The Future of Edge Computing & How it Will Change The World

Development

2021-09-17T18:24:52.643Z

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The future of edge computing is right around the corner. It has the power to protect the climate, improve our health, and squash road rage.

Since the mainframe computer in the 1970s, computing power has grown exponentially, doubling processing power while halving costs every year.

While server farms and data warehouses were once thought to be the final solution for speed and capacity, the pendulum is swinging back to an old-school-esque network of devices.

If you look at the evolution of computing, it’s easy to understand how cloud computing swung the pendulum from powerful devices to powerful networks. Entire business models have been built on the concept of offsite storage and fast networks e.g., Spotify, YouTube, SaaS products, not to mention the rise of storage-lite devices like Chromebooks.

However, even though cloud-based computing is great for many things, there are some drawbacks.

They rely on networks.

We’ve all been there: you show your friend your favorite YouTube video but it keeps buffering. Buzzkill.

Thankfully, this is only a minor inconvenience. Consider a computer that’s making a more important decision: a self-driving car failing to connect to a network in the wilderness of Montana. Are you stranded if it doesn’t know where to go?

Network speeds are reliable most of the time, but “most of the time” isn’t good enough for things like autonomous driving, medical devices, and natural disaster response tools.

They rely on data warehouses.

When businesses realized they could store their data offsite in someone else’s warehouse, they celebrated and shipped it off. All the access without the wasted real estate.

But then they got the bill.

Moving and storing data is very energy-consuming and therefore extremely expensive. In fact, it’s been estimated that over 1% of all energy used in the world is from data centers.

To solve these two problems, enter edge computing.

Edge computing reclaims much of the storage and power that cloud computing took on over the years.

A single iPhone today has more computing power than the 1969 computer that sent astronauts to the moon. This means that you can store more power, capacity, and data in computers and rely less on network connections and back and forth data transfers.

This is computing “at the edge.” The edge being real-time, where people and machines use the information to make decisions quickly.

The Future of Edge Computing

The future of edge computing will improve alongside advanced networks like 5G and satellite mesh and artificial intelligence.

By having more capacity and power, better access to fast and widespread networks (5G, satellite), and smarter machines within computers (AI), you’ve suddenly opened up the world to some seriously futuristic possibilities.

Here are some of the most life-changing edge computing use cases we think will take over the tech world this decade.

Healthcare

There have been countless software-enabled improvements in healthcare. Today, apps, medical devices, and data allow machines and doctors to monitor and treat patients near and far.

As medical devices improve, they will be able to sense more things about your body and respond appropriately in real-time. In order for these healthcare devices to work, they need edge computing and powerful AI, which isn’t there quite yet.

Once this technology does get there, expect things like:

  • Emergency calls and response before heart attacks
  • Vital signs monitoring and response
  • Non-invasive cancer cell monitoring and response
  • Smart and personalization health nudges (beyond “get up and move”)
  • Electrolyte imbalance monitoring and notification

On top of real-time uses, there are benefits to collecting individual health care with an AI lens. For example, your primary care physician could check in on your every six months by looking at your vital signs and patterns. Based on this, they could make better recommendations for your care.

Energy & Resource Efficiency

At this stage in the game, the world will require advanced computing solutions to save our finite resources and prevent climate change.

Farming in drought-stricken areas can be accomplished with drip-monitoring and measurement systems. Before, it was prohibitively expensive to outfit a 1,000-acre farm with sensors and connect each to a cloud system. With edge computing, network connectivity isn’t as big of an issue. These systems can make independent decisions that balance ground moisture with available water resources.

Smart Buildings & Cities

Edge computing has taken autonomous cars pretty far. However, this technology will be far more life-changing when it has the ability to connect to other cars, buildings, and structures. These smart ecosystems will compile the benefits of autonomous driving and turn cities into AI-powered machines.

Consider this. Today, over 20% of traffic is cars looking for parking. Imagine if a car could communicate with a parking garage, reserve a spot, find the optimal route, and self-park. Not only does this relieve much frustration of driving, but it’s also considerably safer and environmentally-friendlier than the current options.

The future of edge computing is quickly approaching. As processors become more powerful, storage becomes cheaper, and networks access improves, there are countless opportunities to change the world.

If you want to learn more about edge computing and how it can help your organization, reach out to the team at Devetry. We can help you strategize and build software on the edge.