Utilizing the Edge for Connected Devices

The use of the Internet of Things (IoT) to create new levels of productivity and efficiency is exploding, particularly in healthcare settings. These connected devices can do everything from monitoring a patient’s heart rate to determining the perfect timing for adding a particular ingredient in a bread factory.

While the sensors in connected devices allow more data to be collected without any hands-on work, the added traffic on the network to get information back to a server for processing and analysis is encouraging the use of edge computing.

Edge computing allows for the processing and analysis of data to be done closer to the device, equipping IoT devices with real-time information for better responses.

Companies considering edge computing for connected devices should include a few key topics when making decisions about how and when to invest in edge computing:

Defining the use case: Take the time to step back and think about the future of your business. Maybe you are in a growth trajectory or you have a new strategy to support a growing team of remote users. You might be launching a new fleet of connected devices with heavy data collection. If it looks like edge computing might be a good fit for where your business is headed, take the time to create a business plan, complete with IT support. You don’t need to be an expert in edge computing; there are providers that can execute your plan once they know your goals.

Consider your tolerance for latency: One consideration with edge computing decisions is the issue of latency. Latency is the time it takes to transmit a packet across the network, and it is measured in a variety of ways (one-way versus round trip, for instance). You should include latency mitigation measures in your budget so that you aren’t paying more in the long run in terms of lost customers or employees lagging in productivity.

Latency can be impacted by a number of factors in the network. Each element acts as a link in the chain, including the workstation itself, wide area network (WAN) links, the local area network (LAN), and in the case of large enterprises, it may even be limited by the speed of light.

Security: Another topic to include in your planning for edge computing is the approach to security. Where will the data reside? Is it transient or will it be processed at the edge? You’ll need to think about the location of the edge, what will be processed there, and who will have access to it. You’ll need to build in policies and security features that allow you to secure data at the edge.

What can the edge do for you? There are a number of processes that are ideal for edge computing:

·         Network security and firewalls

·         Processing for connected devices

·         Hybrid cloud connectivity

·         Analyzing real-time data for IoT devices

·         Tracking inventory

These are just a few examples of the type of processing that would be ideal for edge computing. To learn more about how an edge solution might benefit your business, contact us at Clarksys.

In Network