Chapter 3. The Edge of the IoT

The edge of the IoT is where the action is. It includes a wide array of sensors, actuators, and devices—those system end-points that interact with and communicate real-time data from smart products and services.

By 2020, it’s projected there will be anywhere from 25 to 50 billion1 Things2 connected to the IoT—that’s up to seven connected Things for every person on planet Earth. On our way to this milestone, we can anticipate that these billions of connected objects will generate data volume far in excess of what can easily be processed and analyzed in the cloud, due to issues like limited bandwidth and network latency (among others).

Living on the Edge

Edge computing or fog computing—a paradigm championed by some of the biggest IoT technology players, including Cisco, IBM, and Dell—represents a shift in architecture in which intelligence is pushed from the cloud to the edge, localizing certain kinds of analysis and decision-making. Edge computing enables quicker response times, unencumbered by network latency, as well as reduced traffic, selectively relaying the appropriate data to the cloud.

Regardless of whether system intelligence is ultimately located in the cloud or the fog or some hybrid of the two, development for the Internet of Things requires technologists to have a clear understanding of edge architecture and how information is both gathered from devices and communicated.

An Abstract Edge Architecture Model

While specific solutions—from ...

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