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Experiments in Fast Image Recognition on Mobile Devices – ReadWrite

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feature detection and matching for image recognition


Our journey in experimenting with machine vision and image recognition accelerated when we were developing an application, BooksPlus, to change a reader’s experience. BooksPlus uses image recognition to bring printed pages to life. A user can get immersed in rich and interactive content by scanning images in the book using the BooksPlus app. 

For example, you can scan an article about a poet and instantly listen to the poet’s audio. Similarly, you can scan images of historical artwork and watch a documentary clip.

As we started the development, we used commercially available SDKs that worked very well when we tried to recognize images locally. Still, these would fail as our library of images went over a few hundred images. A few services performed cloud-based recognition, but their pricing structure didn’t match our needs. 

Hence, we decided to experiment to develop our own image recognition solution.

What were the Objectives of our Experiments?

We focused on building a solution that would scale to the thousands of images that we needed to recognize. Our aim was to achieve high performance while being flexible to do on-device and in-cloud image matching. 

As we scaled the BooksPlus app, the target was to build a cost-effective outcome. We ensured that our own effort was as accurate as the SDKs (in terms of false positives and false negative matches). Our solutions needed to integrate with native iOS and Android projects.

Choosing an Image Recognition Toolkit

The first step of our journey was to zero down on an image recognition toolkit. We decided to use OpenCV based on the following factors:

  • A rich collection of image-related algorithms: OpenCV has a collection of more than 2500 optimized algorithms, which has many contributions from academia and the industry, making it the most significant open-source machine vision library.
  • Popularity: OpenCV has an estimated download exceeding 18 million and has a community of 47 thousand users, making it abundant technical support available.
  • BSD-licensed product: As OpenCV is BSD-licensed, we can easily modify and redistribute it according to our needs. As we wanted to white-label this technology, OpenCV would benefit us.
  • C-Interface: OpenCV has C interfaces and support, which was very important for us as both native iOS and Android support C; This would allow us to have a single codebase for both the platforms.

The Challenges in Our Journey

We faced numerous challenges while developing an efficient solution for our use case. But first, let’s first understand how image recognition works.

What is Feature Detection and Matching in Image Recognition?

Feature detection and matching is an essential component of every computer vision application. It detects an object, retrieve images, robot navigation, etc. 

Consider two images of a single object clicked at slightly different angles. How would you make your mobile recognize that both the pictures contain the same object? Feature Detection and Matching comes into play here.

A feature is a piece of information that represents if an image contains a specific pattern or not. Points and edges can be used as features. The image above shows the feature points on an image. One must select feature points in a way that they remain invariant under changes in illumination, translation, scaling, and in-plane rotation. Using invariant feature points is critical in the successful recognition of similar images under different positions.

The First Challenge: Slow Performance

When we first started experimenting with image recognition using OpenCV, we used the recommended ORB feature descriptors and FLANN feature matching with 2 nearest neighbours. This gave us accurate results, but it was extremely slow. 

The on-device recognition worked well for a few hundred images; the commercial SDK would crash after 150 images, but we were able to increase that to around 350. However, that was insufficient for a large-scale application.

To give an idea of the speed of this mechanism, consider a database of 300 images. It would take up to 2 seconds to match an image. With this speed, a database with thousands of images would take a few minutes to match an image. For the best UX, the matching must be real-time, in a blink of an eye. 

The number of matches made at different points of the pipeline needed to be minimized to improve the performance. Thus, we had two choices:

  1. Reduce the number of neighbors nearby, but we had only 2 neighbors: the least possible number of neighbors.
  2. Reduce the number of features we detected in each image, but reducing the count would hinder the accuracy. 

We settled upon using 200 features per image, but the time consumption was still not satisfactory. 

The Second Challenge: Low Accuracy

Another challenge that was standing right there was the reduced accuracy while matching images in books that contained text. These books would sometimes have words around the photos, which would add many highly clustered feature points to the words. This increased the noise and reduced the accuracy.

In general, the book’s printing caused more interference than anything else: the text on a page creates many useless features, highly clustered on the sharp edges of the letters causing the ORB algorithm to ignore the basic image features.

