Edge Computing and the Internet of Things
Centralized cloud computing was a game changer just a few years ago, as fewer huge servers were needed to be purchased by a business. Also, less money was required for IT support and for hardware. However, the cloud didn’t make everything better. There is still a need for edge computing—the act of having at least some computer data storage closer to the location that is used.
One of the important uses for edge computing in 2019 is in Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT puts a lot of information out on networks and on to the cloud. When data is sent to the cloud, it can be hacked easier than if the information kept closer to the source. Also, when a great deal of information is in transit that requires more power, more energy and larger electric bills.
A robot at a parts plant will generate a lot data. Some of that information are circular facts– ensuring the robot is calibrated correctly or tracking how many welding rods it has. However, part of that data is ensuring that the parts it is welding are exactly the right size. All the information the robot generates is vital, but some is vital immediately. That information will be used in edge computing, while the other data will go to the cloud.
Some have worried that the IoC has made hacking of household appliances, vehicles, or other common things both likely to happen, and in some cases more dangerous if it does happen. The concern is that if data travels through networks to the cloud there is a greater opportunity for hacking to occur. Especially something like a refrigerator that may not have the most secure set of safety protocols. Edge computing puts the security data nearby, allowing it to be more robust and less “hackable”. Less data will travel to the cloud.
In edge computing, some common hardware such as routers and base stations will take on a new security role in IoT devices that the devices themselves cannot do. A hack proof refrigerator might be larger if the security software was included in the appliance itself, but now the data can be secured safer at a nearby sight thanks to edge computing.
Another benefit is that devices are more responsive. People have become used to fact responses from their devices and trip from the device, to the cloud, and back again can delay that responsiveness. Edge computing also helps save the power a machine must use while “thinking”, and while providing the necessary security.
Edge computing provides more security and allows the IoC to work as fast as needed, and to remain secure.