by Evan Birkhead, Strategic Marketing, Industrial Internet Consortium
Edge computing, fog computing, mist, cloudlets, thing-to-cloud continuum and fog-to-cloud continuum, elasticity, multi-tenancy, data gravity. When it comes to the state of computing infrastructure and operations for the IoT, these are just the tip of the iceberg of terms that have percolated to the front page of today’s tech lexicon.
If you’ve ever wondered what it all means, how it’s all put together and what the benefits are, you’ve come to the right place. Our members, experts across technologies and industries, have published “The Edge Advantage.” In it, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) demystifies edge computing, discusses its benefits, explains how it works and how it is realized and presents its future opportunities and challenges.
In this blog post, I’ll look at how the white paper focuses on clarifying the fundamentals and provides a basis to cut through the hype. It was written to help you gain a multi-dimensional understanding of the potential and inner workings of the next evolutionary phase of this revolutionary technology.
Why We Wrote It
We felt the timing is particularly appropriate to enlighten the market and provide the definitive opus on intelligent edge computing. As developments in diverse technologies such as cloud computing, sensors, networking, storage and AI mature, they are being exploited to enable the ever-expanding universe of connected devices. Revolutionary new applications are being developed that are poised to transform not just commerce and business, but our everyday lives.
The paper introduces the audience to the benefits of edge computing. It lays out the elements that drive the value proposition around the increased responsiveness, flexibility, scale and security that edge computing has the potential to provide.
The paper focuses on describing what the technology is and how it is realized. The various elements that constitute the overall infrastructure, their distributed nature and interaction are clearly described in a simple easy-to-understand manner. Once the nuts-and-bolts are covered, the discussion moves on to elaborate on the social and commercial opportunities that edge computing has now made possible.
A transformational technology does not come without significant challenges. Toward that end, issues of scaling, complexity, interoperability and security are explored in depth.
Why It’s Important
The next industrial revolution is upon us – the Internet of Things (IoT). Edge computing provides the basis that makes this revolution possible.
Many of Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019 wouldn’t be on the list if it weren’t for edge computing. According to Gartner, “technology and thinking will shift to a point where the experience will connect people with hundreds of edge devices.” Through 2028, Gartner expects a steady increase in the embedding of sensor, storage, compute and advanced AI capabilities in edge devices. In general, intelligence will move toward the edge in a variety of endpoint devices, from industrial devices to screens to smartphones to automobile power generators.
More and more devices are getting connected to each other every day. Intelligence and data management now needs to be distributed at both the core and the edges of the infrastructure. The sheer complexity of weaving it all together is intimidating.
How We Demystify
We felt it was important to communicate an understanding of what makes up the IoT infrastructure and how it all fits together. Some key facets of edge that we amplified in the paper:
- Edge computing does not exist in a vacuum; it works alongside a core set of technologies including cloud, networking and data storage in order to delivery upon value of IoT.
- Edge computing provides much of the capability that will determine the success and value that the IoT is poised to deliver.
- Edge computing is inherently scalable, elastic and – with the proper design and execution – provides the level of security needed to guarantee trustworthiness.
Then there is interoperability. At the heart of edge computing, interoperability ties together multiple vendors, devices, protocol and technology stacks. In order to provide this level of interoperability, it is necessary to have a common basis of understanding and a manner to facilitate cooperation and collaboration. Our white paper serves as a starting point to fulfill that need.
Once you read it, we welcome your feedback on how this new paper helps you with your edge computing initiatives and your understanding of its advantages.
The “Edge Computing Advantage” can be downloaded for free from the IIC website.