Edge computing refers to the processing of data at the edge of a computer network (cloud), closer to the source of data.
In Edge Computing, IoT connects the cloud and the physical world. In other words, data gets processed CLOSER to a user’s device instead of remote processing on Cloud.
Key Benefits of Edge Computing
Faster response time: Power of data storage and computation is distributed and local. No roundtrip to the cloud reduces latency and empowers faster responses. This will help stop critical machine operations from breaking down or hazardous incidents from taking place.
Reliable operations when intermittent connectivity: For most remote assets, monitoring or unreliable internet connectivity regions such as oil wells, farm pumps, solar farms or windmills can be difficult. Edge devices’ ability to locally store and process data ensures no data loss or operational failure in the event of limited internet connectivity.
Security and compliance: Due to edge computing’s technology, A lot of data transfer between devices and cloud is avoidable. It’s possible to filter sensitive information locally and only transmit important data model building information to the cloud. This allows users to build an adequate security and compliance framework that is essential for enterprise security and audits.
Cost-effective solutions: One of the practical concerns around IoT adoption is the upfront cost due to network bandwidth, data storage, and computational power. Edge computing can locally perform a lot of data computations, which allows businesses to decide which services to run locally and which ones to send to the cloud, which reduces the final costs of an overall IoT solution.
Interoperability between legacy and modern devices: Edge devices can act as a communication liaison between legacy and modern machines. This allows legacy industrial machines to connect to modern machines or IoT solutions and provides immediate benefits of capturing insights from legacy or modern machines.
Azure IoT Edge
Microsoft’s cloud helps companies monitor and maintain equipment, provides infinite storage for enterprise and consumers and merges data from multiple points in a network. Microsoft brings further value to its cloud by empowering its edge via Azure IoT Edge.
With Azure IoT Edge Microsoft moves certain processes that would normally occur in the cloud to devices on the edge of its network. Azure IoT Edge is an IoT service built on top of IoT Hub, which is part of Microsoft’s IoT Suite that companies use to manage integrated devices.
Image Credit: Microsoft
Microsoft’s Edge solution runs on Linux and Windows and is facilitated by using the Azure IoT runtime that runs on the devices and manages workflows. A workflow is a set of linked containers that developers can use to create an end-to-end scenario
Microsoft is working with cloud providers to bring services like Machine Learning, Stream Analytics and Azure functions to the Edge. Furthermore, Azure IoT scales from devices as small as Raspberry PI to server grade devices. Microsoft’s Edge computing solution is designed to be OS independent as it is simply a piece of software running on the Edge.
Microsoft also identifies the following as drivers for its edge investments:
- A Multi-device world.
- Artificial intelligence.
- Serverless computing.
Microsoft’s cloud recognizes individual devices on its edge. The Azure data linked via the edge allows Microsoft to improve AI (and Cortana) which is an integral part of its cross-platform edge computing strategy. Microsoft wants to bring intelligence and insights to devices connected to its edge to bring value to customers and consumers.
With so many advantages of edge computing, the edge has an “edge” over the cloud. One may think whether edge computing will replace the cloud, however, that’s unlikely. The cloud has its own advantages such as computation power, storage, and maintenance, which edge computing doesn’t have. Instead, edge computing complements the cloud to create an overall IoT solution.