Will edge computing vaporize the cloud?

The fact that edge computing doesn't depend on potentially-shaky network connections has some speculating that it will edge out the cloud.

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For years, cloud computing has disrupted markets and revolutionized society, changing the way we upload and share data. In the era of the smartphone and tablet, everyday consumers rely on easy to use cloud computing, essentially having come to take it for granted. Is it really true, then, that edge computing could come to replace the cloud?

Like cloud computing before it, edge computing could stand to revolutionize the way we use our technology and fundamentally reshape the 21st century. This exciting technology, which processes data away from a centralized network and rather sticks to the “edges”, hence the name, is likely to take hold soon.

So, what exactly does the future of edge computing have in store for consumers?

Bypass centralized data centers

As the digital era hurdles ever onwards, massive sums of data could come to clog up data centers as compression methods fail to keep up with our ever-growing info glut. As innovators search for new methods and technologies which can enable them to thrive in the world of tomorrow, many of them are increasingly turning to edge computing.

As more consumers in the United States and the world abroad send greater numbers of pictures, videos, and files on a day-to-day basis, latency issues will only grow worse. New edge computing methods which enable the seamless crunching of mountains of data are thus well poised to swoop in and offer a solution to the problem of the data glut.

Massive centralization of data can be hugely beneficial for companies, but it nonetheless leads to inescapable latency problems and issues of high traffic. As more and more consumers demand their devices operate with greater haste, they’ll could come to abandon distant cloud-centers and rely on edge computing’s local approach, instead.

Should edge computing then be expected to split consumers and businesses into two rival factions? Not necessarily; the greatest potential of edge computing really relies on its ability to work with, rather than replace, the cloud.

A dual-faced approach

Regardless of the opportunities offered by edge computing, many established industries and consumers will still nonetheless rely on cloud computing for years to come. This doesn’t spell the end of edge computing before it’s even began to take hold, however; savvy industry insiders are confident they can combine the two methods, for results that get the best of both worlds.

It’s unlikely that consumers or business leaders will turn away from the cloud for backing up their data anytime soon, for instance. Companies that deal with enormous quantities of information will always need a reliable way to ensure its kept safe, and cloud computing will likely be their refuge for the foreseeable future.

Many emerging industries, however, could come to rely on edge computing as they break into the marketplace. Autonomous vehicles, for instance, stand to reap huge benefits from advances in edge computing, as self-driving cars will be able to rely on knowledge they collect themselves, rather than communicating with the cloud.

Other aspiring breakthrough technologies, such as wearables, may enjoy similar benefits of computing then-and-there, rather than reaching out to distant servers. As more digital devices proliferate across the globe, sharing and uploading data, edge computing could ride the coattails of the IoT.

Exploiting the internet of things

As the internet of things continues to grow at a dizzying pace, edge computing stands to exploit it to enhance its own capabilities. Smartphones, tablets, and sensors embedded in everyday objects won’t necessarily always have to be connected to the cloud, and can be used by edge computing to capture and process localized data with ease.

As microchips continue to become embedded in our world at increasingly cheaper prices, edge computing will find itself armed with an ever-greater arsenal of local gadgets and sensors to capitalize on.

Purpose-built edge computing applications will increasingly rely on user’s individual smartphones, rather than needing to stand on the cloud’s shoulders. Edge computing’s real potential rest in its ability to tackle specific task that cloud computing struggles with. As more digital devices rely on localized processing, it very well could find itself in higher demand.

The fact that edge computing won’t have to depend on potentially-shaky network connections doesn’t necessarily mean cloud computing’s days are numbered. It’s real-time computational advantage will replace cloud computing in many specialized fields, but in the end, won’t come to radically restructure our entire networked-world.

Those worried that edge computing could come to replace cloud computing thus have their fears vested in the wrong place. This revolutionary new way of tackling digital hurdles won’t supplant the cloud, but come to transform its uses and the way it works.

Tech-insiders would thus be well served to keep an eye on advances in edge computing. It will be here sooner rather than later, and could come to change computing as we know it.

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