Intelligent Edge Defined and Why It Matters to Businesses
Intelligent Edge. You might have heard this term, but like most of us, all you know is that it’s somehow important (at the moment, at least), but you don’t know why or if you should care. First, this is a concept you should care about if you’re running a business. Second, it’s not going away; it’s going to become more integral to business. And third, this blog will help you wrap your arms around it and why it’s important.
Wikipedia defines Edge Computing as “pushing the frontier of computing applications, data, and services away from centralized nodes to the logical extremes of a network. It enables analytics and data gathering to occur at the source of the data.”
Let’s try again, because it’s the foundation on which the Intelligent Edge is built.
The idea of intelligent edge computing extends the concept of edge computing because the goal is this: as computing expands to more and more devices, you won’t even notice what is and isn’t a computer. The “edge” part refers to devices that are close to where they need to be but are still connected to each other and the cloud. These devices can include PCs, smartphones, cars, toys, drones, refrigerators…the list goes on. The “intelligent” part comes from a device’s ability to use artificial intelligence (AI) to sense what’s going on around it, understand it, and act based upon whatever it senses.
In short, “intelligent edge” refers to the intelligent, connected devices we interact with every day. As the number of connected devices grows, so will the amount of high-value data being generated. That creates an issue of how to handle the data. This is where the “edge” comes in. By processing it at the edge of the cloud, we can optimize the capture, transmission, processing, analysis and storage of huge amounts of data.
So, the intelligent edge is the process where data is analyzed and aggregated at a point close to where it is captured in a network. And it is applicable to all types of scenarios, in all industries, and it provides some significant advantages:
- It allows for faster, smarter business. The intelligent edge enables real-time insights and experiences, delivered by intelligent apps. Combine that with virtually limitless computing power offered by the cloud, and you get a framework for real impact.
- It reduces the amount of data transmitted and stored in the cloud. The amount of data being generated at the edge is growing much faster than the ability for networks to process it. Instead of sending data to the cloud or a remote data center to do the work, endpoints transmit data to an edge computing device that processes or analyzes that data. This minimizes cost and latency, while controlling network bandwidth—and that means significant cost savings in both long-term and real-time access storage.
- It reduces the lag time in data transmission and processing. Edge Computing reduces the lag that occurs between data transmission, processing, and action. Analysis and event processing are also quicker and more cost-effective. In many industries, getting data even a few milliseconds faster can mean the difference between success and failure.
- It reduces the “noise.” Edge computing lets you prioritize data, so you can focus on the data you need to analyze, store, and process, rather than wasting time and resources on superfluous data generated as a by-product of a particular process.
For example, at a recent Microsoft event, Azure IoT Edge, Microsoft’s end-to-end solution for enterprise-grade deployments, was demonstrated in a manufacturing scenario. It was demonstrated that the logic for analyzing factory equipment that would usually occur in the cloud can be moved to a connected device onsite—on the cloud’s edge—reducing the latency associated with the transfer of data between the cloud and the device.
But that’s just scratching the surface.
The intelligent edge is continually expanding the universe of connected systems and devices that gather and analyze data—the systems and devices that are closest to your users, data, or both. That opens the door to intelligent business.
What does Microsoft’s Azure IoT Edge provide? Fully managed service that delivers cloud intelligence locally by deploying and running AI, Azure services, and custom logic directly on cross-platform IoT devices, so you can run your IoT solution securely and at scale – whether in the cloud or offline.
Learn more about Azure IoT Edge.