How the Edge Computing Layer Helps with Latency

edge computing ieee iot IoT internet of things edge computing technology

By 2020, less than a year and a half away, an anticipated 20+ billion devices will likely be connected via the Internet of Things (IoT), creating incredible amounts of data every minute. The time it takes to move data to the cloud, perform service on it and then move it back to devices is far too long to meet the increasing needs of the IoT.

Unlike cloud computing, which relies on a single data center, edge computing works with a more distributed network, eliminating the round-trip journey to the cloud and offering real-time responsiveness and local authority. It keeps the heaviest traffic and processing closest to the end-user application and devices – smartphones, tablets, home security systems, and more – that generate and consume data. This dramatically reduces latency and leads to real-time, automated decision-making.

That’s why, according to a study conducted by IDC, 45% of all data created by IoT devices will be stored, processed, analyzed and acted upon close to or at the edge of a network by 2020.

Made for Real-Time Response

Consumer demand for low-latency goes beyond the need for quick music downloads and streaming video. Edge computing is essential in addressing potentially disastrous situations, such as:

  • Collisions: Autonomous vehicles (AV) can’t afford even the slightest delay between sensing a possible collision and making an adjustment, such as steering away from trouble or braking to slow down or stop.
  • Fire: When it comes to industrial safety systems like fire alarms and smoke detectors, mere seconds lost in data transmission can be catastrophic.
  • Environmental Hazards: Having near-instant data capture and analysis at oil well sites can help anticipate signs of a disaster and initiate tragedy-preventive measures.

In each of these instances, the wait time for data to travel to the cloud and back could be fatal. Low-latency edge computing is critical.

The Knowledge You Need

Introduction to Edge Computing is a new 5-course program coming soon, including course titles covering Overview of Edge Computing, Practical Applications of Edge Computing, The Future of Edge Computing, and more. Connect with an IEEE Content Specialist to pre-order this training program for your organization today.

To learn more about the IoT, check out the IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things, our series of eight training courses designed to give your organization critical foundational knowledge.


Miller, Rich. (21 Jun 2018). IoT and Latency Issues Will Guide Edge Deployments. Data Center Frontier.

Schmid, Robert. (11 Jun 2018). The importance of the edge layer in an IoT ecosystem. IoTAgenda.

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