In the age of digital storage, everything is uploaded to the cloud. When high traffic occurs, the cloud might not always be the best option. To keep up the efficiency of your operation, there’s edge computing. Edge computing refers to generating, collecting, and analyzing data at the site where data is generated. Immediate proper data analyzation can help make the right choice on the brink of a decision-making situation. Any industries can take advantage of edge computing, including logistics, manufacturing, retail, and healthcare.
Similarly, enterprise mobile computers collecting data must be available to conduct edge computing. Mobile computers associated with barcode readers and wireless networking equipment are equipped with features specifically designed to collect data in real time. Standard models can transfer data when inputted, while other configurations have scanning and RFID capabilities.
In the short term, you can generate, collect, and analyze data. In the long term, you will be able to capitalize on the massive amount of data collected to save on down time and predict failures before they happen. It’s important to understand the key difference in cloud vs edge computing, the conditions where edge computing serves as an advantage, and the shift to edge computing.
The Gamechangers: Edge Computing vs. Cloud Storage
What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing, also known as fog computing, is like smart traffic. It is the act of being able to direct data to an edge server (the central data warehouse) to be collected and analyzed in real time without the transmission latency traveling between application to the cloud. It will save the user time and bring them the operational efficiency that is required. It is important to know that edge computing does not replace the cloud, it works in conjunction with it.
Edge computing is ideal for time-sensitive operations, as it enables a user to use the data at hand and have a quicker response time to the situation at hand.
What is Cloud Storage?
Where data is collected, data needs to be stored. The real challenge of today is that larger hard drives or external storage devices are just not cutting it anymore. Cloud Storage provides a remote database for all of your data and information. You can save and retrieve the data from any location that has internet access. Furthermore, Cloud storage is convenient and offers more flexibility.
While the Cloud offers a lot of storage and flexibility, delays in transmitting data can occur when large amounts of data are transmitted at one time. Those delays can cost companies money.
It is important to know that edge computing does not replace the cloud, it works in conjunction with it.
The Challenge: To Increase Efficiency
A common goal across industries is to increase efficiency in daily operations and maximize capital when time is of the essence. After all, time is money. Across many industries, people have used the Cloud to store and analyze data in order to develop business patterns. Cloud computing enables data analysts to tap into organizational data and identify operational and buying patterns. However, even with the necessary data, how can a business increase efficiency in a time crunch if the Cloud fails?
The Solution: Edge Computing
Edge computing brings localized access to the data, and offers the insight you need from IOT devices in order to deliver real-time data without the latency of the Cloud.
How does it work? – With an edge device such as a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or enterprise mobile computer, the data that is in the device must be processed and sent to the Cloud or the Edge (local data warehouse). While it doesn’t sound like the Cloud is the source of the problem, the issue is that the Cloud must handle and process a large amount of data. The distance and time it takes for data to move from a business application to the cloud is relatively long, which leads to slow response times.
With edge computing, you can start from your application and have the data transfer to an Edge server that’s between the Cloud and the user. In turn, the distance is lessened and response times are faster from the Edge server directly back to the user for analyzing and processing data.
An Edge computing server can also brings the added benefit of protecting a company’s sensitive data, as the data is kept close to the network core and it lessens the chance for it to get lost in the cloud.
Companies such as Microsoft and Google have already started moving forward with Edge computing initiatives. The new Edge solutions can extend cloud analytics from Edge devices to artificial intelligence applications in real-time.
Kevin Scott of Microsoft said, “When we take the power of the cloud down to the device – the edge – we provide the ability to respond, reason and act in real time and in areas with limited or no connectivity … it’s still early days, but we’re starting to see how these new capabilities can be applied towards solving critical world challenges.”
Advantages of Edge Computing
- Reduce the cost of data transmission and storage
- Localized data decreases the volume of data traffic
- Offline connectivity and access
- Real-time monitoring
- Capitalize on-floor data with no latency
- Improve security and ensure data integrity
- Optimize operational efficiency
The sooner the data is analyzed after collection, the better. The speed of cloud computing can impact efficiency and delay proactive management.
What does this mean for your business?
With localized data and insights that you need, Edge computing can streamline the flow of traffic from Edge devices and deliver real-time local analytics.
This can give any industry a competitive edge where time is crucial to the streamline of operations. Defects and issues must be spotted quickly otherwise faulty equipment can lead to costly downtime or safety concerns.
Edge computing allows for quicker insights on operations from data collected. Here are some ways that Edge computing can help your operation:
- Diagnose capabilities of equipment on the warehouse floor to allow better remote management
- Predict failures before it happens and produce a trigger to stop it
- Analyze the potential of an equipment malfunction in real time
- Advise managers on the workers who can optimize productivity to handle job scheduling in a time of need
- Immediate alerts and dashboards to avoid any big challenges
The Big Picture
The cloud is still useful. You can use it to process big data and things that are not time critical. With daily challenges and sudden incidents, Edge computing can make a big difference. The Edge allows industries across the supply chain to increase efficiency and productivity as soon as data is received.
Edge Computing Across Industries
Edge computing is being used across various industries. Grocery chains monitor their cold storage products to ensure perishable food can maintain their optimal temperature during transport and storage. Logistic providers use data to track the movement of goods through the warehouse and yards. Retail uses edge computing applications to enhance shopper experience. In healthcare, professionals are able to analyze pulse, footsteps, and sleep patterns with healthcare wearable devices. Consumers wear fitness trackers, smart watches, and pedometers in order to transfer data to an Edge device for doctors and clinical professionals to analyze the data.
The Shift to Edge Computing
Edge computing is built to capitalize on the massive amount of data being created to prevent safety hazards and prevent time and money lost on down-time. Shifting to Edge computing can localize data processing, where any network failure to the Cloud will not affect the business. It will save the user time and bring them the operational efficiency that is required to keep a business moving. Without Edge computing, users will have an elevated risk of lost productivity as well as heavy repair or replacement costs. Any minor problem that is not prevented or solved immediately can threaten productivity and efficiency at a work place.