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17 September 2020

Edge Computing: the power of the invisible

Edge Computing is a technology with which the vast majority of society is probably unfamiliar, but its development and, above all, its great advantages for connectivity and content transmission in the systems of companies, industries, cities and homes, are making it an increasingly common resource in our daily lives.

The value of Edge Computing technology lies in its capacity to turn devices and equipment into autonomous systems thanks to the ability to manage, analyse, store and communicate almost immediately.

Data and information (video, audio, image, text, megadata, etc.) are processed swiftly, efficiently and analytically, allowing systems to respond much faster and more precisely, surpassing even human reaction capacity.

Edge Computing technology emerged as an evolution of Cloud Computing, although its use and application has been speeding up in recent years. Cloud Computing focuses on analysing - in the cloud - the data collected by IoT sensors and devices, while the Edge Computing model performs the assessment on computers and even on the network nodes themselves, meaning data does not need to pass through the cloud.

Managing Edge Computing nodes is therefore one of the greatest opportunities for telecommunications operators. These solutions can help mobile operators to lower their TCO while allowing seamless video and audiovisual communication, including streaming, in addition to transmitting other information and data. As a scalable and modular solution, it can cover many different scenarios, ranging from dedicated on-site deployments to distributed telecommunications edge services for the consumer market.

Edge Computing solutions based on Intel technology

To ensure the efficiency and quality of communications, Cellnex Telecom has decided to team up with Lenovo and Nearby Computing to launch Edge Computing solutions based on Intel technology. The involvement of the world's largest processor manufacturer is certainly a guarantee to meet the growing challenges in telecommunications networks around bandwidth and latency requirements.

One of the most important aspects of Edge Computing solutions designed specifically for the telecommunications sector revolves around helping mobile network operators to improve their capacity and performance. Such solutions also facilitate significant savings on their networks and generate new revenue streams. These goals can be achieved by driving data traffic to Edge networks, reducing communications on existing networks, improving performance, and optimising costs.

These characteristics mean that Edge Computing solutions are increasingly frequent in equipment and systems, although the end user of the services is often unaware of their features.



Edge Computing Applications: Smart Cities, Industry 4.0 and e-Sports

The most significant applications include Smart Cities and the connected car. This type of technology is essential not only for facilitating connections between all devices and vehicles, but also for the speed in transmitting the information and the activity of each of these, which is crucial when personal safety is at stake. In such cases, the storage of data from the equipment and sensors is analysed instantly, achieving a perfect interaction between all the systems that allows drivers and pedestrians problem-free circulation. The great added value of Edge Computing in connected cities is the ability to react almost immediately when any small incident or even the smallest deviation in the operation of vehicles is detected, thereby avoiding accidents. If an unforeseen event occurs on the road (a pedestrian crosses the road without looking, a vehicle speeds up at a traffic light ...), communication between systems would make devices react in just 10 thousandths of a second, compared to the 300 thousandths that a driver with good reflexes would have.

Likewise, this technology is also very effective in the industrial sector, whose commitment to robotisation and coordination with the entire value chain determines the need for continuously connected smart equipment allowing for instant adaptation. Just-in-time production requires not only an exhaustive and technical knowledge of each manufacturing process, but also over-arching and comprehensive interaction with suppliers, who provide materials at the right time and in the most appropriate way, and with the distribution channel that must deliver the product according to the needs and tastes of the consumer or user. This capacity for industry to adapt instantly according to the characteristics of the product and the inputs it receives from outside would not be possible in a cloud environment. The need for Industry 4.0 to have real, instant, analytical information means developing Edge Computing solutions implemented in the same plant or at least very nearby.

Leisure and culture activities have also recognised the great opportunities offered by this technology. The online video game industry would make no sense if, when interacting with the application or with other users, the player's orders were not immediately reflected in the game. The same thing happens in virtual reality developments whose interaction requires the 3D glasses to be constantly in communication with the system. It is no use to have the technical capacity to develop high-quality photorealistic renders, enjoy impressive images or contemplate 3D infographics if the system has information stored thousands of kilometres away that takes time to load, slowing down communication and greatly diminishing the user experience.

So, the high quality and effectiveness of this technology make it “invisible” even though it is implemented in infrastructures with different needs and uses, such as Enterprise Edge, aimed at companies or organisers of major music and sports events; or Green Edge, suitable for rural zero-emission environments that can also be implemented in Smart Cities or in future mobility services.

Edge Computing: the power of the invisible
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