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Data Should Go Where It’s Most Effective: The Benefits of Edge Computing

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There is an insurmountable amount of data and events constantly flowing across a modern enterprise. Choosing which data to monitor and act on can be a difficult task for conventional system architectures reliant on a centralized database. To keep up with the speed of business today data must be processed and analyzed where it is most effective, on the edge.

What is Edge Computing?

Edge computing is the processing and analyzing of data closer to (or even on) the sensors/devices that generate the data. This is in contrast to the typical approach of sending everything to a centralized database (usually in the cloud) for analysis.

An example use case of edge computing is a factory. There are many different sensors for the different machines and monitoring equipment on a modern factory floor. In the past, all the data generated would have been pumped into one central database, causing significant issues with latency, scalability, security, and more.

The key here is that not all data is important enough to warrant analysis or action to be taken. By shifting to using edge computing, instead of sending everything, analysis can be done right on the edge node or IoT device to weed through unimportant data. You need to know immediately if your factory equipment is overheating, but don’t need to repeatedly send nominal sensor readings to a centralized database.

What Are the Benefits of Edge Computing?

Increased Data Security & Privacy

One of the major benefits of using edge computing is the increase in privacy of potentially identifiable information and other sensitive data that may be gathered from edge nodes using facial recognition or other modern technologies.

If a child is missing in an IoT edge enabled shopping mall, the cameras can be fed an image of the child’s face. Until the cameras detect the lost child, no data is ever sent back to the system. By only sending data when necessary and discarding the rest, edge computing helps curb some of the data security and privacy concerns surrounding modern technologies.

React to Business Events Immediately, Without Latency

A big problem with sending all data collected from IoT devices to a central database is the massive amount of stress that causes on the server. For hazardous business environments such as an oil rig or even the fast-paced landscape of finance, you need to be able to immediately sense, analyze, and act on mission-critical data. Using edge computing ensures a latency-free environment by sending only relevant data.

Fault-Tolerant

The old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” rings very true when it comes to mission-critical business applications. If all your data is being fed into one central database for storage, analysis, visualization, action, and more, what happens when it inevitably goes down? For many businesses a halt in operations can be catastrophic, leading to lost profits or even the loss of human life.

By distributing your system across many different edge nodes, you take a lot of the risk out of inevitable issues with IoT devices. When one edge computer goes down it doesn’t take the entire system down with it and can be easily pinpointed and repaired.

Highly Scalable

The speed of business and technology is growing exponentially. Many businesses find themselves struggling to keep up with their competition, implementing a new system only to find it is already outdated, growing faster than their technology supports, or even a combination of all three.

Instead of going back to the drawing board every time a new IoT device needs to be implemented, by using edge computing, it’s as simple as defining what data you want to send and connecting it to the main system. This process can be completed ad nauseam as your business and technology grow.

Unlock the True Potential of Edge Computing

Where edge computing really begins to shine and live up to its highest potential is when it’s combined with a real-time application. In the past businesses have relied on databases and looking at historical trends to predict future outcomes. This simply does not cut it in today’s fast-paced world.

Business systems need to be able to respond immediately to situations, bringing in humans when necessary to aid in decision making.

Learn more about how edge computing and real-time applications are a natural fit in our whitepaper Distribution and Federation in Real-Time, Event-Driven Business Applications.

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