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What Is Edge Computing? 6 Benefits, 3 Examples

Edge computing is helpful for manufacturers experiencing issues with latency, internet speed, bandwidth availability, security concerns, or high data transfer costs.

If you’re considering upgrading to edge computing devices for any reason, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explain what is edge computing, how it compares and contrasts to cloud computing, and the benefits of edge computing so you’ll know if it’s right for your business.


What Is Edge Computing?

Edge computing is a digital technology that allows data to be transferred, processed, and transmitted among nearby devices without having to go to the central cloud server first.

Known as a distributed computing paradigm, edge computing reduces the latency, or speed, at which data is received, allowing your IIoT devices to make faster decisions, optimize bandwidth, and strengthen security.


Edge Computing vs Cloud Computing

Edge computing and cloud computing are different computing paradigms that serve unique purposes but can also work together.

  • Edge computing requires edge devices that are enabled to communicate data among each other without first returning to a central server.
  • Cloud computing stores data in servers that could be located anywhere from another state to another continent.

Cloud Computing Use Case

Cloud computing is what most modern manufacturing companies use to host their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, as an example. It’s fast and convenient enough for most business processes, including ERP, CRM, accounting systems, SaaS, data analytics, etc.

Use cloud computing for applications with large data storage requirements and when latency isn’t vital.

Edge Computing Use Case

Leadership at a manufacturing company may choose to implement edge computing via smart devices on the factory or warehouse floor so that assembly lines, for example, can make near-instant decisions based on the data being transmitted.

Use edge computing for applications that require low latency, real-time processing, and autonomy, like IoT solutions, augmented reality, and industrial automation.


6 Benefits of Edge Computing

There are many benefits of edge computing that make upgrading your IIoT devices worthwhile. Again, you don’t have to abandon cloud computing – edge computing and cloud computing work together.

These edge computing benefits will help you decide if edge devices are right for your business.

  • Reduced Latency: Edge computing greatly reduces latency, or the speed at which data is transmitted, making it perfect for devices that need to exchange data quickly.
  • Extended Bandwidth: Factories that already transmit large amounts of data are able to free up network bandwidth because data generated, sent and received via edge devices don’t need to travel as far.
  • Advanced Data Security: The local processing of data provided by edge devices reduces opportunities for bad actors to hack your system and steal data.
  • Better Network Connectivity: Especially important for factories in rural areas without access to reliable internet, edge computers reduce the strain on the network.
  • Operational Resilience: If and when there is a network disruption, local processes can continue operating via edge devices, if configured to do so.
  • Real-Time Analytics: If your business moves fast, edge computing helps make sure your equipment can keep up.


3 Edge Computing Examples

Edge computing devices are IIoT devices capable of processing data locally, meaning within the device. Here are 3 examples of edge computing devices.

  1. Edge servers are like cloud servers but they are located within the local network. They process and analyze data and can be configured to filter out irrelevant data and send only what is important to the cloud. This reduces latency and prevents data-overwhelm.


  1. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and robot controllers control and automate industrial machines and processes. Not all PLCs have edge computing capabilities, so be sure to ask your vendor or consultant. As controllers, PLCs with edge computing can make lightning-fast decisions based on feedback from the devices they control.


  1. Cameras, such as those on the shop floor and in visual inspection systems, can analyze images locally to make quick decisions regarding product quality or even to ensure employees are wearing their proper PPE.


Edge Computing in IoT: Right for You?

Understanding the applications of edge computing is just the beginning of Industry 4.0. If you’re still unsure whether or not upgrading to edge computing solutions is right for you, ask our experts at ProphecyIoT today.

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