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Edge computing moves data processing out of the cloud and closer to where the data is actually captured. Whether it’s a home security system or a smart factory, all of that data needs to be processed. If you try to send it all to the cloud, your network connection will slow down considerably. Instead, you can process some of that data locally, on a computer in the same building or even on the actual device that’s collecting the data.
Edge computing is not meant to replace cloud computing, but rather work together with it. After some, or most, of the data is processed, then what is left can be sent to the cloud. Once in the cloud, it might undergo further analysis or be put into storage. By processing some of the data before it’s sent to the cloud, you improve speed, reliability and security.
The applications for edge computing are infinite. As computers get smaller and processing capacities get larger, we have the ability to put a computer on almost any device. Self driving cars need the ability to process information down to the millisecond, to avoid collision. This technology could soon apply to delivery vehicles like drones, trains and trucks.
In manufacturing, edge computing allows us to collect more data and improve products and processes, which could lead to more build-to-order manufacturing. Edge computing can help us collect more data in healthcare too, to get a more holistic look at a patient's health, real-time information in surgery, and population health.