The Third Challenge: Native SDK

After the performance and precision challenges were resolved, the ultimate challenge was to wrap the solution in a library that supports multi-threading and is compatible with Android and iOS mobile devices.

Our Experiments That Led to the Solution:

Experiment 1: Solving the Performance Problem

The objective of the first experiment was to improve the performance. Our engineers came up with a solution to improve performance. Our system could potentially be presented with any random image which has billions of possibilities and we had to determine if this image was a match to our database. Therefore, instead of doing a direct match, we devised a two-part approach: Simple matching and In-depth matching.

Part 1: Simple Matching: 

To begin, the system will eliminate obvious non-matches. These are the images that can easily be identified as not matching. They could be any of our database’s thousands or even tens of thousands of images. This is accomplished through a very coarse level scan that considers only 20 features through the use of an on-device database to determine whether the image being scanned belongs to our interesting set. 

Part 2: In-Depth Matching 

After Part 1, we were left with very few images with similar features from a large dataset – the interesting set. Our second matching step is carried out on these few images. An in-depth match was performed only on these interesting images. To find the matching image, all 200 features are matched here. As a result, we reduced the number of feature matching loops performed on each image.

Every feature was matched against every feature of the training image. This brought down the matching loops down from 40,000 (200×200) to 400 (20×20). We would get a list of the best possible matching images to further compare the actual 200 features.

We were more than satisfied with the result. The dataset of 300 images that would previously take 2 seconds to match an image would now take only 200 milliseconds. This improved mechanism was 10x faster than the original, barely noticeable to the human eye in delay.

Experiment 2: Solving the Scale Problem

To scale up the system, part 1 of the matching was done on the device and part 2 could be done in the cloud – this way, only images that were a potential match were sent to the cloud. We would send the 20 feature fingerprint match information to the cloud, along with the additional detected image features. With a large database of interesting images, the cloud could scale.

This method allowed us to have a large database (with fewer features) on-device in order to eliminate obvious non-matches. The memory requirements were reduced, and we eliminated crashes caused by system resource constraints, which was a problem with the commercial SDK. As the real matching was done in the cloud, we were able to scale by reducing cloud computing costs by not using cloud CPU cycling for obvious non-matches.

Experiment 3: Improving the Accuracy

Now that we have better performance results, the matching process’s practical accuracy needs enhancement. As mentioned earlier, when scanning a picture in the real world, the amount of noise was enormous.

Our first approach was to use the CANNY edge detection algorithm to find the square or the rectangle edges of the image and clip out the rest of the data, but the results were not reliable. We observed two issues that still stood tall. The first was that the images would sometimes contain captions which would be a part of the overall image rectangle. The second issue was that the images would sometimes be aesthetically placed in different shapes like circles or ovals. We needed to come up with a simple solution.

Finally, we analyzed the images in 16 shades of grayscale and tried to find areas skewed towards only 2 to 3 shades of grey. This method accurately found areas of text on the outer regions of an image. After finding these portions, blurring them would make them dormant in interfering with the recognition mechanism. 

Experiment 4: Implementing a Native SDK for Mobile

We swiftly managed to enhance the feature detection and matching system’s accuracy and efficiency in recognizing images. The final step was implementing an SDK that could work across both iOS and Android devices like it would have been if we implemented them in native SDKs. To our advantage, both Android and iOS support the use of C libraries in their native SDKs. Therefore, an image recognition library was written in C, and two SDKs were produced using the same codebase. 

Each mobile device has different resources available. The higher-end mobile devices have multiple cores to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. We created a multi-threaded library with a configurable number of threads. The library would automatically configure the number of threads at runtime as per the mobile device’s optimum number.

Conclusion

To summarize, we developed a large-scale image recognition application (used in multiple fields including Augmented Reality) by improving the accuracy and the efficiency of the machine vision: feature detection and matching. The already existing solutions were slow and our use case produced noise that drastically reduced accuracy. We desired accurate match results within a blink of an eye.

