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Edge computing: making IoT, AI and 5G more intelligent

Roger Billings

Organizations keeping up with the change of technology should become knowledgeable about edge computing

In the realm where Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G coexist, there is quite a bit of anticipation for the extraordinary technologies that might be crafted in the next few years. One facet that is slowly gaining recognition in this territory is edge computing. As more devices are connected to the cloud — and IoT systems progress in a ready-or-not fashion — edge computing will soon become a well-known practice.

Edge Computing Definition

When looking at edge computing, you must first define where the edge is located. The enterprise customer might define the edge as the remote setting where the end customer or IoT device is installed. The mobile network operator defines the edge slightly differently, as anything not in the data center. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) uses the term Multi‑Access Edge Computing (MEC) to describe edge computing. Network operators across the world are starting to deploy MEC within their networks, starting at the Radio Access Network (RAN), and then being deployed closer to the core of the network, based on the use case.

Edge Computing Benefits

Edge computing co-locates computing, storage, and networking functions closer to where the data originates. This reduces the amount of data being sent back and forth between devices and the cloud, saving time and power, conserving bandwidth, and reducing latency. Edge computing will provide additional security for safer transactions and rapid and cost-effective scaling under a common infrastructure. For example, it can cost nearly $4,000 USD per petabyte for long-term cloud storage, and nearly 10 times that amount for real-time access storage. No longer having to store data in the cloud is a huge cost savings for businesses. Smart cities can offer parking solutions tied to video cameras to identify open parking spaces by only transmitting meta data, instead of the whole video stream.

Powering IoT, 5G & AI

Edge computing will help pave the way for IoT, 5G, and AI, according to the Open Fog Consortium, a global coalition of technology industry leaders and academic institutions working to standardize and promote edge computing. IoT isn’t just about new innovative technologies, it’s also generating new business values and powering new business and production processes. Per Gartner, 20.4 billion connected things are expected to be in use by 2020, and according to the 2017 global IoT decision maker survey from International Data Corporation (IDC), an estimated 45 percent of the world’s data will be moved closer to the network edge by the year 2025. Edge computing is the only architecture capable of taking on this amount of machine data.

Because edge computing is a horizontal architecture, it can support multiple industries. Per a report by 451 Research, the largest markets for edge computing will be: energy/utilities, transportation, healthcare, and industrial sectors. It’s clear that edge computing is on track to pick up speed and will play a crucial role in IoT, AI, 5G, and other advanced and connected systems. Edge computing will guarantee the connection of cloud-to-things success and will also drive future business values.

5G Standards Complete

With the 5G standard now complete, edge computing is expected to assist in reaching the requirements of 5G networks and expectations, as well as helping in the LTE Pathway to 5G.  

Edge computing will underpin one of the major benefits of 5G: low latency. To achieve the goal of less than 10 millisecond latency, 5G networks must move processing power closer to the end user. And for future advancements, like autonomous vehicles or augmented reality, extremely low latency is paramount.

The Open Fog Consortium describes several methods and tactics in which edge computing can propel the progression of 5G technology including:

  • Provisioning load balancing
  • Supporting multiple levels of nodes for hierarchical networking
  • Allowing for resource pooling & universal orchestration & management
  • Multiple access modes providing each edge network node with the resource applications it requires
  • Improving reliability, security & resiliency
  • Supporting virtualization, mobile & IoT applications
  • Providing agility with a horizontal platform & supporting all vertical markets
  • Becoming more scalable by moving computation, networking, or storage capabilities across or through levels of hierarchy

Edge computing will help organizations intelligently manage their network edge, ultimately helping the evolution of technologies such as IoT, AI, and 5G in the future.

Cradlepoint & Edge Computing

Cradlepoint offers a software development kit (SDK) for 4G LTE routers and extensibility platform to build and deploy custom applications at the edge of the network. The extensibility platform enables developers to build custom applications and vertical solutions to meet their specific business needs, applications, and network requirements, keeping the network always available, flexible, and agile for a more Elastic EdgeTM.

Cradlepoint & 5G

To prepare your organization for the advanced technologies of 5G, learn how to get on the Pathway to 5G.

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