The emergence of smart cities, endowed with thousands of connected devices and systems, are also a perfect demonstration of how edge computing is driving forward practical, hands-on technology that delivers immediately actionable data insights.
Smart cities boast many impressive features that have a whole host of purposes related to sustainability, security, efficiency, and citizen convenience. Without edge computing, these IoT-driven metropolises would not be able to monitor the urban landscape in order to keep the smart infrastructure connected and functioning.
As well as more well-known examples like driverless vehicles and smart thermostats, we are also beginning to see edge computing in less likely locations. For example, Singapore has introduced solar-panelled smart trash bins that have an internal compactor that crushes trash, allowing it to hold five times more than another normal bin. The bin is connected wirelessly for easy monitoring and management, and its sensors detect once it is full and send an email or text message to the mobile phones of cleaners.
Other cities are retrofitting sensors into existing structures in order to detect an array of environmental factors such as air pollution levels and hyperlocal temperature changes. Chicago’s city-wide “Array of Things” network of lamppost-mounted sensors measure important air quality components like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
In addition, the sensors monitor light, air and surface temperature, vibration, sound intensity, and pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The data from these devices translates into actionable insights for local government, including ensuring cost savings and higher levels of safety and efficiency by anticipating events such as floods and traffic safety incidents. Edge computing ensures that this data is processed and analyzed on the device, and not sent to the back end which could result in latency and a need for increased bandwidth.
We are exponentially creating more and more data and connectivity each day, that it is becoming impossible to control all of the devices giving us this data using a centralized system alone. Edge computing is here to allow us to decentralize the processing power needed for all of this data that’s crucial to keep the momentum of today’s technological innovation.