Thus, we ran a few tests to improve the mechanism’s performance and accuracy. This reduced the number of feature matching loops by 90%, resulting in a 10x faster match. Once we had the performance that we desired, we needed to improve the accuracy by reducing the noise around the text in the images. We were able to accomplish this by blurring out the text after analyzing the image in 16 different shades of grayscale. Finally, everything was compiled into the C language library that can be used with iOS and Android.

Anand Shah

Ignite Solutions

Founder and CEO of Ignite Solutions, Anand Shah is a versatile technologist and entrepreneur. His passion is backed by 30 years of experience in the field of technology with a focus on startups, product management, ideation, lean methods, technology leadership, customer relationships, and go-to-market. He serves as the CTO of several client companies.

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How Preql is Transforming Data Transformation

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How Preql is Transforming Data Transformation


More than one million small businesses use ecommerce platform Shopify to reach a global audience of consumers. That includes direct-to-consumer (DTC) all-stars like Allbirds, Rothy’s and Beefcake Swimwear.

But online sellers like these are also ingesting data from platforms like Google Analytics, Klaviyo, Attentive and Facebook Ads, which quickly complicates weekly reporting.

That’s where data transformation comes in.

dbt and Preql 

As the name implies, data transformation tools help convert data from its raw format to clean, usable data that enables analytics and reporting. Centralizing and storing data is easier than it’s ever been, but creating reporting-ready datasets requires aligning on business definitions, designing output tables, and encoding logic into a series of interdependent SQL scripts, or “transformations.” Businesses are making significant investments in data infrastructure tooling, such as ingestion tools, data storage, and visualization/BI without having the internal expertise to transform their data effectively. But they quickly learn if you can’t effectively structure your data for reporting, they won’t get value from the data they’re storing—or the investment they’ve made.

The space includes two major players: dbt and startups.

Founded in 2016, dbt “built the primary tool in the analytics engineering toolbox,” as the company says, and it is now used by more than 9,000 companies—and it is backed by more than $414 million.

But dbt is a tool for developers at companies with established analytics engineering teams.

Preql, on the other hand, is a startup  building no-code data transformation tool that targets business users who might not have expertise in programming languages but who nevertheless need trusted, accessible data.  

Preql’s goal is to automate the hardest, most time-intensive steps in the data transformation process so businesses can be up and running within days as opposed to the six- to 12-month window for other tools. 

“We built Preql because the transformation layer is the most critical part of the data stack, but the resources and talent required to manage it make reliable reporting and analytics inaccessible for companies without large data functions,” said Gabi Steele, co-founder and co-CEO of Preql.

The startup is therefore positioning itself as an alternative to hiring full analytics engineering teams solely to model and manage business definitions—especially among early-stage companies that are first building out their data capabilities. 

In other words, Preql is the buffer between the engineering team and the people who actually need to use the data.

“Data teams tend to be highly reactive. The business is constantly asking for data to guide decision making, but in the current transformation ecosystem, even small changes to data models require time and expertise. If business users can truly manage their own metrics, data talent will be able to step out of the constant back and forth of fulfilling reporting requests and focus on more sophisticated analyses,” said Leah Weiss, co-founder and co-CEO of Preql.

But that’s not to say dbt and Preql are bitter rivals. In fact, they are part of the same data transformation community—and there’s a forthcoming integration.

“One way to think about it is we want to help the organizations get up and running really quickly and get the time to value from the data they’re already collecting and storing without having to have the specialized talent that’s really well versed in dbt,” Steele added. “But as these companies become more sophisticated, we will be outputting dbt, so they can leverage it if that’s the tool that they’re most comfortable with.”

A Closer Look at Preql

The startup raised a $7 million seed round in May, led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Felicis.

Preql collects business context and metric definitions and then abstracts away the data transformation process. It helps organizations get up and running with a central source of truth for reporting without having a data team or writing SQL.

Preql reads in data from the warehouse and writes back clean, reporting-ready schemas. It partners with data ingestion tools that move data from source applications into the warehouse such as Airbyte and Fivetran and cloud data warehouses like Snowflake, Redshift and BigQuery. For businesses who consume data in BI tools, it also partners with Looker, Tableau and Sigma Computing. 

DTC Target

Preql is initially focused on the DTC market in part because the metrics, such as cost of customer acquisition (CAC), conversion rate and life-time value (LTV), are standardized. They also tend to have lean operations.

