I’ve seen something remarkable happen over the last couple of years – perhaps you have felt it as well. Simply put, the concept of edge computing has moved out of the science lab and into the real business world.
What proof do I have? Google Trends shows it quite clearly. After bouncing around the basement for the previous few years, beginning in 2017, searches for the term “edge computing” suddenly began arcing up.
In addition to web searches, I have seen a boom in articles written about edge computing over the last year. Google Alerts used to send me one or two a week – now I’m getting five to ten every day. One of the most recent is a great article in the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal entitled How Edge Computing Could Shape the Future of IT. Well worth reading.
So why is edge computing coming out of the lab? At VANTIQ, our clients are telling us about three good reasons:
- It is simply impossible to process all the data that is starting to flow from sensors, business systems, and people in a single, central application or cloud. This so-called ‘event data’ is flowing in continuously and must be processed in real time, in closer proximity to where it is generated. An example would be an edge device connected to hundreds of HVAC units, continuously monitoring and filtering through the incredible amount of data that each unit puts out every minute.
- The next generation of applications that take advantage of this data are finally moving beyond dashboards and simple alerts. They are now able to orchestrate a complex series of actions that allow businesses to truly transform how they operate. From the example above, when an edge device senses an issue with one of the HVAC units, it then begins collaborating with the central, real-time application to locate the nearest qualified technician and then assists her with the repair as the unit continues to put out data about its status. Dashboards and alerts are not enough to deliver real business value.
- Finally, the complexity involved in building, deploying, and managing distributed applications at the edge has finally reached the level of the average developer or system integration – gurus no longer required. For example, applications similar to that described above are in use by a number of VANTIQ clients and – in each case – the solution was brought into the market in a matter of weeks.
For all these reasons (and more), edge computing is no longer at the bleeding edge – it’s now at the leading edge of truly transformative application design and deployment, enabling real-time business operations.