Take the Cloud With You: A Guide to Edge Computing

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Over $43 billion. That’s how big Grand View Research predicts the edge computing market will be around the world by 2027.

Have you heard of edge computing? If you haven’t, or you have but don’t quite know what it is, you’re not alone.

In this guide, we’ll give you a primer so you understand what the buzz is all about and how this technology will affect your life in the future.

What Is Edge Computing?

To understand what edge computing is and what its advantages are, we have to start with its relationship to cloud computing. They are different but interrelated technologies.

Cloud vs. Edge Computing

At its core, all computing is about processing data. That’s true of your laptop, your smartphone, and your car’s onboard computers.

The essential difference between cloud and edge computing is in how—or, rather, where—they process the data they come across.

Think of how cloud-enabled apps work. Take Siri, for example. You ask her, “Hey Siri, who is the greatest musician of all time?”

The steps she follows to give you an answer may look something like this:

  1. Compress the recorded sound of your voice so it uses less network bandwidth
  2. Send the question as a sound bite to one of Apple’s servers on the cloud
  3. Without your device’s intervention, the server interprets your voice through a natural language processing algorithm
  4. The server decides what to do based on its understanding of your question
  5. The server sends directions to Siri on your device
  6. Siri heeds the directions she gets from the cloud and responds to your question accordingly

As you can see, your device doesn’t have much of a say in what happens after you ask the question. The heavy lifting happens on the cloud.

The Advantage at the Edge

Edge cloud computing is about giving more power and responsibility to devices other than servers.

What if Siri and other apps could do most of the processing directly on your device and only have to make minimal requests from the cloud?

Here’s what would happen:

That’s where we’re headed in the next few years. The changes in the infrastructure are already happening at the enterprise and consumer levels.

But What Exactly Is an “Edge”?

If servers are the “core” of the cloud, devices that generate data are at the “edge.”

Your Apple device turning your voice into signals it can recognize—that’s generating data. But it’s not all about mobile edge computing. Examples of machines at the edge are IoT devices such as smart door locks and light bulbs. There are also network-connected industrial sensors and autonomous vehicles.

Because of its nature, edge computing won’t edge out cloud computing. The technologies increasingly complement each other.

How Does Music Benefit From This Technology?

The Internet of Music Things is… Well, a thing. It’s the ecosystem of networks and IoT devices dedicated to the production and perception of musical content.

Imagine the possibilities. We could have a world where musicians are more directly connected to each other and their audience. There may spring up new services for musical diffusion that we couldn’t dream of today.

Musical teaching and learning could become more streamlined. Smart musical instruments could revolutionize the performance and listening experience.

Case in point: During Taylor Swift’s 2015 tour for her album 1989, attendees received LED bracelets that lit up in sync with the music and lighting of the concert and responded to the wearer’s movement.

Talk about an immersive experience.

Mobile Edge Computing: The Way Forward

Edge computing is quickly becoming more ubiquitous. It aims to make our lives easier and more interconnected.

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