The proliferation of the Internet of things (IoT) and data-heavy applications has made edge computing a hot topic. The technology is embraced by diverse segments, such as healthcare providers, IT businesses, city planners, and others.
We will explore what edge computing is, how it works, and some of its benefits. We’ll also discuss some possible future uses that may not be obvious at first glance.
Introduction: Going Over the Edge
Edge computing is a distributed computing technique that involves keeping data computation and storage physically close to the data source, drastically increasing computing speed. The technology’s benefits and possibilities could be immense, especially for companies that use vast amounts of data.
The term ‘edge’ refers to any point where data originates or decisions are made about processing tasks, from cell towers to refrigerators to cars! Data goes through various processes on its way back to a central server before being analyzed by an AI algorithm or sent back out via a connected device, such as a smart speaker or phone.
In a standard edge computing model, there are two main components. The first is the end device, such as cameras, traffic lights, vital signs monitors, or any other device that generates data. The second component is an edge server that stores and processes that data. This server is near where the data was initially generated, as opposed to being a significant distance away, as is ordinarily the case for servers.
This physical proximity of data generation, processing, and storage greatly reduces lag and allows for real-time, near-instantaneous analysis of data as it generates. This stands to benefit numerous industries, such as health care, security, autonomous vehicles, and many others.
However, its enhanced computing power isn’t the only reason many businesses enthusiastically adopt edge computing. Edge computing can also significantly reduce costs associated with bandwidth and data transmission.
Who Benefits Most from Edge Computing?
Businesses and organizations relying on IoT applications widely embracing edge computing as the way of the future. Here are a few employment sectors best suited to benefit from the massive expansion of computing power that an edge setup can bring.
Traffic Management Systems
Traffic management requires the ability to respond to changes in real time. Opening or closing lanes, ensuring communication abilities remain functional during natural disasters or emergencies, syncing stop lights with traffic, and many more tasks require real-time monitoring and instant responses.
Smart Cities and Green Energy
More cities are adopting green tech than ever. Cities can use edge computing to monitor their street lights to save energy and increase public safety. Many cities have solar technology, and edge computing can rotate solar panels in real-time for maximum energy absorption.
Healthcare and Medical Devices
Hospitals can utilize edge computing devices to get much faster readouts from their cardiac monitors and other devices. Edge computing can also be combined with machine learning solutions to respond to health events such as heart attacks more quickly and reliably.
Manufacturing and Industrial Plants
Manufacturing assembly lines are full of IoT devices that need to communicate quickly and accurately to achieve all sorts of tasks. Moreover, industrial plants need to constantly monitor for accidents or machine malfunctions to respond to them instantly, making them perfect candidates for edge computing.
Edge Computing in Healthcare
Let’s take a closer look at the applications and benefits of this powerful technology for healthcare.
Edge computing would allow paramedics to take and upload pictures on their smartphones of the patient’s injuries alongside biometric feedback from medical devices aboard the ambulance.
This data could then be analyzed with an edge device, providing treatment guidance and suggestions to medics in real time. It would also allow the ambulance to communicate more effectively with the ER staff, allowing them to be better prepared to give the treatment the moment the ambulance arrives.
Hospitals are also using edge computing to improve the convenience of their check-in protocols. Patients can now check in using their phones in many hospitals, reducing germ transmission, and saving paper.
Access the Power of Edge Computing with NCS
Edge computing is a distributed computing framework that brings enterprise applications closer to data sources such as IoT devices or local edge servers. We’ve covered what exactly edge computing is and how it can provide value in several industries but highlighted the healthcare industry specifically. If you’re interested in learning more about this technology and want NCS experts to assess your needs for an upcoming project, we offer free consultations. Contact us today.