Hexaview Technologies

 Edge Computing: Backbone of Industry 4.0

edge computing

As Cloud Computing gradually approached its optimal potential, new technology was required that could complement the capability of the cloud. The answer to this need has come in the form of Edge Computing, which is a new but rapidly developing technology.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is both a concept and a revolution. It’s been more than a decade since the term “Industry 4.0” was coined at the Hanover Industrial Fair. Conceptually, industry 4.0 broadly refers to various 

technological advancements and practices that are being implemented by firms and businesses globally to enhance the efficiency and speed of the production and manufacturing processes. 

It is the latest age of industrialization. This age uses cloud-based digital components to easily access data over the complete chain: From Tier – 3 Vendor to the User. A file being modified by one person is known to the other, and the previous versions are available showing what modification has been performed. Data related to all the processes will be collected and analyzed, and its results will be used to make modifications to the process or the product. But to, note, Industry 4.0 holds the capacity to perform customized product manufacturing than Industry 3.0 more efficiently.

What is Edge Computing, and Why is it important?

Edge computing is a distributed computing process that brings computation and data storage near the location where it is needed to enhance the response times and save bandwidth.

The edge network stands between the cloud and the end-users in edge computing, thereby bringing cloud resources very close to the end-users. This consequently provides tremendous real-time data analysis, reduces latency, low operational cost, high scalability, and improves the quality of services.

Edge computing technology helps to minimize latency, improve privacy, and reduce bandwidth costs in IoT-based scenarios. Edge computing is a new method of processing data that fits our current mobile environment.

To truly understand and appreciate edge computing, let’s take a brief look at how we handled processing data in the early days of the Internet :

Over 20 years ago, Internet speeds were much slower. I can remember it taking over an hour to download a single song to play on my computer. Instead of relying on the Internet, we accomplished intense processing tasks locally on our computers, laptops, servers, etc. It was the most efficient option to get things done using computing technology.

As connections to the Internet grew in speed, so did the desire to find ways to process data efficiently. Instead of having big, expensive devices that sat near users, what if that processing power moved to a centralized location where several users could take advantage?

Cloud computing is born. As a result, more applications and computing power move away from the users to these centralized locations. Although this was an important move, it became apparent that this wasn’t the most efficient option. Speed of processing and using data is still king got the tech industry to streamline cloud-based delivery mechanisms.

This is where edge computing comes into play.

Computing power is now transitioning from the cloud to “the edge.” Netflix, Hulu, and other Over the Top services are good examples of edge computing. Instead of storing shows in one central location (i.e., New York), computing resources are used near the end-user to pull and deliver content.

Will Edge Computing replace Cloud Computing? 

Edge computing augments centralized cloud computing by providing performance boosts in Edge cases where full network transit is inconvenient:

● IoT devices can generate massive volumes of data, most of which can be filtered out and ignored (think, 30 security cameras in a smart home). Edge computing could filter this down to important data to avoid network saturation

● Video-on-demand companies have for years hosted content caches inside the data centers of internet providers to minimize total bandwidth consumption. It’s not hard to imagine Comcast releasing an in-home edge content cache, so your kid can avoid re-using bandwidth when watching The Land Before Time for the 250th time.

● Sometimes institutions require reliability guarantees that network access cannot provide. Imagine a hospital that wants to use cloud computing to power medical imaging technology or robotic surgery. Edge computing can (and will) provide zero-hop connectivity to these devices.

Fundamentally, Cloud Computing provides two often-conflated but independent advantages:

● Independence from hardware maintenance and reliability concerns. Maintaining a data center is very expensive and requires proper BCDR; you need an off-site replica. Cloud computing fixes this.

● Less commonly appreciated — the cloud provides a standard, global API for computing services, which don’t have to be spun up from scratch in each region. The S3 API is the S3 API in Europe, China, the US, and someday Mars — you don’t have to spin it up anywhere or run your S3 back-end.

Certain use-cases can’t take advantage of the first point for the foreseeable future — smart cars, ships, hospitals, pacemakers. Not all hardware can be moved to a data center.

But everybody — and I mean everybody — wants the second point. If a customer can use the Lambda API in an on-premise hardware installation, they will do so. Any sane person would rather use RDS than a homegrown replicated MySQL cluster (pricing concerns aside).

