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Edge computing is fast becoming critical to modern stack design. The dangling financial carrots of reduced costs, higher ROI, and affordable market entry are complemented by performance; reduced latency and bandwidth demand, real-time reporting and advanced security. Limitless applicability and versatility are compelling – what’s not to like about life on the edge?
Edge computing uses machine learning in a simple GPU close to (or at the edge of) the data source – typically an IoT-enabled sensor or camera. The edge is the boundary between physical and digital worlds; the edge computer receives and analyses information generated by the sensor. It interacts selectively, sending only critical data to a data centre for processing, so your network isn’t clogged with irrelevant data you’re paying to process and store.
As business and manufacturing mature into Industry 4.0 it’s important to get clear on where edge computing can give you a competitive edge. The technology itself is not exotic, rare or even particularly costly – but you must partner with the right provider to leverage ROI.
Sensors are the workhorses of IoT and edge computing. They are ideal for harsh or remote environments where humans and manual processes can be replaced; they’re built for long-term reliability regardless of conditions.
Sensor solutions already in action include:
We all expect clean amenities at a shopping centre or service station. Imagine if sensors could track foot traffic and alert staff when maintenance was needed or toilet paper supplies were low? Instead of a scheduled manual check, resources can be optimised for peak efficiency and user experience.
Sensors like these bathroom examples capture a lot of data – irrelevant until it is processed and triggers alert or action. The edge computing module inside the rugged camera housing – analyses and sends just the key data inputs to the cloud for data processing.
Encryption and biometric data that go no further than the source device save all data captured from being processed and stored in data centres. The smartphone in your hand? That’s an edge computing device. Updates and patches are pushed automatically – from a centralised source – but managed locally.
Because the edge exists between the digital and physical worlds, security of your sensor network and edge platform hardware is critical. Hardening each phase against cyberattack, physical attack or component failure is important through all stages of edge computing – from the sensor, through a network (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WAN or others), to data processing and the application layer.
Deploying your enterprise’s data collection and analysis to the edge mitigates some risk around reliance on public cloud providers. Data centres continue to have their place, but burgeoning IoT, edge and blockchain technology make a hybrid cloud mix a smart choice to reduce exposure and stay flexible.
A major advantage of edge computing is greatly reduced latency – which translates to faster decision-making. It’s all about how far information needs to ping for resolution – everything works at the speed of light – and that’s too slow for some applications. Your commercial edge is powered by decision-making closer to the source.
Look for an end-to-end solution that covers the complete IoT suite from design to deployment – and can integrate with your existing network and devices.
Interested in learning more about building your IoT capability? Read more about IoT Platform as a Service.
365mesh offers end-to-end IoT solutions – from design and install of physical sensors and devices, through network and deployment, data processing and an application that delivers visibility and task automation. The glue that holds it all together? Edge computing.
Outcomex, owner and creator of the 365mesh platform is a Cisco Gold Integrator and IoT Specialised. Our team of CCIEs are experts in networking and connectivity. Outcomex is a two-time award winner of Cisco’s Global Partner Innovation Challenge for cutting-edge IoT industry solutions. In 2021, Outcomex was awarded first place for innovation with the TransportDeck industry solution. Contact the 365mesh team to get started with Cisco hardware for your IoT deployment.
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