A few decades ago, the server took care of all computational tasks while the client handled only input and output. That ended up with a high load on the server-side.
Thus, the client-server model came into existence to sort out the problem. But, it may get overloaded when all clients simultaneously request data from the server. That further leads to network congestion.
Then came cloud computing. As we all know, cloud computing changed the way we access our data. The user can access the data anytime, as all information is available in the cloud.
The advanced technologies and the introduction of the Internet of things (IoT) turned the end devices into smart devices. After the Internet of things (IoT), the computer can sense information without any human intervention. And, these devices generate a huge amount of data. That again increased the load on the server-side drastically.
However, that does not end there. When you transfer a large amount of data to the cloud, that, in turn, causes high latency and even leads to cybersecurity attacks.
To resolve the problem, experts performed the calculation at the edge of the network. That is placing computing resources closer to the user or the device at the edge of the network rather than keeping them in a data center located many miles away like cloud computing.
Thus, the concept of edge computing came up, implementing the processing capacity at the edge of the network. It reduced latency and data amount drastically.
What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing is a distributed computing model that features decentralized processing power, enabling mobile computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. In edge computing, the device itself or a local server processes the data rather than transmitting it to a data center. Thus, you can reduce overusing a centralized server or cloud.
The improved infrastructure uses sensors to gather data, and the edge servers safely process data on-site in real-time. With these advanced processing and storage technology, the network architecture has shifted in the right direction, leaving businesses to worry less about data security.
Furthermore, the current IoT devices can gather, store, and process a vast amount of data than they did before. That allows businesses to integrate and update their networks to relocate their processing functions in the nearest proximity to the data gathered at the network edge. They can access the data and apply it in real-time closer to the intended users.
The data need not return in a circle to the central server for an IoT device to identify the function that has to be executed. Thus, edge computing networks play a crucial role in reducing latency and improving performance.
Technologies that Support Edge Computing:
1) XR (Extended Reality)
XR or Extended Reality is a general term for all immersive technologies. It enables users to collaborate or work in virtualized environments. Adding edge to XR, you will get even more detailed and interactive experiences.
Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) are some immersive technologies available at present. We can expect quite a lot in the future.
All immersive technologies blend the virtual and real-world and offer a fully immersive experience. For instance, we are already into immersive experiences in buying cars, engineering site visits, and employee training. With edge, people can see new views and zoom in for unparalleled granularity.
One can configure robotics to act based on signals and updates at the edge. Edge implementation is used for robot-assisted surgery these days. Though the surgical controls happen directly on the robot, the edge also coordinates with the cloud to perform the desired action. For instance, it identifies which controls to deploy on the robot, what data to use, and what information to transmit back to the cloud.
3) Privacy-Preserving Technology
Privacy-preserving technology includes techniques and hardware that help to analyze data without exposing all of its aspects. Few examples of privacy-preserving technology include secure enclaves, homomorphic compute, federated learning, and differential privacy.
In general, data is encrypted when stored or transmitted. But, privacy-preserving technology protects the data in the computer stage also. Thus, other related businesses and partners can use the data, especially when it needs to occur on edge.
4) Heterogeneous Computing Hardware
Heterogeneous computing hardware is available in all domains, right from high-end servers, high-performance computing machines to low-power embedded devices like mobile phones and tablets.
Heterogeneous hardware processes more data quickly and uses less power. When you use the advanced hardware on edge, it computes efficiently within physical environments and accelerates its response.
Why is Edge Computing the Future of Cloud Computing?
All the above-said technologies emphasize that edge is the future of the cloud.
Edge will play a significant role in many industries in the coming years. Here are some possibilities that may unfold sooner.
1) Enhanced services in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT)
Edge will play a vital role in AI and IoT, expanding both of the fields drastically. In reality, a good deal of computing today already happens on edge, including hospitals, factories, and retail locations. Most of them operate on the most crucial data and power the most critical systems that should function reliably and securely.
Edge can help significantly on these core systems. When you need AI and IoT for your operations, edge also can accompany them to elevate the overall function. However, creating better experiences with edge demands more applications, analytics, and AI.
2) Create Better Partner Ecosystems
Edge allows you to control the data access more closely. You can use edge computing to create varied services that you can use across your business and among partners.
Any business cannot function alone. It will need the support of other companies also. By partnering with them, it can provide better products/services. You can suggest edge computing to your fellow business partners and enhance their business operations as well.
For instance, consider a car. Edge computing is not only beneficial to the manufacturer. But also to the insurance provider, utility and energy companies, and city planning. So, always look for opportunities or create opportunities where the edge can offer new data that will add value to your partners.
These new edge-enabled data and services are available in the cloud, where you can combine them with other enterprise data and applications. You can catalog all data and manage them centrally in the cloud.
3) Achieve milestones in advanced Technologies
As we have already seen in the blog, edge computing will play a vital role in next-generation technologies like robotics, XR, and 5G. These advanced technologies, when combined with edge computing, will scale excellent heights.
The combination will enable new features like voice commands to your car and control remote work through teleoperation. Edge enables the programmability and control you need to bring these advanced features into your business.
However, developing such sophisticated and highly complex use cases demand more centralized compute cycles. For instance, AWS Robomaker enables developers to simulate robotics in the cloud. Plus, edge allows you to validate most of the robotics control system, the AI system, and the fleet management in the simulation.
In a Nutshell
In today’s technology-driven world, right from home appliances, automobiles to industrial equipment, everything leverages AI to interpret commands, analyze data, recognize patterns, and perform functions without human intervention. In short, the world is moving towards intelligent products/services.
Almost all intelligent products derive processing power from a remote cloud or a data center that supplies enough computing power to run the needed algorithms. As edge computing dramatically expands, it will lay a path for various new and valuable services, applications, and use cases.
With edge AI (a combination of AI and edge computing), companies can optimize their network. Thus, they can improvise their business processes and create powerful innovations to transform their business.
When the edge is combined with other advanced technologies like 5G’s higher bandwidth and distributed cloud’s low-latency computation, you can reach unimaginable heights in innovation. In short, edge computing can give life to many things we get to see only in science fiction movies.
So, yes, get ready for the future. With Edge, you can run your organization more efficiently at an improved network speed, creating more incredible innovations and enhancing customer experiences.