Increasing accessibility while lowering costs.
Think about the “edge” as being the physical location of the IoT solution that is being monitored or controlled remotely. It’s not in the cloud somewhere, but instead, it is physically where the remote thing is. For example, if you are monitoring a generator in a factory, the “edge” is near the generator, in that factory or very near that factory. Sometimes the “edge” is inside the device you’re monitoring or controlling. But the bottom line is that it’s closer to where the sensors are and where the potential actuators are.
There are five typical reasons you might want to employ edge:
Your solution may not have the time it takes for the logic to make a round-trip to the cloud and back.
You have a group of sensors that are producing a lot of data and you need to operate your solution in a low bandwidth environment while limiting the amount of bandwidth you use.
Your solution might be in a remote spot where a connection to the Internet is spotty or non-existent, so you can’t rely on the cloud to handle the logic.
You may have a reason that you need to keep sensitive data on-site and not in the cloud.
You may need to reduce the amount of data sent over communication links to the cloud and/or datacenter, so that you can help trim the cost of metered data (cellular, satellite, etc.) and lower your cloud data storage costs.
A gateway’s essential function is to get your data from one place to another. A basic IoT gateway 1) receives data from sensors, 2) translates it from one protocol to another, then 3) routes it to the appropriate system or cloud environment. For example, gateways in a LoRaWAN network receive data from endpoints using the proprietary LoRaWAN protocol and convert it to UDP or TCP.
Depending on the protocol, some gateways can also provide a level of security for your data. Gateways are evolving to have a role in edge processing too, since they are often programmable and able to move decision-making closer to where the data originates.
The most advanced gateways look a lot more like servers. With built-in or modular hardware to handle the various physical interfaces or wireless radios, as well as ample CPU and memory necessary to run complex applications. And it’s this class of gateway that often ends up being a home for Prism Edge.