Need for ‘Intelligent Edge Computing’

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We discuss the following topics in this blog:

  1. All about Intelligent Edge
  2. How Can You and Me Drive the Need for the ‘Intelligent Edge’?

In addition to these topics, we shall also be answering the following FAQs:

  1. What is WiFi?
  2. What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

What do we mean by ‘Intelligent Edge’?

We have all heard about ‘intelligent edge’ and more often, we think of it as something that is happening in the world of data centres, typically unrelated to us as data consumers. Intelligent edge is basically a new phenomenon that combines distributed computing power with highly intelligent and perceptive end-user devices and apps, to enable a whole lot of what we do today and what we will do in the future.

So we, the data consumers are driving the creation of this massive ecosystem through our evolving ‘digital habits’!

Here is a highly current example of how the ‘intelligent edge’ and ‘we, the consumers’ are highly co-dependent on each other!

Owing to the Covid-19 crisis, these days, we are all at home. This means, work from home, work for home and of course a whole lot of virtual meetings, video conferences and the much-needed ‘netflix and chill’ time. All of the above is highly real-time and it means that data travel time needs to drastically go down to cater to our needs. This is exactly why we need the intelligent edge, more than ever.

How Can You and Me Drive the Need for the ‘Intelligent Edge’?

By the time we emerge stronger out of this current coronavirus situation, there will be a new normal in our lives. This new normal, along with lots of current normal will actually make intelligent edge all the more important.

The growing role of virtual assistants in our lives

AI driven virtual assistants like Alexa, Google home and Siri are a part of our lives now. As they (virtual assistants) interact with us more and understand the complex nuances of our language and lives, they constantly need to upgrade their intelligence to respond to us better. As more and more such devices make way to our homes, service providers will struggle to handle so many requests and edge ecosystem architecture will actually intelligently process these requests closer to the user.

Good old streaming

While binge watching our favourite shows, we actually don’t realise that all this massive content delivery is not possible without a robust edge ecosystem. Surely, streaming the Game of Thrones latest episode at 6 AM IST on hotstar couldn’t have happened without edge. As we move into the next league with immersive streaming, the edge becomes even more critical.

The growing number of smart cities

As compared to AI and high octane real time gaming, this is might seem a boring one. But smart cities make way for cooler lives. In countries like India, over 100 smart cities are planned in the near future. As cities become smart, there will be mammoth data processing, millions of IoT devices will communicate with each other and mission critical actions will depend on these communications. Again, edge intelligence will enable cities to become digital and smart.

Healthcare in the post Coronavirus times

Yes. Healthcare is on everyone’s mind. We all agree that in the post corona times, we need healthcare to combat such powerful adversaries. IoT wearables and medical devices will uncover new possibilities like gathering, analysing and actioning patient level data in real time. Imagine a time where symptoms are clocked in real-time and online prescriptions are delivered through a synced delivery taskforce. Intelligent edge is that superhero, which will make this implementable at scale.

Alas, we have to mention autonomous vehicles

Autonomous driving makes way into every ‘futuristic’ discussion in the technology space. And edge ecosystem is no exception. When driverless cars will be out there on the roads, the difference between a smooth ride and an unfortunate collision will be fast response times. How fast? Less than 1 ms (which is 200% faster than the blink of an eye). Needless to say, intelligent edge will be the force behind this too!


What is WiFi?

Put simply, WiFi is a technology that uses radio waves to create a wireless network through which devices like mobile phones, computers, printers, etc., connect to the internet. A wireless router is needed to establish a WiFi hotspot that people in its vicinity may use to access internet services. You’re sure to have encountered such a WiFi hotspot in houses, offices, restaurants, etc.

To get a little more technical, WiFi works by enabling a Wireless Local Area Network or WLAN that allows devices connected to it to exchange signals with the internet via a router. The frequencies of these signals are either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidths. These frequencies are much higher than those transmitted to or by radios, mobile phones, and televisions since WiFi signals need to carry significantly higher amounts of data. The networking standards are variants of 802.11, of which there are several (802.11a, 802.11b, 801.11g, etc.).

What is an Optical Fibre Cable?

An optical fibre cable is a cable type that has a few to hundreds of optical fibres bundled together within a protective plastic coating. They help carry digital data in the form of light pulses across large distances at faster speeds. For this, they need to be installed or deployed either underground or aerially. Standalone fibres cannot be buried or hanged so fibres are bunched together as cables for the transmission of data. This is done to protect the fibre from stress, moisture, temperature changes and other externalities.

There are three main components of a optical fibre cable, core (It carries the light and is made of pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) with dopants such as germania, phosphorous pentoxide, or alumina to raise the refractive index; Typical glass cores range from as small as 3.7um up to 200um), Cladding (Cladding surrounds the core and has a lower refractive index than the core, it is also made from the same material as the core; 1% refractive index difference is maintained between the core and cladding; Two commonly used diameters are 125µm and 140µm) and Coating (Protective layer that absorbs shocks, physical damage and moisture; The outside diameter of the coating is typically either 250µm or 500µm; Commonly used material for coatings are acrylate,Silicone, carbon, and polyimide).

An optical fibre cable is made up of the following components: Optical fibres – ranging from one to many. Buffer tubes (with different settings), for protection and cushioning of the fibre. Water protection in the tubes – wet or dry. A central strength member (CSM) is the backbone of all cables. Armoured tapes for stranding to bunch the buffer tubes and strength members together. Sheathing or final covering to provide further protection.

The five main reasons that make this technology innovation disruptive are fast communication speed, infinite bandwidth & capacity, low interference, high tensile strength and secure communication. The major usescases of optical fibre cables include intenet connectivity, computer networking, surgery & dentistry, automotive industry, telephony, lighting & decorations, mechanical inspections, cable television, military applications and space.

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