Why is Edge Computing Necessary?

A view from Schneider Electric™, who are an industry leader in physical infrastructure and software solutions.

Edge computing is necessary to address shortcomings in cloud-based applications and services with respect to performance and regulatory requirements. In short, cloud computing can’t always meet the required demands in terms of response time that critical applications require. Companies that face government regulations regarding where data is stored may also find cloud computing can’t deliver the sort of local storage they need.

It’s an issue because the trend toward digitization to improve efficiency and business performance is fuelling demand for applications that require peak performance, particularly Internet of Things (IoT) applications. IoT applications often require lots of bandwidth, low latency, and reliable performance while meeting regulatory and compliance mandates, making them classic candidates for the edge.

Edge Computing vs Fog Computing

These industry terms have such similar intent that they can be used interchangeably, and the industry is leaning towards Edge Computing as the de facto standard. Cisco coined the phrase Fog Computing, but large players in the space such as GE, HPE, and APC by Schneider Electric have adopted the term Edge Computing.

Edge Computing vs Cloud Computing

Edge computing complements cloud computing in a hybrid IT environment. While cloud computing leverages centralized data centres, edge computing leverages distributed micro data centres at the edge of the network where data is used closer to where it is generated.

How IoT is Driving the Need for Computing at the Edge

The IoT involves collecting data from various sensors and devices and applying algorithms to the data to glean insights that deliver business benefits. Industries ranging from manufacturing, utility distribution, traffic management to retail, medical and even education are making use of the technology to improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, improve security and operations, and enrich the end-user experience, to name a few benefits.

A retailer, for example, may use data from IoT applications to better serve customers, by anticipating what they may want based on past purchases, offering on-the-spot discounts, and improving their own customer service groups. For industrial environments, IoT applications can be used to support preventive maintenance programs by providing the ability to detect when the performance of a machine varies from an established baseline, indicating it’s in need of maintenance.

The list of potential use cases is virtually endless, but they all have one thing in common: collecting lots of data from many sensors and smart devices and using it to drive business improvements.

Many IoT applications rely on cloud-based resources for compute power, data storage and application intelligence that yields business insights. However, it’s often not optimal to send all the data generated by sensors and devices directly to the cloud, for reasons that generally come down to bandwidth, latency and regulatory requirements.

Click to read more from their website: Schneider Electric Edge Computing

Having spent a majority of my career working with and supporting the Corporate CIO Function, I now seek to provide a forum whereby CIOs or IT Directors can learn from the experience of others to address burning Change or Transformation challenges.
Craig Ashmole

Founding Director CCServe