Edge computing — that’s computing carried out at, or near the data source, bringing the cloud closer to you — is the next big thing, according to Microsoft. We all now know that the collection, sending and processing of huge quantities of data allows users to behave more intelligently, act quickly and make better-informed decisions. Edge computing is a means of moving data processing nearer to Internet of Things (IoT) sensors thereby boosting efficiency. According to an IDC study, 45% of all data created by IoT devices will be stored, processed, analysed and acted upon close to or at a network edge within the next three years.
Edge computing is a network of data centers which process and store data locally prior to being sent to a centralised storage center or cloud.
Microsoft is investing heavily in IoT. Its current IoT offerings range from operating systems for devices – and the cloud services to control and secure them – to advanced analytics to gain insights, and business applications to enable intelligent action.
“The Intelligent Cloud, and the Intelligent Edge is real, it’s here, and it’s now,” said Judson Althoff, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President Worldwide Commercial Business, who maintains the Edge is about more than mobile devices. “It’s about sensors and sensor fabrics, ambient intelligence gathering, collecting detecting voluminous amounts of data... This new wave of compute, of intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, will shape everything we build together for the future to come.”
A powerful example of how cloud technologies are improving lives comes from Baltimore’s John Hopkins Hospital. It has partnered with Microsoft to create a precision medicine platform that allows it to collect vast quantities of data and apply new techniques like AI and machine learning (ML) to help treat patients in a more individual way.
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