Is the edge eating the cloud?
Nico Steyn, CEO IoT.nxt thinks so. “I believe that the current IoT model is constrained by the network and will not work because it’s not sustainable. If you look at it, you’re talking about trillions of sensors being deployed – there is absolutely no way that the network will be able to handle it. In some cases 99% of the data doesn’t need to come into the cloud because it’s benign. It’s just data that’s being generated that’s not telling us anything other than that the ‘thing’ is within threshold. So the model is evolving and I see a massive amount of intelligence moving closer to the edge. Pushing all sensor data to the cloud for it to be assimilated and processed and then pushing it into the edge device to change the behaviour of the machine is the long way around – never mind the latency and associated costs. IoT intelligence is migrating to the edge.”
Latency, network overload, slow reaction times – these should all be major concerns for businesses looking to set up a proper IoT infrastructure. We take data from machines or ‘things’, push it up into the cloud to be assimilated and algorithmically understood. We pick up that something is potentially wrong based on this source data, and then we push it back into the machine to change its behaviour. That’s where the IoT industry is – see the problem?
Improved network reliability and capability, along with cloud-based Big Data engines and machine learning technologies, create more accessible and complete data feeds and, ultimately, more accurate and dynamic predictive algorithmic models. The solution for handling all this data, the associated costs and data security lies in edge computing and intelligent gateway technology.
Once implemented, these core digitisation technologies lay the foundation required for true transformation, but are businesses rushing to digitise, to feed their Big Data engines, without looking at the consequences?
Having the ability to understand information at the edge and make critical decisions without having to push information up into the cloud to be processed before being pushed back into a machine is where this industry is moving – into the edge, as far as possible.
In an article on Andreessen Horowitz titled The End of Cloud Computing, Peter Levine shares a video in which he highlights some of the industry shifts worth looking at.
“But… how can we say cloud computing is coming to an “end” when it hasn’t even really started yet?? Because the edge — where self-driving cars and drones are really data centers with wheels or wings — is where it’s at. So where does machine learning in the enterprise come in? How does this change IT? As software programs the world, these are some of the shifts to look at…”
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