“We’ve found that these companies are working really hard to download data from disparate sources—third-party platforms that they use, Shopify, their paid marketing platforms—in order to get a sense of even basic business health and performance,” Weiss said. 

They also tend to use manual reporting processes, which means “it’s often an operations person who’s downloading data from a bunch of sources, consolidating that in spreadsheets, making a bunch of manual interventions and then outputting weekly reporting or quarterly reporting,” she added. 

But much of what these companies want to measure about performance is consistent and a lot of the data sources are structured the same way.

“With Preql, we were able to make some assumptions about what we wanted to measure with the flexibility to customize a few of those definitions that are specific to our business,” added Cynthia Plotch, co-founder at Stix, a women’s health essentials ecommerce site. “Preql gave us clean, usable data for reporting.  We were up and running with weekly reporting within days, saving us months of effort if we had to invest in data engineering teams.”

Data Transformation in 2027

Steele and Weiss believe the next five years will be about “delivering on the promise of the modern data stack.”

In other words, answering questions like: Now that we have scalable storage and ingestion, how can we make sure we can actually leverage data for decision making? And how can we build trust in reporting so we can build workflows around it and act on it? 

This is because a lot of companies struggle to move on to predictive analytics and machine learning because they never solved the fundamental issue of creating trusted, accessible data. 

 What’s more, Preql believes the next phase of tools will go beyond building infrastructure to deliver more value as data talent sits closer and closer to the business.

“Data analytics will only get more complicated because the number of data sources is growing, along with their complexity, and the need is becoming more acute for real time results. And the more data you have, the more granular the questions become and even more is expected of it,” Amit Karp, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners added. “I think we’re in the very early innings of what’s going to be a very long wave—five, ten or even 20 years down the road.  It’s a giant market.”

Rekha Ravindra

Rekha has 20+ years of experience leading high-growth B2B tech companies and has built deep expertise in data infrastructure – helping to take often very complex technology and ideas and make them understandable for broader business and tech audiences.

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Can Traditional Companies Act Like Start-Ups?

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Demos_Parneros_ Traditional Companies and Start Ups.jpg


Much has been made about the culture clash between older, slower, more traditional companies and younger, more dynamic, faster-moving tech start-ups. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but, generally speaking, it is very hard to reconcile the two approaches, as they are naturally in opposition to each other.

The general motto among start-ups of “move fast and break things” has led to very quick yet massive successes, with some companies, Google and Amazon being the most obvious examples, growing larger than traditional competitors who have been around for decades and decades. But it has also led to a lot of unconsidered damage to traditional industries like transportation and publishing, their ‘disruption’ doing as much harm as good. And, more often than not, start-ups can see millions or even billions in investment being wasted on bad ideas and unproven tech (Theranos, anyone?). “Fake it till you make it” means that, eventually, you actually do need to make it.

Image Credits: Pexels

Meanwhile, traditional companies, while providing more useful and regular forms of employment, great institutional knowledge, and decades of business experience, have their own problems. Because they often resemble large, inefficient bureaucracies, they are slow to move and respond to change. Old companies can be blind to, and even fearful of, innovation and new technology. This can leave them dead in the water when the future finally arrives. Kodak, for example, went from venerated, dominant business to almost nothing in just a few years because it refused to accept the revolution of digital photography.

But is there a way to integrate the two approaches? To take the best from both cultures and business plans and use those aspects to move into the future? To get big, old businesses to work, at least in some ways, like small, agile, young start-ups? Yes, but it isn’t easy.

Innovation Without Disruption

As stated, one of the greatest fears of traditional companies is having their business, or their entire sector, undercut by a growing start-up. While independent start-ups are expected to disrupt, be change agents, or however you want to put it, more traditional companies are prone to be much more risk averse. Naturally, one of the smartest things that an old company can do to avoid being left behind is to lead the disruption themselves.

