It’s been clear for a while that Industry 4.0 and the digital technologies revolution is here to stay for manufacturing. In fact, since the concept was introduced in 2011, it’s been adopted, innovated, and iterated on. One of the latest trends in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is gathering, processing, and utilizing data to increase productivity, accurately predict safety issues, and get actionable answers that lead to better products. With all this data being transmitted and processed is there a more efficient and less resource-intensive way to accomplish this? The answer lies in edge computing.

What is Edge Computing?

In simplest terms, Edge Computing is moving data processing away from a central data center and closer to the source itself. Rather than waiting for the data to be processed before it reaches the central data center. This saves time gathering powerful insights from that data which can help your business run more efficiently or warn you of impending issues.

You can think of it as the difference between needing to move an object in production across the factory floor to a machine on the other end versus moving it to a machine that is right beside it. It literally takes up less time and resources to do the second. That’s what edge computing provides.

Does This Really Save So Much Time?

Aren’t networks already transmitting data at very fast speeds today? While that is true, especially in comparison to network speeds from just five years ago, utilizing edge computing cuts down that time even more, providing you with almost instant data that can be harnessed.

Time is also not the only issue that Edge Computing helps to solve. Even with more powerful networks latency issues, bandwidth problems, and congestion headaches still exist. Edge computing is a great solution to combat these problems. By moving the data processing closer to the source, you don’t have to worry so much about network latency as it’s a much shorter “hop” for the data to make. Bandwidth problems also get an assist from the data not staying in the network as long. Congestion concerns are alleviated by less data moving all at the same time.

Benefits of Edge Computing

There are many benefits of edge computing, but we’ll cover three of the main ones. First, let’s look at what it does to help move data in general. By placing an edge device closer to the source of the data, you allow that device to process the data into smaller more useful bits so that when those are transmitted again it’s more efficient. It can also increase security across a network. Instead of all the data being available over the entire network, the data is more contained and more secure as only certain devices have access to it. Last, but certainly not least is speed. In the world of innovation and optimization time matters. The less time it takes to turn your data into something you can use, the quicker you can make decisions.