seems strange to ignore the advantages of cloud networks but to get the most out of the Internet of Things we have to make technology local again.
We can compare this situation to evolution of agricultural industry. People moved from consuming food that was from their local area to goods from every corner of the planet. While technology, transportation, and refrigerators allow it, it is often healthier and economically reasonable to consume local food. We are not talking about ignoring global food access, but we could take advantage of locally grown products when we can.
Defining IoT Edge Computing
There are a lot of definitions, we’ll make it simple — it means processing information where it is generated or as near as we can. For complex IoT systems exclusive cloud computing is clearly not acceptable. Some IoT applications require real-time or almost real-time analysis for quick decision-making without sending it to cloud. If we think about self-driving vehicle, as an IoT example, it has to make decisions immediately. There is no time to send data to a cloud to receive a response with a delay. Moving information processing to devices doesn’t mean that it had to be stored fully on the device. More data will be stored on the device, and less on the cloud server. Going back to the example with self-driving vehicles — travel data could be moved to the cloud, while functionality for decisions will be installed in the vehicle itself. Another great example of such solution is wearable health monitors. They could analyze your heart rate, miles you have walked, hours you slept and give you tips on your health without an internet connection. If you don’t want to send your private health information to the network, you could turn off this option.
Read more on IoT Development Challenges
Why exclusive Cloud Computing is bad in IoT
At this moment, the most of IoT gadgets send gathered information to the cloud ignoring the device capabilities. There are some significant disadvantages in that:
Lack of Security
The fact the information is being sent from the device is a risk by itself. The danger of violating privacy will be always there with the centralized server.
More and more IoT apps require a faster response time. The exchange of information inevitably gets slower when data is stored and processed in the distanced place on the cloud.
Cost of the Cloud
Sending, storing and processing information could be costly, as the price increases with the amount of data.
Experts predict that the world’s internet traffic is increasing by 22% each year. There is no way to satisfy this huge demand for bandwidth. What makes it worse — the majority of information in the cloud has no value for the company and not even used.
Advantages of Internet of Things on the Edge
On-the-spot data storage and processing on the gadget itself (for example IoT Edge gateway) have significant advantages:
Important data shouldn’t be on the cloud if it’s not required there. GDPR compliance would be much easier.
Moving your operations to your IoT device, you eliminate the necessity to be connected to the cloud all the time and boost your processes, making them faster.
Now you send only crucial information to the server or something you want to back up, your costs on cloud computing will definitely go down.
You can scale your IoT system as you wish about any concerns about storage or additional spending.
Right now the top industries for IoT Edge Computing are Drones, Self-Driving Vehicles, Smart Cities and Industrial IoT. But the list of industries disrupted by this combination of technology will grow in the coming years. Peter Levine from Andreessen Horowitz even predicts the end of cloud computing. While this is still questionable, Transparency Market Research writes about the US $13.3 billion value of the global edge computing market by the end of 2022. The Global IoT Decision Maker Survey showed that 43% of IoT executives have a desire to build on edge computing.
So we got the point, that by leveraging edge with clouds we get a more efficient system as a whole. To get the max out of it, we need micro data centers, smart routers, gateways, analytics platforms and many more. Let’s review the main vendors for this.
Microsoft is behind three biggest cloud juggernauts—Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. They are building edge gateways and IoT edge analytics into their products to deal with workload distribution between the edge and cloud. This company has over 300 patents in the industry. Many of them in a content streaming field. Recently opened Azure IoT Edge service is combining edge runtime, cloud-based control interface and container modules.
Amazon delivers Amazon Web Services (AWS) — number of tools to help you get into edge computing. Lambda@Edge for functionality that can respond to events without connecting to the server. AWS CloudFront is for data transmission infrastructure and don’t forget AWS IoT Greengrass.
Dell EMC launched its IoT division in 2017 to invest $1billion in R&D for three next years. Including Gateways and PowerEdge C-Series servers, among other elements. Company’s IoT Labs is developing other projects like Project Nautilus, Project Fire, Project IRIS and Project Worldwide Herd.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) invested $4 billion on their edge network portfolio not so long ago. They offering mini-data centers, smart routers, and edge services. They can provide a wide range of tools for edge computing needs for enterprises.
IBM is developing P2P mesh networking technology for mobile gadgets to communicate without cellular of Wi-Fi connectivity.
Rigado presents Cascade routers and Edge as a Service solution. They also use Ubuntu Snaps for customer IoT edge apps.
Cisco brings to the table routers, access points and many more for edge computing solutions. Their Cisco Industrial Compute Gateway IC3000 boosts information translation and decision-making due to advanced security and management features.
ClearBlade claims to provide 100% uptime core middleware platform for Edge IoT. ClearBlade Edge can run in the cloud or the edge autonomously and in real time. AutoSync technology guarantees up to date insights, and multiple layering for the edge is also available.
Saguna’s leading offering is Saguna Open-RAN makes it possible for clients to develop, deploy, manage and automate edge cloud platforms and edge apps. It provides 5G connectivity over 4G that are popular at the moment. They offer MEC Starter Kit and Ultra Reliable and Low Latency Communication (URLLC).
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