The rise of cloud technology enabled organizations to shift computing-power and data storage from private data centers to public cloud environments. The transition to the cloud facilitated vast amounts of data to be accumulated and manipulated in a centralized way; however, widespread use of the Internet of Things (IoT) has created new data processing requirements. It does not make sense to centralize massive amounts of raw data gathered by IoT sensors, so edge computing seeks to fill this need by decentralizing and distributing computing resources.
Essentially, edge computing is the opposite of cloud computing. It allows enterprises to process data at its IoT device origin, instead of sending it to a central location for processing. Then only the refined data is sent to the data center or cloud. Sensors often generate large amounts of data that are only useful locally and for a limited time. With edge computing, organizations can distribute computing resources to data-collecting devices. Data can then be processed when and where it is gathered. Enterprises around the world are using edge computing to more efficiently process and use their collected data.
Changing Operations Needs Drive Edge Computing Adoption
Operations, unlike IT, is usually the driving force behind edge computing implementation. Edge computing is generally introduced because of changing operational needs. As enterprises use more and more IoT devices, their data processing needs change. It becomes more beneficial to process data at its source than send the refined information to the cloud. Organizations take advantage of edge computing to meet specific needs as they arise. Edge computing is an operations-driven, reactive solution, rather than an IT-driven, preemptive change. However, while operations may be responsible for edge computing adoption, IT is usually stuck managing the technology.
Edge Computing Enables Growth and Adds Value
Edge computing plays a background/supporting role, but its importance should not be overlooked. Enterprises are currently focusing on large-scale initiatives like IoT deployment and digital transformation. These massive transformations need edge computing to reach their full potential. Edge Computing allows these initiatives to continue to grow and increase in value. As edge device usage expands, companies can scale-up their edge computing technology to meet data-processing demands.
Enterprises are already using edge computing to improve their data collection and processing. Increased efficiency allows organizations to gain more use and value from the collected data. Edge computing can improve security, location services, asset management, data analytics, and predictive maintenance. It is set to enable the growth and development of emerging technologies. A.I., machine learning, video analytics, and augmented and virtual reality will all benefit from edge computing.
Benefits and Drivers of Edge Computing
- More Efficient Security - As enterprises gather increasing amounts of data, effective security becomes more challenging. Edge computing can improve data protection by processing and securing data at its collection point.
- Enhanced Customer Experiences - Enterprises are maximizing the customer experience to gain an advantage over its competition. Edge computing optimizes cutting-edge, customer-facing technology like advanced navigation and AR/VR.
- Improved Operations - Edge computing can boost application performance, reliability, and operational agility. Reduced data transfers mean lower bandwidth requirements, resulting in lower operating expenses.
Requirements for Successful Edge Computing Implementation
Operations may be the driving force behind edge computing, but IT is usually responsible for its management. Successful utilization of edge computing requires a strong collaboration between departments. Enterprises must develop a strategy for implementation, use, and management. Affected departments should be involved in the process and know their responsibilities. After successful implementation, IT and operations must work together to ensure that the edge computing system continues to meet needs and provide value.
Edge computing has the potential to simplify and improve data protection; however, many organizations fail to develop and use an effective security plan. With edge computing, performance, security, and reliability are all dependent on one another. Without a proper security strategy, companies will fail to maximize edge computing's potential.
Edge computing is changing the way companies process and use their gathered data. Enterprises are utilizing more and more IoT devices, and this shift has created a need for a new type of data processing. Edge computing allows organizations to process and refine gathered data at the source. This solution can help companies improve data protection, operations, and customer experiences. With proper implementation and use, edge computing is scalable and future-proof. Enterprises can continue to use edge computing to support new initiatives and meet changing business goals long after implementation.
Next Steps: Learn the true value Wi-Fi brings to enterprises by reading our tech brief, “Top 5 Roles of Wi-Fi For the Enterprise.”