In the more than 30 years since the first personal computer was released, the ways in which people use their devices to compute have changed more than a few times.
At first, the idea that you could house data completely locally was thrilling. Now, most computing and storage is outsourced to cloud services, but that’s all changing again with the rise of edge computing.
A Little Here, A Little There
The term edge computing isn’t just a catchy way to express that this system is on the cutting edge, it’s meant quite literally. Rather than occurring completely on the cloud or completely on one’s own device, edge computing splits the difference, carrying out as much computing as possible at the source so that there’s not a data traffic jam in the cloud.
While cloud computing has done a great job of easing concerns over device crashes and making files more accessible for teams that need to share data, it has created a great deal of latency. Data, like any other physical property, must travel in order to reach you, which is why edge computing plays such an important role in increasing speed.
Think of cloud computing as working in an office that’s a block away from your home. It doesn’t take you long to get up and walk there every morning, but it’s also not immediate. Now think of edge computing as working in your home office—you’re able to arrive there much more quickly than the space a block away.
Because data is able to reach you so much faster when as much of it as possible is saved nearby, edge computing makes booting up your applications and putting them to work a far more efficient process.
Any good technology takes trial and error to get right, and the rise of edge computing may mark the moment at which tech companies have finally grasped the most efficient way to manage data.