Do you ever wonder how searching through Google, Amazon, or your Apple applications technically and digitally happen? Or how digital technologies work? Well, there is this thing called Cloud computing where a huge amount of data is stored. Technically, cloud computing is the process of storing and computing data over the internet, without direct active access or management from any user. So basically, all of these big companies and applications use cloud computing, which came to everyone’s realizations that as our continuous mind exploration and the world of digital technology broadens, there isn’t much growth in the cloud anymore. This is when Edge Computing came to perception.
Edge Computing, as defined by Wikipedia is “a distributed computing paradigm which brings computation and data storage closer to the location where it is needed, to improve response times and save bandwidth.” In layman’s term, Edge Computing is data computing that’s done near the data source. This makes data transfer, communication, and computing faster by decreasing reliance on the Cloud to do all the work all the time, allowing less processing in the cloud and transferring those processes to local systems such as a user’s IoT device, computers, or to the “Edge”.
The integration of Edge Computing doesn’t actually terminate the usage of Cloud Computing, but creates a faster data communication by letting the cloud come closer to you through Edge Computing.
One significant example of Edge Computing is its usage to Self-driving Cars or Autonomous Vehicles. To successfully call these inventions safe for human use, they must be highly capable to react to various road and traffic factors and essentials in real-time such as people crossing, following road and traffic signs, or detecting, avoiding, and possibly preventing accidents. However, these are only effective through a really fast and reliable source of data computation. It usually takes about 100 milliseconds or so for data to travel from vehicle sensors and be communicated and computed in cloud data centers and back to the vehicle’s smart system; and this delay can actually cause a consequential impact on the supposed appropriate reaction of a vehicle to various road and traffic events. This is when Edge Computing becomes necessarily significant. With Edge Computing, transfer and computation of data will become a lot faster. This means that when an autonomous vehicle is about to pass by a pedestrian lane and there are people crossing, there will be no such delay in processing these data that may cause accidents. Computation of data will be done in a closer local server that is capable of securing a faster and more efficient data transfer back to the vehicle’s system, enough to accurately react on the event.
Benefits of Edge Computing
Given the example above, one of the benefits of Edge Computing is Speed. In Cloud Computing, Edge devices send and receive data to and from the cloud before sending back to appropriate systems. All of the data processing and computations are done in the Cloud, which may take about a maximum of 3 seconds. In Edge Computing, on the other hand, data computation is done in closer locations to the data source which eliminates network latency and produces real-time responses.
Another benefit of Edge Computing is less Bandwidth. One of the essence of Edge Computing is to lessen data transmission to and from the Cloud. Edge Computing plays the biggest and heaviest role in data processing thus sending only a few data to the Cloud and computing most important data in Edge devices, resulting in less data transmission bandwidth required by the whole network communication and/or system.
Security is also one of the notable benefits of Edge Computing. The centralization of Cloud Computing makes it especially vulnerable to cyber attacks and power outages. While using Edge Computing promises users a secured data transmission since it basically breaks down distribution of various data computation to a wide range of data centers and devices which makes disruption quite difficult, if not impossible. One more thing is that since Edge Computing only transmits minimal data to the Cloud, it naturally reduces security breach or attack on data.
Probably the most noteworthy profit of Edge Computing is that it is absolutely Reliable. If Cloud Computing gives us what we expect to be delivered to us, so does Edge Computing, but faster and more secured. Edge Computing processes data at a much closer location to data sources which reduces risks in security flaws and network latency, all while providing accurate output at a speedy rate. Also, since there are so many edge devices, it is impossible to bring down all data transmission at an event, say power outage, since there will be many other close sources of data computation.
Edge Computing has been proven as an effective and reliable data computing paradigm that has been benefiting many industries today. It isn’t just a great alternative to Cloud Computing but is probably THE solution to the minimal flaws occuring in the Cloud. It will always depend on companies if they will try something new, something disruptive, but Edge Computing has proven its effectiveness to many, which makes it entitled to the approval of many users.