Quick Hits

Edge Computing

Edge Computing - How do cloud computing and edge computing relate for IoT applications?

Hello, In the world of the Internet of Things, what is Edge Computing? And, how is it different than Cloud Computing?

In this Quick Hits video you’ll learn how these topics inter-relate, and how these concepts can help make your IoT project successful.

So check this out!

-- Intro --

Hi, I’m Robert Lutz with Systech Corporation.

Today’s topic is really interesting. Cloud Computing and Edge Computing are key aspects of the Internet of Things.

So, how do these things play together, and how can you best utilize this technology for your IoT application?

Let's start with Cloud Computing.

Cloud Computing is the use of a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local computer.

Things you would normally do on a local PC or server, are shifted to a remote server, and accessed via the Internet.

Why is Cloud Computing used? Why not keep things local?

Well, Cloud Computing can be much more economical than local servers.

For example, A single Cloud-based server can be configured to support multiple applications simultaneously. These are called virtual servers, or VM’s.

This is also less expensive to manage and maintain. A single management team can maintain thousands of these servers.

Also, you can scale up or scale down at any time. And you only pay for the exact amount of processing power required at any time.

Another key attribute of Cloud Computing is that you can access the server and data from anywhere. That is anywhere that the Internet exists. But that is both a benefit and a curse. We'll touch on that in a moment.

But, if you are dealing with massive amounts of data or data from multiple remote locations simultaneously, it is hard to beat the benefits of Cloud Computing.

What are some good examples of Cloud Computing in action? Email servers, such as Gmail. Also, popular contact management software such as Salesforce.Com Both these are great examples of Cloud Computing at its best.

-- Insert balloon cartoon --

So, in the world of the Internet of Things, how does Cloud Computing work? How do you get data to and from your application and into the cloud?

I love this cartoon, which shows one method to move your data. But I’m not sure this is very reliable.

In today’s IoT, there are lots of different paths data can take to the Internet.

Primarily solutions use either Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or cellular.

Cellular is a great option, especially as modem and data costs decrease and network speeds increase. It’s perfect for plug-and-play, for quick and easy setup and configuration.

An important aspect of Cloud Computing is that it requires bandwidth. Cloud computing only makes sense as long as there is a fast and reliable connection between the “Things” and the “Cloud”.

Unfortunately, Internet connections can sometimes be unreliable -- Slow, or perhaps down for periods of time.

Because of this, for many IoT applications, you can’t rely on Cloud Computing for real-time activity.

Imagine a remote tank monitoring application. There is a tank in some remote location that contains liquid that is fed from some other source. At some point, the tank approaches capacity, and there is a pump that is used to move the liquid from this tank to another location, lowering the level in the tank.

So, when the tank level reaches capacity, you want the pump to turn on quickly and reliably. Well, if you are relying on Cloud Computing to process the data, there is a real chance that things won’t go well when Internet connectivity is disturbed.

This is where Edge Computing comes into play.

Edge Computing extends the Cloud Computing paradigm to the edge of the network.

So in our example, when the tank reaches capacity, the Edge Computing solution triggers the pump activation locally, and everything works reliably. In fact, there is no need for Internet connectivity at all, in this situation. It would only be needed if you want to monitor the situation remotely, for reporting purposes.

In general, the benefits of Edge Computing include: ● Low latency -- The If-This-Then-That functionality of IoT is executed locally, without communication delay ● Reliability -- As it does not rely on any connectivity to the Internet. ● And Scalability -- As your application grows from hundreds to thousands of sites, the Edge processing power of the application grows naturally at the same pace as the devices. There won’t be any bottlenecks.

I hope this short, Quick Hits video helped you and your IoT application.

This is just one of many Quick Hits topics available at Systech.com. Take a look at other Quick Hits Topics and I am sure you will see one that you’ll find valuable.

For more information check out IoT hardware and software solutions available from Systech Corporation. And leave a note there, if you have ideas for future Quick Hit videos.

Thanks, and have a great day.