Demos_Parneros_ Traditional Companies and Start Ups_3.jpg
Image Credits: Pexels

Many traditional businesses are currently investing in, and should continue to invest in, the digital transformation of their business model, from top to bottom. This, however, is a slow process, especially in sizable companies. The use of machine learning, predictive analysis, AI, and other cutting edge digital tools allows old business models to become more efficient, and respond to changes in supply and demand, and market tumult, in better and smarter ways. But it isn’t as easy as flipping a switch.

A New Business to Try New Things

Quite a few traditional businesses are spinning out new sectors, tech labs, and other separate silos to do the work of digital innovation for them. This isn’t uncommon. Businesses have, basically forever, had subsidiaries. The problem is that old businesses have trouble actually committing to the idea.

Often, the business that is spun-out is, essentially, a temporary one. The leaders of the core business get cold feet, limit the new project’s mandate, and pull it back in as soon as possible. Such hesitance is limiting in today’s digital world, where the next revolutionary innovation is always just around the corner.

Demos_Parneros_ Traditional Companies and Start Ups_3.jpg
Image Credits: Pexels

Furthermore, spin-outs with good ideas and potential for growth are frequently allowed to die on the vine, just as often they go to seed. Or, to make things clearer, the core business doesn’t invest in the digital spin-out’s success. The great advance of digital companies is their ability to scale with almost lightning speed. But core business have to be ready with resources and support for the scale-up to even happen, let alone work. Otherwise, a grand opportunity will go to waste.

If a business spin-out does well enough, it should be allowed to grow and change as it needs to, provided that it remains successful and worthwhile. Whether the goal is for the new business to simply make money in an area the core business isn’t directly addressing, or developing digital innovations for the core business to take up, if it works it works. Don’t get in the way of success just because it is new, or comes in an unfamiliar form. At the same time, core businesses must be careful of how they measure success for these new experiments. Measuring the new company or spin-out with the same metrics as the core business can sometimes choke the momentum and not give an accurate picture. Afterall, newer, smaller businesses, or initiatives shouldn’t be expected to be profitable immediately.

Cultural Change, From the Executive Level On Down

All the innovation in the world won’t mean anything if the people running the business itself refuse to change. Older companies, and older executives, can become set in their ways, dismissive of new technologies and ways of doing business, and ignore the automation and efficiencies of advanced digital tools. We saw this at the beginning of the widespread use of the internet twenty years ago, and we’re seeing it now.

More important than this, is the need for people in positions of real power in companies to implement the changes needed for innovation and advancement, and do so thoroughly and effectively. There must be a willingness to let the start-up culture infiltrate and influence the way business is done at every level, or it won’t be effective enough to help.

Demos_Parneros_ Traditional Companies and Start Ups_3.jpg
Image Credits: Pexels

It is painfully common for large, traditional companies to put money into research and development of new ideas and new technologies, only for executives and other decision makers to ignore what’s in front of them, either because of cost, or risk, or something as simple as a fear of the future.

But the future of business is changing in a digital world. Things move and change with an almost frightening speed. The Covid-19 pandemic is absolute proof of that; it wasn’t just companies with digital tools at the ready that were able to survive. While they had an advantage, it was the companies that were able to acknowledge the rapidly changing situation, and react to it quickly and efficiently, that kept things going and in some cases, even improved their bottom lines.

But It’s More Than Just a Cultural Change

One of the biggest advantages of tech start up culture is that it is forward-facing. It is an attitude towards business and technology that is not just looking towards the future (every business does that), but is actively trying to grapple with it, and even to shape it, if possible. Traditional, legacy businesses need to admit that the world is not static, and they have a responsibility in influencing how their industry develops.

Part of that responsibility is letting innovators be innovators. If a large company spins out a business unit to study and improve its digital technology, that company can’t then balk when those innovators recommend widespread change, or create a new idea that could shake the company, or its whole industry, to its core.

Demos_Parneros_ Traditional Companies and Start Ups_3.jpg
Image Credits: Pexels

Conclusion

To put it as simply as possible, for an older, more traditional company to reap the benefits of adopting a start-up model, it has to actually adopt it. It can’t just make superficial changes, it needs to truly invest. But that kind of investment carries risk, which can make more traditional companies nervous. The work of transformation must actually be done.

