Edge devices (and edge computing) are the future. Although, this does seem a little cliché, it is the truth. The edge computing industry is growing as quickly as technology can support it and it looks like we will need it to.

IoT Global Market

The IoT (Internet of Things) industry alone will have put 15 billion new IoT devices into operation by the year 2020 according to a recent Forbes article titled, “10 Charts That Will Challenge Your Perspective of IoT’s growth”. IoT devices are not the only edge devices we have to deal with as the total number of connected edge devices includes the likes of devices like security devices, phones, sensors, retail sales devices, and industrial and home automation devices.

The IoT (Internet of Things) industry alone will have put 15 billion new IoT devices into operation by the year 2020

The sheer number of devices begins to bring thoughts of possible security and bandwidth implications into perspective. The amount of data that will need to be passed and processed with all of these devices will be massive. There needs to be consideration taken by all business owners and automation engineers into how this amount of data and processing will be conducted.

Ever-Expanding Edge Devices Market

As the number of edge devices in the marketplace and their use among consumers and businesses rises, the need to be able to handle the data from all of these devices is no longer going to be suitable for central server architectures. We are talking about hundreds of billions and even trillions of devices. According to IHS Markit researchers’ study, there were 245 million CCTV cameras worldwide. One has to imagine there are at least 25% of that many access control devices (61.25 million devices) based on a $344 million market cap also calculated by IHS Markit’s researchers.

If all the other edge devices mentioned earlier are considered then one can see that trying to route them all through servers for processing is going to start to become difficult if it hasn’t already, -which arguably it already has, as is evidenced by the popularity of cloud-based solutions amongst those businesses that already use a lot of edge devices or are processing a lot of information on a constant basis.

Cloud Computing

The question is whether cloud computing the most effective and efficient solution as the IoT industry grows The question is this; is cloud computing the most effective and efficient solution as the IoT industry grows and the amount of edge devices becomes so numerous? My belief is that it is not. Taking the example of a $399 USD device that is just larger than the size of a pack of cards and runs a CPU benchmarked at the same level as a mid-size desktop. This device has 8GB RAM and 64GB EMMC built-in and a GPU that can comfortably support a 4K signal at 60Hz with support for NVMe SSDs for add-on storage. This would have been unbelievable five years ago.

As the price of edge computing goes down, which it has done in a dramatic way over the last 10 years (as can be seen with my recent purchase), the price to maintain a central server that can perform the processing required for all of the new devices being introduced to the world (due to the low cost of entry for edge device manufacturers) becomes more expensive. This introduces the guarantee that there will be a point where it will be less expensive for businesses, and consumers alike, to do the bulk of their processing at the edge as opposed to in central server architectures.

The rising popularity of cloud-based solutions amongst businesses using a lot of edge devices is evident
Cloud computing is now being overtaken by edge computing, the method of processing data at the edge of the network in the devices themselves

Edge Computing

There are a plethora of articles discussing and detailing the opposition between the two sides of the computing technology coin, cloud computing and edge computing. The gist of it is that “cloud computing” was the hot new buzzword three years ago and is now being overtaken by “edge computing.” The truth is that cloud computing is a central server architecture hosted at someone else’s location.

Edge computing is going to be a necessary development in the technology industry

Edge computing is the method of processing data at the edge of the network (in the devices themselves) and allowing for less resources required at a central location. There is certainly a use case for both, however the shift to edge computing amongst the general public and small to mid-sized businesses will not be a surprise to those players, who have been paying attention. 

One article titled, “Next Big Thing In Cloud Computing Puts Amazon And Its Peers On The Edge” by Investor’s Business Daily takes the stance that edge computing is going to completely displace centralized cloud computing and even coins the phrase, “Cloud computing, decentralized” to explain edge computing.

It speaks for the stance that most experts in technology seem to be taking, including Amazon Web Services’ VP of Technology, Marco Argenti according to the same article. We know that edge computing is going to be a necessary development in the technology industry, and it is happening as I write this, and quickly at that.

Cost Efficiency Of Edge Processing

As time goes on, the intersection between the prices of network bandwidth, edge processing and maintaining super powerful central servers will cause edge processing to be the most efficient and cost-effective way to maintain a scalable network in any environment, including datacenters.

