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IoT
5 minutes read

Edge Computing for IoT Systems

by Jose Gomez
IoT
5 minutes read

The IoT market is expected to expand considerably in the 2020-2025 period. As more industries adopt this technology, the number of interconnected devices will grow. This has serious implications. For a start, it means that network systems need to be prepared to collect, process, and transfer large amounts of data. Additionally, it also means that user interfaces need to be adapted to facilitate control of these systems. 

One of the most important concepts changing the structure of how IoT networks are built is Edge Computing. This approach lies at the intersection between the cloud and mobile devices. Thus, for app users and companies alike, this is very important. Thanks to this concept, network architects are finding ways to solve inherent problems when massive amounts of data need to be transferred almost instantaneously from point A to point B. This is no minor thing for a significant number of IoT dependent industries that rely on real-time information. 

In this post we discuss what Edge Computing is, its importance for various industries, and how it can help your company compete in this new hyperconnected IoT world. 

What Is Edge Computing?

Normally, IoT devices collect data and transfer it to the cloud where it is later processed. However, this is sometimes inconvenient. On certain occasions, it is crucial that data is processed at the same point where it is collected. Not doing so can result in important delays while the information is being transferred to the cloud, processed, and transferred back to the initial device. Edge devices solve this issue.

Edge computing is often referred to as an IoT network and local server data processing framework where computations occur near the data’s source. It is usually used for enterprise applications but is not limited to it. As more stakeholders adopt IoT strategies, the idea of edge devices becomes more relevant.

Under normal operating conditions, data is sent to the cloud or external servers for processing. However, this approach consumes bandwidth and slows down processes because data has to travel all the way to where it will be processed. Although this might just take a few seconds, some operations cannot afford a delay or increased latency. 

Under an edge framework, processing occurs at the device level, helping reduce latency, speeding up the process on certain occasions, and improving bandwidth availability. This is particularly useful for IoT networks that function under real-time information, like in the pharmaceutical industry or public utilities. It can also have an impact on risk-related activities. Think for example of a self-driving car. It would be very inconvenient for the data to be sent to the cloud in order to be processed. In the meantime, an accident can occur. Having the data being processed directly at the device level solves this problem. 

Another useful example is a factory. A robot assembling different parts might need extreme precision or otherwise, the whole assembly line can become compromised. As in the previous example, it is also convenient in this case to have data processed at the device level. By doing this, precision is increased and real-time operations are safeguarded. This reasoning also applies to one of the most promising use cases of IoT devices: smart cities. 

Fog Computing for Smart Cities

Smart cities are not a thing of the future. They are already here, and Edge Computing is helping them become a reality. By processing large amounts of data directly on devices, smart city networks can operate in a leaner and smarter way. 

This does not mean that cloud computing is eliminated from smart cities. On the contrary, the best IoT systems for smart cities are finding ways to use both cloud and edge technologies to deliver the best possible results. Extending the cloud to where the IoT data is is known as Fog Computing. In other words, this is an extension of the cloud. Smart cities that embrace the principles of Fog Computing will be able to reduce latency and the bandwidth used to transfer large amounts of data. 

This allows for many applications to occur directly on devices, opening up many possibilities for IoT networks. Citizens of smart cities are able to use their mobile phones as edge IoT devices. This transforms their mobile phones into tools to interact with the city in real-time thanks to each device’s computing capability. Keep in mind, however, that the secret to making the most out of smart cities lies in the use of powerful apps. 

Mobile Edge Computing

The secret sauce in Edge Computing is using the right apps. Having the best IoT networks available is of no use if users can’t reap the benefits of them. To do so, it is necessary to build IoT edge devices that are easy to operate and accessible to everyone. Failing to meet user’s expectations may disincentivize the use of IoT technologies. This applies to IoT solutions for smart cities as well as industries in general. 

The best way to guarantee your users an outstanding experience is by pairing up with someone who knows by heart the intricacies of the app development craft. Choosing the right development partner can make a huge difference in terms of your app’s success. 

At Koombea we are experts building IoT apps. We understand the importance of how apps need to be integrated into an existing technology ecosystem while delivering a great User Experience. Most importantly, we understand how IoT app development can be a strategic asset for your project. 

If you want to discuss in further detail how we might be able to help you develop an IoT edge computing app, contact us for a free consultation.