That means supporting digital innovations and changes when they make things more efficient. It means letting spin-out businesses actually try new things, and grow to scale when they hit upon something new and successful. It means executives getting out of the way so the forces of change can actually, you know, change things. Otherwise, the ‘traditional’ company will just be the ‘old’ company, sitting around waiting for some new tech upstart to disrupt it into obsolescence.

Demos Parneros

Demos Parneros

CEO | President | Board Director

Demos Parneros is an experienced and innovative retail and e-commerce leader, helping Staples grow from a startup to a Fortune 100 company, serving as President of North American Retail and E-commerce businesses. He subsequently took on the role of CEO at Barnes & Noble, leading a focused transformation plan, which eventually led to the sale of the company. In addition to previously serving on several high-profile company boards, Demos now leads CityPark LLC, where he has invested in 15 companies, including several leading-edge retail tech startups.

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Understanding Edge Computing and Why it Matters to Businesses Today

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Hady Shaikh


The edge computing market is expected to reach $274 billion by 2025, focusing on segments like the internet of things, public cloud services, and patents and standards.

Most of this contribution is backed by enterprises shifting their data centers to the cloud. This has enabled enterprises to move beyond cloud systems to edge computing systems and extract the maximum potential from their computing resources.

This blog will provide a closer understanding of edge computing and how it helps businesses in the technology sector.

Understanding edge computing

From a technical standpoint, edge computing is a distributed computing framework that bridges the gap between enterprise applications and data sources, including IoT devices or local edge servers.

For an easier understanding, edge computing helps businesses recreate experiences for people and profitability through improved response time and bandwidth availability.

Why does edge computing matter for businesses?

When we talk about the most significant industry zones worldwide, for instance, the GCC region, which is heavily focused on the focus areas like cloud services, the transition from cloud technology to edge computing is now more prominent than ever for enterprises to leverage the potential of the technology.

And with only 3% of businesses at an advanced stage in digital transformation initiatives, the potential of edge computing is up for grabs.

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a mobile app development company, a grocery store next door, or a next-gen enterprise. You need to understand how cloud edge helps businesses and invest in this open-source technology.

Predictive maintenance

Edge computing is primarily sought in industries where value-added assets have a massive impact on the business in case of losses.

The technology has enabled reports delivery systems to send and receive documentation in seconds, usually taking days to weeks.

Consider the example of the oil and gas industry, where some enterprises utilize edge computing. The predictive maintenance allowed them to proactively manage their pipeline and locate the underlying issues to prevent any accumulated problems.

Support for remote operations

The pandemic has forced businesses to opt for remote operations, or a hybrid work model at the least, with the workforce, spread across different geographical boundaries.

This drastic shift has brought in the use of edge apps that would permit employees to secure access to their organization’s official servers and systems.

Edge computing helps remote operations and hybrid teams by reducing the amount of data volume commuting via networks, providing computing density and adaptability, limiting data redundancy, and helping users comply with compliance and regulatory guidelines.

Faster response time

Businesses can enjoy lower latency by deploying computational processes near edge devices. For instance, employees typically experience delays when corresponding with their colleagues on another floor due to a server connected in any part of the world.

While an edge computing application would route data transfer across the office premises, lower the delays, and considerably save bandwidth at the same time.

You can quickly scale this example of in-office communication to the fact that around 50% of data created by businesses worldwide gets created outside the cloud. Putting it simply, edge computing allows instant transmission of data.

Robust data security

According to Statista, by 2025, global data production is expected to exceed 180 zettabytes. However, the data security concerns will equally increase proportionately.

And with businesses producing and relying on data more than ever, edge computing is a solid prospect to process large amounts of data sets more efficiently and securely when done near the data source.

When businesses take the cloud as their sole savior for data storage in a single centralized location, it opens up risks for hacking and phishing activities.

On the other hand, an edge-computing architecture puts an extra layer of security as it doesn’t depend on a single point of storage or application. In fact, it is distributed to different devices.

In case of a hack or phishing attempt, a single compromised component of the network can be disconnected from the rest of the network, preventing a complete shutdown.

