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Edge Computing - where every second counts

Digital Process Automation Digitalization Edge Computing Platform
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Gabriel Breunhölder
by Gabriel Breunhölder

Let us glance into the future: Imagine an autonomous vehicle driving along the road. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a pedestrian steps onto the road. As soon as the countless sensors have registered the pedestrian, every fraction of a second is crucial to stopping the vehicle in time. The data recorded by the sensors must, therefore, be processed immediately.

Who would have liked to have had Cloud in the middle, to which the data must first be forwarded?

For a long time, Central data storage has been the prevailing mantra. Everyone has already heard about the Cloud. Less known, but no less important, is the topic of edge computing. Under the name "Empowered Edge," it ranks sixth in the list of top technology trends of 2020 compiled by Gartner, a leading market research institute, and is even ahead of Cloud technology.

When talking about Empowered Edge, we mean decentralized data processing, in other words, the opposite of a Cloud. The idea behind it is to place applications closer to the user and to process data locally directly. This includes numerous technologies that affect the Internet of Things, such as sensor networks, mobile data acquisition, mobile signature analysis, peer-to-peer, and ad hoc networking.

By 2023, according to Gartner, there could be more than 20 times as many smart devices on the edge of a network as there are today.

What makes this technology so promising for the future?

Thanks to decentralized data processing, the volume of data transferred to central servers is reduced, as are transfer costs and delayed processing. Therefore, edge computing is beneficial for real-time Computing and problem-solving requirements, as in the case of the autonomous vehicle mentioned at the beginning. An additional advantage is that stress on central data centers is lessened or eliminated. This avoids errors and improves data security.

Contractors or collaborators?

As stipulated by Gartner, in the future, we will not be facing a question of deciding for edge and against Cloud computing, but rather, the two models will complement each other. The Cloud will continue to be important as a "learning and training institution" and be the best solution for large and irregular data volumes with its computing power. However, Cloud services will run not only on central servers but also on local servers and edge devices. This trend is being promoted by further development of edge computing using artificial intelligence and the expansion of 5G networks. This will ensure greater stability in communication between centralized and decentralized services.

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