Cloud providers realize this and are providing these services:

●     Amazon Outputs lets customers run AWS on on-premise devices. You can bet that they are targeting the military and hospitals with this technology (as well as grumpy legacy customers)

●     Anthos is — well, Anthos is GCP’s grab-bag of everything hybrid, but the core offering is GKE on-premise. The same deal targets customers who want cloud APIs but don’t want to run in Amazon’s data center (yet).

The future is all cloud-compatible software; nobody will be building software targeted for on-premise installations.

But cloud software won’t all be run in us-east-1: the execution could happen on any network hop between us-east-1 and your living room (or spaceship). Software developers will target common AWS/GCP APIs so their code can run on any layer of the cloud. Edge computing will replace the cloud because the rest of the earth will become an extension of the cloud.

Reasons why Edge Computing is relevant for Industry 4.0

advantages of edge computing

1.    Speed and Latency:  With the availability of a huge amount of data, processing this data becomes an extremely crucial task. Edge computing ensures faster computing these data as it operates closer to the location. 

Let us take the scenario of autonomous cars. Time is an extremely important factor in this case, as most of the data it collects becomes obsolete after a few seconds. Data processing should be fast to improve safety, enhance efficiency, reduce accidents and decrease traffic congestion.

Milliseconds are also essential in the digital factory, where intelligence-driven technology continuously monitors all production process steps to ensure data consistency. 

2.    Security:  With remote work arrangements becoming a preferred choice nowadays. T has led to the usage of company devices outside of the protected firewall perimeter of the corporation.

The security blanket of the on-premise enterprise protects local data when it is evaluated. Moreover, edge computing allows businesses to overcome compliance and data sovereignty concerns and local compliance & privacy restrictions.

3.    Cost Savings: Edge Computing helps you organize your data from a management standpoint. Keeping as much data in your edge locations could reduce the bandwidth needed to link your locations, and bandwidth costs money. Computing on Edge isn’t about doing away with the cloud; optimizing your data flow to minimize operating costs. Moreover, edge computing helps reduce data redundancy to a certain degree. At the very least, data created at the Edge must be temporarily held there. There is a level of redundancy introduced by storing it again after it is sent to the cloud.

4.    Greater Reliability: In IoT, there are some rather remote territories consisting of rural and less-than-ideal internet access situations. Edge devices can store and process the data locally. This has led to an increase in reliability. There is now a variety of prefabricated mini data centers that work in nearly any environment. This means that temporary interruptions will not disrupt smart devices to intermittent connectivity because they are not connected to the cloud. In addition, each website limits the amount of data that can be transmitted at one time.

5.    Scalability: Although it may appear counterintuitive to popular belief, the idea that edge computing provides a scaling benefit makes sense. Most of the time, even with cloud computing infrastructures, data must be routed to a central data center. Even simple upgrades and expansions to specialized data centers are expensive. Moreover, rather than relying on the coordination of efforts from employees at numerous locations, IoT devices can be installed along with their processing and data management capabilities at the Edge in a single implementation.

How will Edge computing change the world?

The whole philosophy behind Edge Computing is to bring computation and processing as close as possible to the same data source. This, in turn, is expected to remove the need for storing vast amounts of data, as it would be used to draw real-time results.
Secondly, Edge Computing stands to resolve another very important issue in time-sensitive workloads and processes: latency. When data is processed near its source, the issues associated with latency will stand resolved.
Lastly, the Edge has an instrumental role in the highly interconnected realm of the Internet of Things (IoT). In the near future, Edge Computing and IoT-equipped devices will make the concept of entire smart cities a reality.
Ultra-fast communication technologies such as 5G will bridge between Edge Computing infrastructures and IoT devices capable of generating and receiving data for its final execution.
However, Edge Computing, IoT, and 5G are emerging technologies due to the lack of proper infrastructure. The pandemic has put technological advancements in high drive mode, and progress worth months and years is being achieved in just weeks.

Conclusion

Analytics has been taken to new heights with cloud computing. The interconnectivity of the cloud-enabled is a better way to capture and analyze data. With the introduction of edge computing, the efficiency is enhanced. As a result, business operations quality has improved a lot. Based on the current state of things, edge computing can be a viable solution for data-driven operations requiring lightning-fast results and flexibility.

Hopefully, this post let you aware about the Edge Computing concept.

Vidhi Sharma

Vidhi Sharma

Vidhi Sharma is an Application Engineer at Hexaview Technologies. She has persistent knowledge of Data Structures, C, C++, Python, ASP.NET, and its frameworks.