Edge Computing

In this world of emerging technology, there are constant developments and new discoveries on a daily basis. From storing our data on hardware devices to switching to cloud storages, we have come a long way. However, there are some minor drawbacks to cloud computing as well. For example latency. Though edge computing and cloud computing are two different things that can never replace each other, still there are a number of organizations switching to edge computing for faster and better results.

What is edge computing?

We all are securely in the cloud computing era, with our personal devices, accessing various platforms such as Gmail, Dropbox, Office 365 and so on. Devices like Amazon echo, Google Chromecast are all monitored by intelligence present in the cloud. A large percentage of all companies in the world now rely on the infrastructure, hosting, machine learning, and compute power of a very select few cloud providers: Amazon, Google, etc. The advent of edge computing is the realisation of these companies that the cloud era is coming to an end and there is no visible growth left for cloud as of now.

The word edge means literal geographic distribution.  Edge computing is computing done at the edge or at or near the source of data.  Edge computing is preferred because of its speed. Latency is the delay in decision making by systems. Now-a-days organizations value time along with money. For example in an online multiplayer game such as the famous PUBG implements numerous elaborate techniques to mitigate true and perceived delay between you shooting at someone and you knowing, for certain, that you missed.

The main reason of use of edge computing is its speed to store data faster and enabling for more efficient and real time applications that are crucial for companies. Before edge computing, a person scanning a person’s face for facial recognition would require running the algorithm through a cloud-based service which would be time consuming. With edge computing the algorithms can run locally on any local server or gateway or even on the smartphone as well. Thus increasing the power of  the smartphone as well. The process of edge computing differs from cloud as cloud takes time, sometimes up to seconds to rely the information to the centralized data centres, thus delaying the decision-making process. This causes organizations to incur loss sometimes.

When it comes to security, edge might not be more secure than cloud as the devices that handle edge are unknown and might not be that secure than cloud-based systems. More than one devices handle the edge computing unlike cloud which is handled by one trusted device. Since more devices handle the edge computing their requirements for processing power, electricity, and network connectivity is top-notch and can have an impact on the solidity of an edge device. This makes prolixity and failover management crucial for devices that process data at the edge to ensure that data is transferred and processed properly even if one node goes down.

Since carriers are deploying 5G wireless technologies with promising features such as high bandwidth and low latency for various applications. Many carriers are working edge-computing strategies into their 5G deployments in order to offer fast real-time processing, especially for mobile devices, self-driving cars, etc. According to Futuriom “5G could act as a catalyst for edge-computing technologies”.

The big picture is that the companies who do it the best will control even more of your life experiences than they do right now.

When the devices in your home are managed by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and maybe more upcoming companies, you don’t have to worry about security. You don’t have to worry about updates. You don’t have to worry about functionality. You don’t have to worry about capabilities. You’ll just take what you’re given and use it the best and for the best.

In this worst-case world, you wake up in the morning and ask Alexa, Siri Cortana, Assistant what features your corporate despots have pushed to your toaster, dishwasher, car, and phone overnight. In the personal computer era you would “install” software. In the edge computing era, you’ll only use it.

It’s up to the big companies to decide how much control they want to gain over their users’ lives. But, it might also be up to us users to decide if there’s another way to build the future.

Ananya Shree
A B.Tech 3rd year student passionate about exploring new technologies and spreading awareness in her community, she truly believes that every aspect of technology must be thoroughly researched and understood to be used effectively!

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