Owning a central server or utilizing edge computing become the better options

As it currently stands, most residential users can only achieve a 1Gbps WAN (internet) connection, and small to medium-sized business can’t get much more but seem to get much less, based on my personal experience. When more than 1Gbps needs to be processed, cloud computing becomes very expensive at which point, owning a central server or utilizing edge computing become the better options.

Then you look a total cost of ownership and when the cost of edge computing is less expensive than the cost of maintaining central server architectures, edge computing becomes the single best option. So, I’ll say it again, edge devices (and edge computing) are the future.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

Ryan Chamberlain Sales Engineer - West USA & Gaming, IndigoVision Inc.

In case you missed it

How Can You Be Sure Your Organization Is Protected When It Comes To Cyberphysical Security?
How Can You Be Sure Your Organization Is Protected When It Comes To Cyberphysical Security?

At ISC West this year, emerging technologies will be on display to help organizations manage their environments, from the building itself to who’s on the premises and what’s going on at any given moment. Top of mind this year is cybersecurity, compliance and management of security assets as threats rise and governing bodies put regulations in place that businesses need to react to. The good news is that the shift in approach to holistic monitoring of cyber and physical assets can move enterprises to a place of digital transformation and proactive management rather than reactive practices based on threats and changing regulations. The show provides an opportunity for both vendors and potential customers to learn from each other about what’s out there and what’s needed in terms of future solutions as the industry evolves. Are you in cyber and physical security compliance? At this year’s show, we’ll continue to see developments focused on integration of cyber physical security that will lead to deeper understanding of the relationship between devices, device monitoring and spaces in which all devices physically reside. Digital solutions help achieve a digital transformation which stitches the data relationships together to provide better threat vector impact and overall understanding of risk. The technologies in smart buildings are subject to cyberattacks, which pose not just a threat to data and privacy but can compromise the physical space as well. Think of the locked door in a smart building that now is opened with access control via key cards or mobile devices given only to certain members of staff. These integrations increase safety and restrict access across the enterprise, but a bad actor can access and duplicate the necessary data to open the door with a copycat device while hiding the event from the surveillance system. By having a comprehensive cyber whitelist of installed devices, potential rouge devices are prevented from transmitting on the network, therefore providing an automated guard against internal and external attacks. When systems are compromised due to a hack or physical intervention, it puts what’s behind the door at risk, whether it’s money in a bank or information in a sensitive work environment, such as a laboratory. Digital solutions help achieve a digital transformation which stitches the data relationships together It’s increasingly important to highlight the relationship between cyber and physical security. A great illustration of this is the digital twin. A digital twin is a replica of a physical space that uses both informational and operational technology to give real-time information about what’s going on in a space.  These can include things like floor plans for the building as well as real-time sensor data from the building management system, HVAC systems, lighting, fire, security, and more. By getting a complete picture of the physical and digital assets of an organization, it becomes possible to monitor all systems from one central location to see how they’re working together and act on the insights they provide. So, in the example of a breach from before, it’s possible to flag that hack, isolate its exact location and devices involved, and resolve it quickly while maintaining preservation of evidence. Compliance: how to get there safely, efficiently and effectively As these threats evolve, governing bodies are taking action to ensure that data is protected to minimize these kinds of threats and ensure that organizations feel confident in the security of their data. Norms and compliance measures are emerging quickly, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which