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IoT and Edge Computing Can Offer Great Benefits

Written by  (Guest Contributor) Mark Hughes - IoT Specialist Mar 12, 2020

Edge computing optimises internet devices and web applications by bringing computing closer to the source of the data, rather than being sent to a central cloud server.

Some of the main benefits of edge computing are reduced latency, reduced costs, increased security and increased business efficiency.

Latency

Consumer demand for low-latency goes beyond the need for quick music downloads and streaming video. Edge computing is essential in addressing potentially disastrous situations, the transfer may usually take less than a second, glitches in the network or an unreliable connection may increase the time required. For some IoT applications, for example, self-driving cars, even a second may be too long.

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Reduced Costs

Think of a security camera that’s monitoring an empty office building. There’s no need to send hours of large video files of an empty building to a cloud server (where you will need to pay to store them). With edge computing, the video could be sent to the cloud only if there is movement detected.

Increased Security

Sending less data through a network increases security. Any time you transmit data there is a risk of it being stolen by rivals or hackers intent on causing you harm.

Business Efficiency

Processing data at the edge of the network can reduce the amount of data that’s sent to a cloud server. By storing only the most relevant information on the cloud, it will be easier and quicker to locate the information your business needs and to perform analysis on this data.

For example, if a movement sensor shows no activity every second, then this information does not need to be sent to the cloud. It only becomes important to transmit this information if the sensor detects movement.

Sectors who benefit

Healthcare

Healthcare is a rapidly growing IoT sector. The NHS are introducing IoT devices all the time and will continue to benefit from their increased usage.

For IoT devices that process such sensitive information, security and data privacy are paramount. By sending as little information as possible to a central cloud server, patients will retain greater control of their personal data and be less exposed to data breaches.

IoT healthcare devices also require as near to instantaneous as possible decision making. For example, if a person’s heart rate monitor registers dangerous readings then that information must be acted on immediately.

By utilising edge computing, these IoT healthcare applications become less dependent on network connectivity. Patients can feel reassured that, if anything is out of the norm, their IoT healthcare application will notify them as soon as possible, no matter where they are or how strong their internet connection is.

Manufacturing

Low latency is crucial for industrial IoT, which is one of the reasons why this sector stands to benefit the most from edge computing.

In a factory setting, if a sensor logs a reading as being too cold, then a machine may need to be shut down immediately. By not sending that data for processing in a central cloud server, action can be taken more quickly.

Energy

By their very nature, energy and environment IoT applications are often deployed in remote locations. For example oil rigs, gas pipelines and wind turbines, all stand to benefit from deploying connected solutions and all tend to be located in remote areas where network connections are not always reliable.

Many energy and environment IoT applications need to be able to respond very quickly to changing conditions but are too remote for strong connections. Edge computing will be extremely useful for IoT applications in this sector. Edge computing will also increase efficiency and reduce cloud server storage costs by only transferring any relevant information.

An IoT application on a oil rig which is collecting data on flow or temperature could process that data at the edge and only transfer it to a central cloud server if it records data that was out of the range of the normal parameters.

The healthcare, industrial IoT, energy and environment sectors will benefit from adopting edge computing networks. As 5G is adopted by more and more businesses, the capabilities and usage of IoT and edge computing technology will increase rapidly. Not only for these sectors but for the Internet of Things as a whole.

More and more data processing will move to the edge, particularly in the IoT world as IoT applications increase in number and collect more data.

This article contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. 

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