While not all of us are technically minded, learning something new in the realm of tech usually has a positive spin. And edge computing is a relatively new technology. So, for us dummies out there, what exactly is edge computing? First defined at MIT’s MTL (Microsystems Technology Laboratories) Seminar in 2015, edge computing (EC), synonymously used with the term fog computing, refers to computing happening at the edge of a network. Distinguished technologist, Alex Reznik, says EC is

“Anything that’s not a traditional data centre could be the ‘edge’ to somebody.”

Another way of EC in plain English is to describe it as a means of storing, processing and analysing data close to where it is produced as opposed to it being in the cloud.


What is the difference between edge data and cloud data? We can say that cloud computing operates using big or complex data whereas edge computing utilises instant, real-time data that is generated by users or sensors on IoT (Internet of Things) devices.  Put simply, cloud computing involves running workloads in a cloud environment such as Amazon AWS. On the other hand, EC is processing localised data close to a network or origin and is sometimes thought of as everything that isn’t in the cloud. Red Hat Chief Technology Strategist, E.G. Nadhan says:

“Put another way, edge computing brings the data and the compute closest to the point of interaction.”


So now that we all understand what edge computing is, how does it work? Again, let’s draw on the knowledge and expertise of edge expert, E.G. Nadhan, who says:

“For edge devices to be smart, they need to process the data they collect, share timely insights and if applicable, take appropriate action. Edge computing is the science of having the edge devices do this without the need for the data to be transported to another server environment.”

EC takes place in intelligent devices that connect to the IoT. These devices have sensors and other instruments that collect and process data for further use by users and applications.


EC lends itself to better data management, lower connectivity costs and better security practices compared to cloud computing. Another major advantage of using the edge is that only important data is delivered to applications and users. In the IoT, huge amounts of data are collected, much of which is superfluous to the functioning of a system. Think about Alexa. What you say to her doesn’t affect the operation of the network. But the connection of your Echo Dot to the network is crucial – that’s the data that is monitored and sent to Amazon’s data centre. Historically, companies would send all of their monitoring data to the cloud or a data centre for processing, analysis and storage. This has changed since the advent of EC, whereby data is processed close to its origin and the cost of bandwidth to transmit data to a cloud service or corporate data centre is significantly reduced. The technology also has the upper hand over the cloud in that it enables AI-compute processes to take remedial action in real-time instead of sending data on a round trip to the cloud and back again.


According to Gartner, only about 10% of business data is currently generated and processed outside of a traditional data centre. By 2025, the Connecticut-based research firm predicts this will be an astonishing 75%. Along with this, is the expectation that 3 years from now, global data would have grown 61% to 175 zettabytes or 1 billion terabytes. That’s way too much data to move efficiently from one cloud provider or data centre to another. The 2021 IoT and Edge Commercial Adoption Survey revealed that 54% of businesses are either using or plan to use edge tech within the next 12 months. On top of this, by 2024, an additional 30% plan to evaluate EC deployment. Of all respondents, 30% said they expect to spend between $100,000 to $1 million on edge initiatives and 16% have An annual budget of more than $1 million.


Edge computing can be applied to many industries and applications. Here is a handful of these:

  • autonomous vehicles
  • strengthening commercial and consumer online security
  • healthcare data from medical devices
  • industrial IoT
  • virtual and augmented reality
  • enhancing workplace safety using AI, computer vision and endpoint sensors
  • streaming services and content delivery
  • smart homes


I love new technologies – the more the merrier. And edge computing is no exception. Are you one of the 54% planning to jump into edge tech in the next 12 months? Or are still sitting on the fence? Either way, I am here to help with your transition into a new way of processing, analysing and storing data. I have over 20 years of experience in professional business IT provision, specialising in cybersecurity and cloud services. If you are looking to make a move to the edge soon, then look no further. Call me today and together let’s embrace a new world of edge technology.

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