began to be enforced in March 2018, and the California Cybersecurity Law, which went into effect in the US just this past January. The regulations of what can be done with data mean that companies need to react or face penalties such as fines, which can be as high as 4% of worldwide annual revenue of the previous year. These are also fluid and can change rapidly, meaning flexibility is important in compliance solutions. However, this presents an opportunity for companies to invest in innovation to ensure they’re prepared for those changes and to protect the safety of not just employees, customers and target markets, but of the larger organization. Getting to a place of compliance can seem costly and time consuming at the beginning Getting to a place of compliance can seem costly and time consuming at the beginning, especially for larger organizations. They may have thousands of security assets (cameras and sensors, for example) and might not even be fully aware of what they have, where they are, and whether those assets are functional, never mind compliant with data protection legislation. The right solution takes all the steps to becoming safe and compliant into account, beginning with inventory and mapping of all assets to get a complete picture of where things stand and where changes need to be made. One large financial institution, upon embarking on this journey, identified an additional 10% of assets that they didn’t know they had, and additional ones that were nonfunctioning and needed to be repaired or replaced for compliance and safety. Monitoring: centralized and remote for rapid response Once assets and data are centralized and a complete inventory is taken, it’s much easier to effectively monitor the complete enterprise. At this year’s show, smart technologies will be on display that reduce cybersecurity risks and monitor assets for compliance. If something changes, that can be flagged, and appropriate parties can be quickly notified to act and neutralize security threats or avoid the expensive penalties that come with noncompliance. Since all these components are centralized in one location, it becomes possible to monitor much more effectively and fix issues remotely in minutes rather than scheduling a trip to a location that may not happen for days or even weeks. A security camera for a large chain enterprise such as a retail store or bank in a small-town location deserves service just as quickly as one in a major city, since the threat that each non-functional device poses is the same to who and what it is there to protect. Keeping it up: a proactive approach to service and maintenance One of the ways that emerging technologies can be a game changer is when it comes to the cost and approach One of the ways that emerging technologies can be a game changer is when it comes to the cost and approach to systems maintenance and operation. In addition to performance and compliance, other types of data, such as historical events, can also be monitored centrally. This gives context to security events and can move organizations from a reactive to a proactive approach to their security as well as operations. If small problems are identified and resolved before they become larger problems, it means that security events can be mitigated more quickly or prevented entirely due to early intervention. On the operations side, early insights into asset performance means that fewer resources are expended on noncompliance fees and large-scale, emergency repairs. These resources can take the form of money, but also of time spent by employees and enforcement agencies to ensure continued compliance. Staff can spend time engaged in active monitoring rather than generating reports, since that can now be automated. In the new decade, it’s time to use the technological resources available to better protect systems for smarter, safer and more sustainable environments. On every level, compliance is important not just for its own sake, but so are the other benefits associated with intelligent management. The show presents an educational opportunity for vendors and customers alike. Walking around the show floor and talking to everyone is a unique way to see what’s out there and evaluate what is and isn’t working for a business while getting information from all the industry experts. Even if they’re not ready for a complete overhaul, taking stock of what’s available, where things are heading and how their operations and mission can be better served by implementing one or more of the solutions showcased is more important than ever. On our end, those conversations about needs and concerns are invaluable in driving innovation.

