How edge computing will bring business to the next level

What do embedded sensors, ecommerce sites, social media platforms, and streaming services have in common? They all produce vast volumes of data, much of which travels across the internet.

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What do embedded sensors, ecommerce sites, social media platforms, and streaming services have in common? They all produce vast volumes of data, much of which travels across the internet. In fact, Cisco estimates global IP traffic will grow to 3.3 zettabytes annually by 2021 – up three times compared to internet traffic in 2017.

For many businesses, these data packets represent treasure troves of actionable information, from customers’ buying preferences to new market trends. But as the volume and velocity of data increases, so too does the inefficiency of transmitting all this information to a cloud or data center for processing.

Simply put, the internet isn’t designed to factor in how long any given package will take to reach its destination. To complicate matters, that video of your employee’s new nephew is travelling over the exact same network as business-critical data. The result: network latency, costly network bandwidth, and data storage, security and compliance challenges. That’s especially true in the case of delay-sensitive traffic such as voice and video.

Getting to the source

No wonder businesses are increasingly turning to the edge to solve challenges in cloud infrastructure. Edge data centers work by bringing bandwidth-intensive content closer to the end user, and latency-sensitive applications closer to the data. Types of edge computing vary, including local devices, localized data centers, and regional data centers. But the objective is the same: to place computing power and storage capabilities directly on the edge of the network.

In fact, IDC research predicts in 3 years that 45% of IoT-created data will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to, or at the edge of, the network and over 6 billion devices will be connected to the edge computing solution.

From a technology perspective, edge computing delivers a number of key advantages. By transforming cloud computing into a more distributed computing cloud architecture, disruptions are limited to only one point in the network.

For instance, if a wind storm or cyberattack causes a power outage, its impact would be limited to the edge computing device and the local applications on that device rather than the entire network. And because edge data centers are nearby, companies can achieve higher bandwidth, lower latency, and regulatory compliance around location and data privacy. The result is the same degree of reliability and performance as large data centers.

Edge computing also delivers business benefits to a wide variety of industries. Today’s retailers rely on a 24/7 online presence to deliver superior customer experiences. Edge computing can prevent sites outages and increase availability for optimal site up-time. By ensuring factory floor operators stay connected to plant systems, edge computing can improve a manufacturer’s operational efficiencies. And for healthcare practitioners, edge computing can place computing close to a device, such as a heart-rate monitor, ensuring reliable access to possibly life-saving, health-related data.

The speed at which the world is generating data shows no signs of slowing down. As volumes mount, edge computing is becoming more than an IT necessity; it’s a critical competitive advantage in the future.

To discover how edge computing can deliver technology and business benefits to your organization, visit APC.com