IoT is now considered to have spread, but there is still great potential for evolution. Edge computing is attracting attention as a necessary element for its evolution. What will be possible and how will society change by connecting edge computing to IoT?
Two techniques that will support the world of the future
IoT is an innovative technology with so much change that it has the potential to change not only every industry in the world but also everyday life. And edge computing is taking that a few steps further. What are these two technologies that are expected to support the world in the future?
When the word IoT was first born, it represented a mechanism in which things with wireless tags are connected to the Internet by sensors and computers. “Internet of Things,” abbreviated as IoT has already taken hold with the word “Internet of Things.” The Internet here means that it is incorporated into the internet itself, not the Internet itself that we usually use.
However, IoT does not have a defined definition and has evolved from the initial meaning to a word with a broader meaning.
IoT is now familiar, and it also refers to “the ability to monitor real-world events and phenomena, convert them into data, and send and receive them via the Internet.” For this reason, devices are called “smart devices” and are becoming more popular. Smart plugs that can operate power supplies from smartphones and mechanisms that can confirm the safety of users by electric pots can be said to be typical examples of this familiar IoT.
On the other hand, IoT is becoming a cycle in which “the real-world data acquired by IoT is accumulated and analyzed and used again for real-world matters” is becoming included in that meaning. This includes smart cities where the entire city of living infrastructure is based on internet connectivity and smart factories where the entire factory operates by IoT. In addition, a digital twin that puts real-world data in a clear virtual world and then returns it back to the real world may be said to be the way IoT is one step further.
- Edge Compute
In a word, what IoT is doing is “transmission of information”. With the use of technology for transmitting and processing information, that is, information technology(IT), it has become necessary to use the elements required for information not only about quantity and quality but also about time. It’s the freshness of the information, the real-time nature.
For example, a 0.1-second difference is significant in controlling systems that control continuous motion or moving at high speeds. As the time to send and receive data between IoT devices and cloud servers decreases, the real-time nature of information can be said to be larger. Edge computing is a technology that speeds up this exchange of information.
The “edge” of edge computing means “edge.” If the cloud is at the center of information, the edge is at the forefront of the field.
In conventional cloud-centric data processing, information obtained by sensors is transmitted to the cloud via the Internet and processed in a data center. Information is lost in the time it interacts to return the results to the on-site actuation device again.
Edge computing separates data that can be processed by terminals on the field and data sent to the cloud. By processing on the site side and immediately sending instructions to the operating equipment, the freshness and real-time nature of the information will be used without losing it.
In this way, edge computing is becoming increasingly important as a technology that improves the real-time nature of information and takes IoT to the next level.
Edge computing opens the next door to IoT
In what sense is edge computing said to evolve IoT?
Until now, IoT has been mostly used for “visualization”. It is most often used to display information obtained by sensors so that people can understand, and many people may think that IoT makes it convenient for people to monitor machines.
Edge computing adds real-time to this. This opens the next door to the evolution of IoT.
In addition to the role of conveying the information obtained by the sensor to people, it will be changed to process and feed it back to determine the next action. When machines receive instantaneous, high–time instructions, accuracy such as various automatic devices and AI controls is improved, enabling control that was previously impossible.
As a result, automation and robotics will also take the next step, and the range of ways to use IoT will greatly expand.
Two expected fields
With the addition of real-time IoT to IoT through edge computing, two areas are expected to advance significantly.
- Autonomous driving techniques
Autonomous driving technology is attracting a high level of public attention as a result of IoT and edge computing.
Since a high-speed car travels tens of meters per second, instantaneous judgment is required. At this time, if all the data obtained by the camera or sensor is sent and received to the cloud, it will be an instruction for the point that has already passed. The time lag that can occur at any time on the Internet is a very big challenge for autonomous driving.
Therefore, edge computing technology that processes information in real-time and can make instantaneous decisions is expected to solve this problem.
Autonomous driving technology is expected to revolutionize, especially in the logistics industry, and is a hot field with the potential to greatly innovate the world’s logistics.
- Smart Factory
Smart factories are factories that are installed in all devices and work environments and controlled by IoT, which can be said to be “Factory Whole IoT”. Several smart factories are already up and running around the world.
However, by adding real-time to this with edge computing, it will evolve into a smart factory with a different meaning than before. All related technologies, such as big data and AI, are connected to edge computing, enabling faster processing.
The digital twin, which has recently attracted attention, is one of the forms of smart factories that enables the reproduction and testing of various issues by reproducing and operating the environment including factories and logistics in virtual space. Again, the real-time nature of information eliminates the time lag between the digital twins and real-world factories, which are “twins of virtual space”, and enhances reproducibility.
In addition, predictive maintenance is a technology that allows maintenance to be performed before a failure occurs by analyzing the tendency of the machine to fail so far and the signs before the failure occurred. Edge computing is also useful for determining the signs of failure in an instant in this predictive maintenance.
In this way, the link between IoT and edge computing is expected to broaden the scope of practical use and enter a real fourth industrial revolution.
Go to Society 5.0
The government has also set out a policy of aiming for a smart society as a form of the future of Japan. That’s Socialety5.0.
This is a future investment strategy not only for the use of IoT in the industry but also for realizing a society that utilizes IoT in familiar parts such as drone delivery and fully automatic rural areas. From here, we will solve various social issues such as population decline, aging, and energy strategy, and build a new sustainable socio-economic system.
Edge computing is also an essential technology in This Still 5.0.
How edge computing is changing the use of IoT
We introduced what changes will occur due to the link between edge computing and IoT, and how society will evolve.
In the past, IoT has focused on conveying information to people. However, the addition of edge computing technology opens up great possibilities for processing and sending information back. As a result, the range of IoT utilization will greatly evolve. In order to realize a new future society, it is necessary to link edge computing to IoT and evolve all related technologies.
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