Edge computing is a new form of information processing that is in its infancy but that we predict will blossom with the introduction of wide-spread 5G. The high bandwidth 5G affords, combined with the sheer number of connected devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) presents new capabilities that will help businesses reduce costs, increase security and find new revenue streams.
Edge computing is basically the ability to relay computational tasks to many, instead of one processor. By splitting the task over numerous processors, each individual processor only needs to compute a fraction of the overall task and pass the result back to the source. The biggest win is in the speed improvements. This could also reduce costs given the necessity for high-powered processors.
By transitioning from the need to buy one expensive computer as the ‘workhorse’ to spreading the workload between lots of smaller processors throughout the business/network, efficiency savings can be made as well. Somewhat counter-intuitively, businesses that have already started utilising Edge Computing have found that it can reduce the amount of data used and can save network and computing resources for other tasks. Because the data is split into such small packets, networks don’t miss packets of data or receive them in the wrong order, therefore, less data has to be resent resulting in less congestion on the network and less energy demands for servers.
Security services are also exploring the technology. By splitting the task, only small pieces of the information can be hijacked and given the task may be split over thousands of devices, the information gained from that one node will have no value to hackers. Even if one node fails, the network architecture ensures that there are multiple others that can act as redundancy and provides extra network resilience by not relying on one specific processor to handle all the data.
Just like solar farms that have the ability to sell back excess energy to the grid, edge computing allows you to utilise your network of internet connected devices as an outsourceable computational processor. This gives business the option. Whenever their edge computing network is not being maximised, the network could be ‘hired’ by other businesses that require a little extra processing power.
However, the news is not all positive. In the midst of news that Samsung have deleted a twitter post that recommended scanning their internet connected TVs for malware, there are still clear vulnerabilities that need addressing to ensure information is secure. Therefore data security should still be considered when deciding if an Edge Computing solution is best for your business.