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Five edge computing use cases

Get ahead with the edge

Internet-connected devices for phones, tablets, sensors, security cameras and vehicles have produced a mountain of data to mine and analyze. On a global scale, the cloud is an indispensable part of this process. Unfortunately, as the distance between the cloud and user grows, so does the transmission latency. Edge computing has been heralded as a way to bridge this feet.

Edge computing involves placing small edge servers between the cloud and users. This takes some of the workload off the shoulders of the cloud and onto the servers, which speeds up applications that require low latency. Edge computing drives data away from a central data server, providing real-time analytics while slashing expenses. Below is a selection of use cases that illustrate how numerous industries stand to benefit from edge computing.

Augmented reality

The year 2016 was good for augmented reality (AR) technologies with the release of apps like Pokemon Go. Since then, iPhones have been flooded with AR apps, which layer texts and images onto a digital representation of an individual’s environment. Accompanying the surge of AR apps is the need to know a user’s coordinates and movements. An edge computing platform can support AR services by providing highly localized data specific to the user’s point of interest.


Drones can fly to areas too dangerous for human exploration and take images from a bird’s eye view. Drone apps are expanding, encompassing agriculture on one end to mining on the other. Nevertheless, these devices have to “phone home” before they can respond to the data they collect. Edge computing enables drones to review data and respond to it in real-time. If, for instance, a drone identifies a car-accident, the device can provide valuable information about the wreck to pedestrians nearby.

Remote monitoring for oil and gas

Edge computing can prevent disasters for oil and gas operations. While traditional centralized data analytics infrastructures can determine what spurred downtime, they cannot identify the cause in real-time. With edge computing, oil and gas companies can access data at the site as its occurs, enabling them to foresee and safeguard against disasters.


The healthcare industry is changing with the rise of the digital era. Devices such as fitbit, telehealth tools and glucose monitors are reshaping the field. The data stored on these devices can be used to update a patient’s digital medical records; however, the existing cloud infrastructure cannot manage the amount of data they produce. Edge computing connects these medical devices, providing doctors and physicians with reliable and up-to-date patient information during emergencies.

Automated vehicles

Although automated vehicles are still in the developmental stages, industry giants like Google and Uber wish to make self-driving cars a consumer reality by 2020. It is hoped automated vehicles will save thousands of lives and billions of dollars related to automobile casualties. However, self-driving cars create massive amounts of data, much of which needs to be shared to neighboring cars. Edge computing devices play an essential role in ensuring information is processed and transmitted to other vehicles quickly. The technology allows drivers to receive warnings from other drivers immediately.

Switching data analytics to the edge helps power IoT devices, enabling organizations to be more effective than they otherwise would be. To get a high level understanding of edge computing, click here.

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