Very often, the best vantage point is the front line. Watching a parade or attending a ball game – you want to be right there at the edge of the crowd, as close as you can be to the center of the action.
The same position can be applied to computing. In many situations the best vantage point of your data is closest to the source – the device – rather than from deep in the data center.
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The edge is where your users are. The edge is where your data is in action, in rest or in use. The edge is where you need to be if you want to achieve scale, maximum performance, minimize cost, and provide security. This matters in manufacturing and for IIoT, where you want minimal latency and faster processing for a more efficient and productive work environment. The ability to act on data near the source will impact every area of industrial operations.
Faster on the Edge
Time is money, and the edge will let you save time and money. Considering you can analyze things as they happen, you can respond faster to any situation. One of the things you get on the edge is speed.
If your Edge devices await on analytics from a data center on the other side of the country or the other side of world – or even the other side of town – there is going to be a delay in the time it takes for the data to travel. It’s even slower if you have connectivity issues or if you are working with devices that rely on high volumes of data. Edge computing decreases latency, which makes it ideal for the time-critical functionalities. The low latency also allows you to innovate at the operational level.
Yes, there are advanced analytics that are enabled by pushing data from edge devices onto centralized data lakes. But a hybrid approach that provides for intelligent edge computing is a huge benefit to unleash proactive and timely interventions. Alerts can be actuated closer to the users by coupling Edge Computing with integrations to local applications. This can lead to a quantum jump in responsiveness of users to rapidly evolving situations.
An Edge in Addressing Cyberthreats
Connected devices are an increasingly favored target of cybercriminals. Most Edge devices of an older lineage were developed without security baked in and there has been a lack of discipline in IT teams to patch or update them with the latest versions of operating systems. This provides Hackers with a fertile ground to exploit these vulnerabilities, which puts not only your data at risk but can result in downtime if malware or other cyber incidents take the system offline.
Edge computing won’t eliminate all cybersecurity concerns, but it will help you address cyberthreats effectively. An enhanced Edge Computing infrastructure allows for proactive monitoring, flagging and blocking of anomalous behaviors. In other words, you have more cops on the beat 24×7 to rapidly assess and respond to security threats.
Edge computing allows enterprises to implement more advanced security best practices more effectively. Security enablers such as encryption and multi-factor authentication and access permissions get enhanced with superior edge computing technologies to assess vulnerabilities as they happen.
Scaling the Edge
Edge Computing is changing manufacturing, making it faster and more intuitive. As factories continue to embrace digital transformation, their systems are going to either have to keep up or become overloaded. Scalability is going to be a challenge with any type of enterprise infrastructure, and the edge helps deliver on scalability and enhance big data analytics capabilities of the data center. A distributed computing and analytics infrastructure is a huge boost to scalability of enterprise systems.
Better Edge Computing should make your big data more manageable. The output of data from the growing number of sensors inside the factory can overwhelm the computing systems already in place and slows down communication with the data center. Again, with a poor connection or low bandwidth, big data could be more of a deterrent than an asset. That’s where edge computing comes into the picture to cut down on the noise and help you focus on the data you need.
Edge computing can improve your manufacturing facility’s efficiency and productivity with faster and more intuitive data processing. As we become more dependent on Edge Computing and Industry 4.0 becomes the norm across manufacturing, you can be sure businesses will want to do more to enhance their competitive ‘edge’.