Q&A: How The ‘Secret Service Of Hollywood’ Protects Celebrities
Q&A: How The ‘Secret Service Of Hollywood’ Protects Celebrities

At a major music festival, a fan in the crowd aggressively leapt over a barricade to approach a famous artist. Personnel from Force Protection Agency immediately implemented extrication protocol to shield the artist from physical harm, quickly reversed course and calmly led the client away from the threat. Force Protection Agency (FPA) personnel intentionally did not engage the threatening fan in any way, as local venue security personnel were present and tasked with apprehending the rogue fan. FPA’s efforts were directed expressly toward the protection of the client, avoiding unnecessary escalation or complications and minimizing physical, visual, and legal exposure. Dedicated to the safety of clients Force Protection Agency is a unique, elite-level agency inspired by a vision for excellence and innovation Specializing in protecting celebrities and high-net-worth individuals, Force Protection Agency is a unique, elite-level agency inspired by a vision for excellence and innovation, and dedicated to the safety and success of clients. The agency was formed in 2017 by Russell Stuart, a California State Guard officer and security and entertainment industry veteran. The agency is the culmination of 20 years of experience in the fields of security, military, emergency management, logistics and technology, media and entertainment, and celebrity management. We interviewed Russell Stuart, Founder and CEO of Force Protection Agency (FPA), which has been called “the Secret Service of Hollywood,” for his insights into providing security for celebrities. Q: What unique need in the marketplace do you seek to serve, and how are you qualified to serve it? Stuart: The needs of celebrity and high-net-worth clients are complex and constantly changing. When dealing with a high-profile individual, discretion is paramount, extensive communication is required, and adaptation is ongoing. A critical objective is anticipating and planning for all types of potential negative scenarios and preventing them from even starting, all while not disrupting the normal course of operation of the client's day or their business. Force Protection Agency is poised to serve these needs by innovating and intelligently managing the planning, procedures, and personnel used in every facet of protecting the client’s interests and achieving their objectives. Q: What is the typical level of "professionalism" among bodyguards and security professionals that protect celebrities? Why does professionalism matter, and how do you differentiate yourself on this point? Stuart: Professionalism is an overall way of approaching everything to do with the business, from recruiting, to training, to making sure the right agent is with the right client. Nothing matters more; polish and precision are not only critical to mission success, but also support the comprehensive best interest of the client while preventing costly collateral damage and additional negative consequences. True “professional protective services" is intelligent strength and proper execution, not emotional or reactionary violence. Unfortunately, the latter is frequent among many celebrity bodyguards, and often incurs extremely expensive and even dangerous repercussions. Q: Your company has been described as "the Secret Service of Hollywood." How true is that comparison, and how does your work differ from (e.g.) protecting the President? Force Protection Agency prides itself on providing its services with discretion, precision, and poise Stuart: Totally true, and for this reason: the keys to success in protection are prioritization, and planning. Most people fail to even recognize the first, negating any level of effort given to the second. Establishing the true needs and the correct priority of objectives for each individual client and situation, and firmly committing to these without deviation, are what distinguishes both government secret services and Force Protection Agency from the vast majority of general security firms. Also, the term “secret service” implies an inconspicuous yet professional approach, and Force Protection Agency prides itself on providing its services with discretion, precision, and poise. Q: What is the biggest challenge of protecting celebrities? Stuart: The very nature of celebrity is visibility and access, which always increases risk. The challenge of protecting a high-profile individual is facilitating that accessibility in a strategic and controlled manner while mitigating risk factors. A client’s personal desires and preferences can often conflict with a lowest risk scenario, so careful consideration and thorough preparation are essential, along with continual communication. Q: How does the approach to protection change from one celebrity (client) to another? What variables impact how you do your job? Stuart: The approach is largely determined by the client’s specific needs, requests and objectives. The circumstances of a client's activities, location, and other associated entities can vastly disrupt operation activities. A client may prefer a more or less obvious security presence, which can impact the quantity and proximity of personnel. Force Protection Agency coordinates extensively with numerous federal, state, and municipal government agencies, which also have a variety of influence depending on the particular locations involved and the specific client activities being engaged in.  Q: Are all your clients celebrities or what other types of "executives" do you protect – and, if so, how are those jobs different? Stuart: Force Protection Agency provides protective services for a wide range of clients, from the world’s most notable superstars to corporate executives and government representatives. We also provide private investigation services for a vast variety of clientele. Force Protection Agency creates customized solutions that surpass each individual client’s needs and circumstances. The differences between protecting a major celebrity or top business executive can be quite different or exactly the same. Although potentially not as well known in popular culture, some top CEOs have a net worth well above many famous celebrities and their security needs must reflect their success. Q: What is the role of technology in protecting famous people (including drones)? Technology is crucial to the success of security operations Stuart: Technology is crucial to the success of security operations and brings a tremendous advantage to those equipped with the best technological resources and the skills required to maximize their capabilities. It affects equipment such as communication and surveillance devices like drones, cameras, radios, detection/tracking devices, GPS, defensive weapons, protective equipment, and more. Technology also brings immense capabilities to strategic planning and logistical operations through the power of data management and is another aspect of Force Protection Agency operation that sets us apart from the competition. Q: What additional technology tools would be helpful in your work (i.e., a “technology wish list”)? Stuart: The rapidly growing and evolving realm of social media is a massive digital battlefield littered with current and potential future threats and adversaries. Most mass shooters as of late have left a trail of disturbing posts and comments across social media platforms and chat rooms that telegraphed their disturbing mindset and future attacks. A tool that could manage an intelligent search for such threats and generate additional intel through a continuous scan of all available relevant data from social media sources would be extremely useful and could potentially save many lives. Q: Anything you wish to add? Stuart: Delivering consistent excellence in protection and security is both a vital need and a tremendous responsibility. Force Protection Agency is proud of their unwavering commitment to “Defend, Enforce, Assist” and stands ready to secure and satisfy each and every client, and to preserve the life and liberty of our nation and the world.

What are the Security Challenges of Protecting Utilities?
What are the Security Challenges of Protecting Utilities?

Utilities are an important element of critical infrastructure and, as such, must be protected to ensure that the daily lives of millions of people continue without disruption. Protecting utilities presents a unique range of challenges, whether one considers the electrical grid or telecommunications networks, the local water supply or oil and gas lines. Security technologies contribute to protecting these diverse components, but it’s not an easy job. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of protecting utilities?