Convenient IoT adoption

Global IoT spending is expected to surpass $410 billion by 2025. For businesses, especially in the manufacturing sector, who rely on connected technology, the internet of things is at the thickest of things in the global industry today.

Such organizations are on the constant hunt to up their computational potential and probe into IoT through a more dedicated data center.

The adoption of edge computing makes the subsequent adoption of enterprise IoT quite cheap and puts little stress on the network’s bandwidth.

Businesses with computational prowess can leverage the IoT market without adding any major infrastructure expenses.

Lower IT costs

The global IT spending on devices, enterprise software, and communication services rose from $4.21 trillion to $4.43 trillion in 2022. While a considerable share of the global spending accounts for cloud solutions, obviously as the pandemic has only pushed the remote operations and hybrid working model further up.

When users keep the data physically closer to the network’s edge, the cost of sending the data to the cloud reduces. Consequently, it encourages businesses to save on IT expenses.

Besides cutting costs, edge computing also contributes to helping businesses increase their ROI through enhanced data transmission speed and improved networks needed to experiment with new models.

How is edge computing different from cloud computing?

Although edge computing and cloud computing are each other’s counterparts for data storage and distribution, there are some key differences regarding the user’s context.

Deployment

Edge computing deploys resources at the point where data generates. In contrast, cloud computing deploys resources at global locations.

Centralization/decentralization

Edge computing operates in a decentralized fashion, while cloud computing is centralized.

Architecture

Edge is made on a stable architecture, and cloud resources are made on loose-coupled components.

Response time

Edge-based resources respond instantaneously, and cloud resources have a higher response time.

Bandwidth

Edge computing requires lower bandwidth, while the cloud counterpart consumes a higher bandwidth.

Although, the above difference makes edge computing a clear winner in all aspects for any business. But there’s a catch!

Suppose your business resides at multiple physical locations, and you need a lower latency network to promptly cater to your customers who are away from your on-prem location. In that case, edge computing is the right choice for you.

Top edge computing use cases

Although there are numerous examples of edge computing use cases, I’ll talk about a few that I find the most interesting.

Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous flocking of truck convoys is the easiest example we can come for autonomous vehicles. With the entire fleet traveling close while saving fuel expenses and limiting congestion, edge computing has the power to eliminate the needs of all the drivers except the one in the front vehicle.

The idea being the trucks will be able to communicate with the others via low latency.

Remote monitoring of oil and gas industry assets

Oil and gas accidents have proved catastrophic throughout the industry’s history. This requires extreme vigilance when monitoring the assets.

Although oil and gas assets are placed at remote locations, the edge computing technology facilitates real-time analytics with processing closer to the asset, indicating less dependency on high-quality connectivity to a centralized cloud.

Smart grid

Edge computing is on course to elevate the adoption of smart grids, enabling enterprises to handle their energy consumption better.

Modern factories, plants, and office buildings use edge platform-connected sensors and IoT devices to observe energy usage and examine their consumption in real-time.

The data from real-time analytics will aid energy management companies in creating suitable, efficient workarounds. For example, watching where high energy consumption machinery runs during off-peak hours for electricity demand.

Cloud gaming

Cloud gaming, seemingly the next-big-thing in the gaming business like Google Stadia, PlayStation Now, etc., dramatically leans on latency.

Moreover, cloud gaming companies are on the quest to build edge servers as close to gamers as possible to reduce latency and provide a fully immersive, glitch-less experience.

Final thoughts

This concludes our discussion on understanding edge computing and how it matters for enterprises worldwide.

Now that you understand the benefits of edge computing and its applications in different industries and use cases, it is evident that it’s a great value proposition for businesses that want to acquire competitive advantages and lead their spaces from the front line.

Featured Image Credit: Provided by the Author; Thank you!

Hady Shaikh

Hady Shaikh is a professional product strategist with experience of over 10 years of working with businesses in mobile app development, product marketing, and enterprise solutions spaces. His C-suite leadership and expertise spans over helping clients in the MENA and US region build top-tier digital products and acquire tech consultancy. Currently working as the Principal Product Strategist at TekRevol, a US-based custom software development company, Hady’s vision is to establish a robust digital foothold in the GCC region by helping clients with their product strategy and development.

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