The Advent of Edge Computing

In today’s world, even coffee machines send data online. However, this isn’t a new concept. The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around since 1999 when Procter & Gamble proposed RFID devices to track products. By 2011, we saw the emergence of applications like Google Nest smart thermostats [1].

Edge Computing

Photo by Leio McLaren from Unsplash

Fast-forward to 2022, and we now have a multitude of solutions that send data to the cloud. These solutions span across homes, vehicles, and industries:

  • In homes, we have gadgets like camera doorbells that keep us informed even when we’re away.
  • In industries, there are measurement and control devices that make intelligent decisions.
  • Vehicles are equipped with video processing systems for event handling and over-the-air updates.

However, implementing these solutions on a large scale introduces complexity. Imagine a doorbell relying on a constant internet connection or a machine making critical decisions based on contextual information. These devices must operate independently for extended periods, receive software updates, and ensure data integrity without constant supervision.

The Power of Edge Computing

The answer lies in making these devices smarter and less dependent on the internet, a concept known as Edge Computing. Edge Computing involves moving data center processing and services closer to data sources [2][3]. Its goals include reducing response times, bandwidth usage, and data loss, while also enhancing reliability for real-time decision-making.

What Sets Edge Computing Apart?

In essence, Edge Computing extends cloud capabilities to IT administrators while minimizing the associated costs, especially when dealing with millions of devices.

Solution Providers

Various solution providers simplify the deployment and management of fleets of edge devices. A few noteworthy options include:

  • Cisco IoT Edge software and hardware [2], offering comprehensive stack solutions.
  • Balena [4], which allows flexibility in choosing hardware and offers a “pay as you go” solution with customizable components.
  • Utilizing a fully open-source solution with Yocto [5] Linux for in-house development.

What’s on the Horizon?

In a future post, we will delve into the technical challenges to consider when designing and implementing impactful solutions without compromising on quality.