How to choose the right network architecture?

More and more data is expected to be processed locally, as close as possible to its source, thanks to Edge Computing in the years to come.

This technology will be gradually imposed by the volume of data generated by connected objects which will increase in the next few years, mostly exceeding the network bandwidth. Indeed, Statista predicts that by 2025, more than 75 billion IoT devices will be installed worldwide. This requires a change in the way data needs to be collected and analysed. Today, companies need to analyse the most important data as quickly as possible and cloud computing does not always meet these needs.

Let's look at the differences between Cloud and Edge Computing and determine if one is replacing the other or if they are ultimately complementary.

What are the differences between Edge Computing and Cloud Computing?

Edge Computing consists of analysing and storing data locally, as close as possible to the equipment and users. With Cloud Computing, data is processed in outsourced datacenters, with shared and centralised resources. When used in IoT, Edge Computing collects data at the edge of the network and processes it in real time, reducing traffic to the Cloud and decreasing latency.

In the case of building management, traditional BMS systems process all the data directly at the PLC level, which has very little computing power. Data is rarely processed in the cloud. By exploiting building data in the cloud, we break this computing limit and exploit 100% of the potential of this data. But you become dependent on the internet connection, which is sometimes capricious in buildings. That's where Edge Computing comes into its own, providing data resilience locally, while still being able to benefit from the power of the Cloud when combined.

What are the benefits and limitations of Edge Computing?

The pros of Edge:

  • Reliability :  With the Cloud, the PLCs are open to the network, whereas the Edge allows the network to be closed. In effect, it is the Edge that connects with the Cloud, not the PLC. The Edge is ultimately a piece of infrastructure that can do everything in a closed loop.
  • Reduced bandwidth and associated costs : Cloud providers charge for bandwidth, and all the back and forth between the machines and the cloud is an environmental problem. The cost of bandwidth for data transmission decreases when the data is processed locally. This is because the Cloud sends a request to all the PLCs on a regular basis, whereas the Edge, placed next to the PLC, sends the data to the Cloud when there is a change in the data.
  • Safety : The Edge provides greater security for sensitive data and resilience to connection problems. All data no longer has to travel over the Internet so in the event of a failure, data can continue to flow making the user less dependent on their Internet connection.

The cons of Edge:

  • Maintenance : Edge Computing requires the installation of hardware in the building, which requires additional maintenance. Edge is also a more complex programme to implement than Cloud.
  • Price : Edge Computing is often more expensive than Cloud Computing because setting up an Edge architecture requires good support.

What are the pros and cons of Cloud Computing ?

The pros of Cloud:

  • Reduced costs : Cloud computing saves money. There is no need to invest in equipment, network infrastructure or hardware maintenance.
  • Scalability : Cloud Computing is very flexible with the advantage of easily adapting to sudden growth in existing infrastructure or storage requirements.
  • Accessible : The main feature of the cloud is access to data and documents from anywhere, anytime, as long as internet access is available.

The cons of Cloud:

  • Only works with Internet : If you lose your Internet connexion due to a breakage, you risk of temporarily lose and paralyze your activity.

Are Edge and Cloud Computing compatible ?

The Edge complements rather than competes with the Cloud. Indeed, the Edge allows an initial processing of data for a reactive response before transferring it to the Cloud.

A hybrid solution such as Sensinov will be able to combine the two technologies so that the company can benefit from greater flexibility. By synchronising the Edge with the Cloud, all Cloud functionality will continue to work in the building even if the connection is lost. In other words, the Edge becomes an essential component of the building, allowing it to finally exploit the full potential of the Cloud by ensuring continuity of service.

Sensinov offers you to apply your own strategy to your buildings. Our solutions meet the challenges of openness, interoperability and are 100% in line with the new standards (R2S label, BACS decree, tertiary decree). BOS Sensinov supports building professionals in their daily work on several subjects, particularly in the areas of Hypervision and building supervision, equipment control and energy consumption optimisation

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