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The Rise of Edge-Native Applications

Thought Leadership

Edge computing has seen a massive proliferation as businesses from practically all industries move from processing data in the cloud to the edge. This provides many benefits such as faster response times, lower latency, increased security, and more.

Including the edge as part of your application infrastructure allows for greater flexibility and reliability when compared to using the cloud alone. For example, if you are running a mission-critical application via the cloud and you lose connectivity, it is a huge benefit to be able to continue running the application on local edge devices to ensure application availability. However, where organizations looking to move their operations to the edge struggle is when it comes to provisioning new applications, updates, or bug fixes to the massive amount of edge devices in their system.

There is a new breed of application architecture specifically designed to run in the distributed frontier of the edge, solving the pain points typically talked about when utilizing edge computing — queue edge-native applications. Below are the features and benefits, as well as common use-cases for edge-native applications.

What are the Features and Benefits of Edge-Native Applications?

Increases Performance

Going hand in hand with the lower latency provided by edge-native applications, organizations that build their business from the ground up with a focus on edge computing (by using a platform like Vantiq with an edge-native architecture) can realize huge increases in both performance and scalability.

Instead of having to go back to the drawing board when a new edge application or device needs to be implemented into the system, an edge-native development platform allows for the dynamic deployment and movement of resources across the system. Furthermore, the environment must be multi-tenanted (having more than one application running in isolation from one another on an edge node) to service multiple enterprise or customer needs.

Lowers Latency

Speed is everything when a split second can mean huge profits (or losses) for businesses and can even make the difference in human lives being saved. Edge-native applications reduce the distance that information must travel by moving compute power closer to the source, resulting in drastically reduced latency and lowering response times to below the holy grail of 10 milliseconds.

Reduces Data Security & Privacy Risk

Data security and privacy is a huge concern in the information age. Edge-native applications keep data processing local to edge devices, only sending information to the cloud or a central database when an action needs to be taken. This substantially decreases the amount of sensitive information that is being shared across the network at any one time, compared to a cloud-native application that is constantly transmitting data back and forth.

Adds Reliability to the Edge

In the past, when an edge device went down it could spell catastrophe for the entire system without the right tools to quickly remedy the issue. Edge-native applications provide the ability to automatically reroute processing to other edge devices on the network in the event of an outage via local rules designed to increase reliability and avoid data loss. This results in much more resilient edge computing capabilities, especially when compared to a typical cloud-based approach.

Edge-Native Application Use Cases

Drones – As they move through the environment drones equipped with local edge processing capabilities can switch between the node it is communicating with as one moves out of range. This is paramount to enable a seamless and safe journey.

Object Recognition on Camera Sensors – New cameras are coming out with built-in edge processing capabilities allowing object recognition to be run on the cameras themselves. Edge-native applications running on these cameras can filter out sensitive data on the edge without needing to share the raw camera feeds or any output of object/facial recognition with a cloud server, only triggering on a very small subset of important situations of interest.

Emergency Services – A smart city’s emergency services can utilize edge-native applications, allowing for edge devices to share data between departments. An example of this is a traffic monitoring system scanning license plates for stolen vehicles, routing ambulance drivers around congested areas, and identifying crashes as soon as they happen, all at the same time.

Airports – With so many cameras and other IoT devices, an airport is one of the best places to utilize edge computing. Government agencies can utilize edge devices to scan for security threats while airlines use the same devices to efficiently route people to their destination. Edge-native applications allow for multi-tenanted processing, delivering data to multiple different subscribers at the same time.

Brick and Mortar Retail – Brick and mortar retailers can incorporate edge-native applications into their stores to update electronic shelf labels, utilize smart shopping carts as both a point-of-sale system and shopping list route planning, take inventory via object recognition cameras, and integrate immersive technologies such as AR. Edge-native applications are necessary for the large scale of real-time data and low latency requirements of these next-gen connected retail environments.

Going Beyond Edge Computing

Using edge computing technology by itself is not enough, you must be able to rapidly create and test edge-native applications to fully realize the benefits of moving to the edge. Vantiq provides the tools necessary to easily develop, test, deploy, and evolve edge-native applications. Once a Vantiq container is set up on an edge device you can then dynamically implement application logic and state across multiple devices without having to redeploy the underlying infrastructure (like a virtual application layer on top of the edge network).

To learn more about edge-native applications and how Vantiq easily enables their creation and effective use, view the on-demand video of our panel at the Edge Computing Expo where Vantiq and a panel of industry experts will discuss just that.

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