While 2021 hasn’t brought a definite end to pandemic-era IT challenges like many hoped, other technology predictions have held steady, largely propelled by the new remote working and hybrid workforce standard. Examples include the continued proliferation of internet of things (IoT) devices, the accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technologies, and an increased interest in software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technologies.
Even as we conquer one technology and discover all the different ways we can bend it to our will, another comes along and the cycle begins anew. For today’s enterprises edge computing represents a great leap forward in data processing.
The demand for wireless access from users has shifted from a convenience to a necessity – which means network performance has become a business-critical requirement. Both workers and consumers have come to expect a reliable Wi-Fi connection, and the absence of one can influence their decision on how long they remain at the establishment.
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.
One of the reasons why IoT is so vulnerable to attacks is the lack of visibility in what is truly happening in your environment. This is where edge computing comes in. Edge computing is about keeping compute proximal to the physical environment where it is collected in the first place, rather than forwarding everything to the cloud (particularly processing and storage). In the same way that the client/server computing model replaced the mainframe, enterprises are beginning to realize the benefit of a distributed computing model when it comes to IoT. Client/server architecture put processing power in physical proximity of the end user. Edge computing provides a local segmented processing network for IoT devices.
If your career centers on enterprise architecture, then you are literally watching history repeat itself in real time. Decades ago, enterprise resources and processing power were concentrated within the mainframe and users had to work in close approximation of it. But then, users from the outer perimeters started demanding more capabilities, which translated into more resources where they were—at the edge. This introduced the PC, which decentralized enterprises and transitioned in the era of the client server model that users loved. Once again, the technology cycle is about to repeat itself.
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What is IoT?
If you have ever heard someone refer to a device as “smart,” then you have been exposed to IoT. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a buzzword thrown around not only the business world, but everyday life as well. It is both “the future” and “the now,” but what exactly is it? According to Network World, “The internet of things, at its simplest level, is a network of smart devices - from refrigerators that warn you when you’re out of milk to industrial sensors – that are connected to the internet so they can share data.”
Wi-Fi has come a long way since it was first introduced. Originally, wireless connectivity was used for basic services such as checking email, but technology has changed and more devices now connect to wireless networks in order to perform their job tasks. With this evolution of the workplace, Wi-Fi has needed to adapt to support the growing number of devices and applications. How can Wi-Fi meet the needs of the modern workforce?
What was once a far-fetched dream, the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile devices, have permeated our lives, personally and professionally. In order to compete, enterprises must acknowledge this shift and implement infrastructure that supports it.