Cloud Edge Computing- With nearly 9 out of 10 organizations predicted to use multiple cloud services by 2021, the cloud would appear to have relegated all other forms of data computing and storage to the sidelines. According to Gartner, Inc., the cloud marketplace alone will reach $260.2 billion in market value by the end of 2018 as organizations adopt a “cloud first” policy. Connectivity is the other part of the equation.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking that cloud computing is the be-all and end-all of secure, sophisticated computing and storage. An even faster growing phenomenon – the internet of things (IoT) – could well match or exceed the appeal of the cloud given its potential to connect everything your heart desires to the internet. Welcome to the growing world of edge computing, where smart devices powered by AI will have the edge on cloud’s IQ.
At ManTech, we’ve been working hard to provide technology solutions at the “first tactical mile” for American warfighters for decades. Most recently, that has meant providing “intelligent edge” solutions. Now, with the advent of IoT, the possibilities of innovation in my industry and many others have become limitless.
Simply put, with edge computing, data is processed by the device itself or by a local computer or server, rather than at a data center or in the cloud. With computing now growing cheaper by the day, it’s already possible to perform significant computing locally on smart devices. As this movement takes hold, look for data to stay home – available on demand, as needed.
The age of edge computing is no pipe dream. We are already witnessing its rapid advance – with mobile devices, self-driving cars, cruise ships and robots, and in instances where personnel work in resource-constrained environments or remote regions where connectivity is nonexistent. In addition, demand is on the rise. By one estimate, the IoT market is expected to add $15 trillion to the global GDP in the next 20 years.
There is also a strong use case for edge computing in the defense sector, where individuals often work in places where they cannot stay connected due to security risks.
Since the topic of edge computing is comparatively new, it will help to explain two primary components in the defense industry – the tactical edge and “cloudlets” – and how they relate to the cloud.
Understanding Edge Computing In The ‘First Tactical Mile’
Government employees serving in special situations — like firefighters, soldiers on remote borders, law enforcement officials, etc. — are said to be serving in the “first tactical mile,” also referred to as the “tactical edge.” With the evolution of edge computing, technology on the tactical edge is undergoing major transformations. Increasingly, it’s expected that edge devices in this environment will behave just like commercial mainland devices.