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How Can Edge Computing Be Used To Improve Sustainability?

Edge computing is a term used to describe the use of decentralized computation devices at the periphery of the network. Edge devices are those that are located close to where their services will be used, such as sensors, smartphones, and other mobile devices. But, how can edge computing be used to improve sustainability?

Edge computing can help improve sustainability by using less energy and resources while also reducing the latency of the service, and improving the accuracy and security of data collection.

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What is edge computing?

Edge computing, also known as edge network or distributed edge computing, is a way of processing data at the source of the data. It uses less power and reduces latency compared to central servers located in cloud data centers.

how Can edge Computing Be Used To Improve Sustainability?

Edge computing can help deliver improvements in all the 3 pillars of sustainability (or 3 P’s):

  • Environmental
  • Social
  • Economic.

Now let’s look more in detail at how edge computing can be used to improve sustainability!

1. Reduced energy consumption

Edge computing reduces the amount of data transmitted to and from the cloud, as well as the impact of this traffic on the network. As such, it reduces operational costs for cloud service providers (CSPs).

This is especially important to use more efficiently the IoT devices and other digital transformation technologies needed to achieve the fourth industrial revolution and get all the benefits of industry 4.0.

Reduced data center usage also leads to reduced energy consumption and improved sustainability. In addition to reducing electrical power usage and greenhouse gas emissions, edge computing can save money by helping reduce cooling costs, which are often higher than other types of infrastructure investment in data centers.

The time it takes for processing a request is also decreased with edge computing because there are fewer servers involved in processing requests instead of having hundreds or even thousands across multiple different locations worldwide.

The reduced costs and waste of energy mean that edge computing improves the economic sustainability of the business as well as being more eco-friendly by reducing the carbon footprint.

2. Reuse existing hardware

With Edge Computing you can use (or reuse) existing hardware. You can use servers, switches, storage, and software that are already in place to save money and reduce carbon emissions.

You don’t necessarily have to spend time finding new technology or creating a new infrastructure from scratch. Instead, you can simply plug into the hardware that is already there which reduces the need to produce new hardware and improves sustainability.

3. Improved resilience and can work offline

Edge computing is a technology that has the potential to improve the resilience of industrial systems by allowing them to run offline. This means that even if you don’t have internet access, your system still functions normally.

For example, one company used edge computing technology to create an AI-based solution for its warehouse staff who were working in remote locations around the world. The system still work also if for any reason it has to go offline.

Running their applications on nodes within a decentralized network instead of on centralized servers, allows for saving money by not having costly data centers.

However, they also gained some added benefits like greater flexibility and scalability as well as increased security due to the redundancy provided by having multiple paths between each node (and thus reducing risk and potential waste).

Sustainability improves because in case of an outage only a small portion of the infrastructure will be affected, reducing potential waste caused by the outage itself.

4. Reduced latency allows more efficient services

Latency is the time it takes for a message to travel from one point to another. For example, if you need an image of a house on Google Maps, your request will first have to go through servers located in different locations around the world before arriving at their destination.

Data is transferred between computers and devices over networks, but there are times when this data needs to be processed more quickly than normal to deliver a service.

Edge computing reduces latency by making sure that all processing happens locally close to where users live (or work).

Reduced latency allows the creation of more efficient services with a reduced waste of natural resources. For example, during the transport of food, sensors at the “edge” can monitor the temperature, humidity, and ripeness of fruit and vegetables in real-time, even if online. This data can be used to keep those always at the right temperature, minimizing waste of food and energy.

Reducing waste by creating smarter services can help improve sustainability.

Moreover, this also means fewer data has to travel long distances across networks before reaching its final destination; therefore reducing energy consumption since less energy goes into powering those servers!

5. Improved security and privacy

Edge computing is a powerful way to improve the security and privacy of your data. With edge computing, you can store your data on the edge of a network, which means it’s not stored in one central location.

This makes it much harder for hackers to access information about you or steal it from your device.

You may be wondering how this helps with security and privacy: If I don’t have my data stored in one place, who would hack into it?

The answer lies in the fact that hackers need access to multiple points of entry before they can break into any meaningfully large datasets. By putting sensitive information at least partially on the edge and out of sight from outsiders, you make hacking more difficult.

This aspect of edge computing is improving social sustainability by improving the security of personal data.

6. Scalability

Scalability is the ability to increase or decrease a system’s capacity to match demand. Edge computing can be scaled up and down as needed, which means it’s more than just being able to handle peak traffic times.

Edge computing is scalable in terms of both hardware and software, but this doesn’t mean that you should scale everything at once if you don’t need it!

For example: If one user has 50GB of data stored on their device but they don’t use all of that storage space regularly (or at all), then there’s no reason why those extra GBs should be sitting idle waiting for someone else who might not even have any intention of using them anytime soon. This would waste precious energy resources while also costing money—money which could then be spent elsewhere instead!

So, how does this relate to sustainability?

we’re talking about using as little energy as possible, but in a way that still allows for efficient use of resources. If you’re going to store data on someone’s device and then not use it again for weeks or even months at a time, then what’s the point? It’s better to just delete it instead!

As a result, edge computing is able to make better use of resources than traditional cloud computing does, which saves money and power while also making the system more environmentally sustainable overall.

edge computing has multiple benefits for sustainability

In short, edge computing has multiple benefits and positive effects for sustainability on the environment, society, and the economy when it is used to its full potential. So, how does edge computing improve sustainability?

The process of bringing cloud computing closer to users allows for more efficient use of data and energy, which can improve sustainability in all of its aspects: environmental, social, and economic.

Edge computing is about bringing the cloud to local devices like sensors or routers that don’t have high-speed internet access themselves.

By doing so, you reduce your demand on a network’s bandwidth by sending only what’s necessary rather than everything at once (which would require lots of uploads).

This reduces energy consumption by not needing as much power. It also helps conserve resources such as water or land by reducing unnecessary waste through heat generation from data transfers between networks within cities or across continents!

Cloud vs. Edge computing

Cloud computing is a centralized service, whereas edge computing is decentralized. This means that the cloud has a single point of failure and doesn’t offer the same level of security as edge computing.

Edge Computing isn’t just about where data comes from, it also looks at how it gets there. Edge devices are able to connect directly with other systems via Wi-Fi or other wireless connections, instead of going through a central server before reaching their destination.

This makes them more secure and efficient than traditional approaches because they don’t rely on internet infrastructure like packet switching networks (which can be compromised).

Another benefit is better latency: while traditional data centers have high latency due to long distances between servers and users’ devices. Edge computing offers low latencies by connecting directly via Wi-Fi or cellular networks rather than relying on traditional internet.


In conclusion, how can edge computing be used to improve sustainability?

Edge computing is an important step towards a more sustainable future and it can be used to improve sustainability by:

  • Saving energy: thanks to reduced network traffic, reduced data center requirements, and data analyzed locally at the edge.
  • Saving costs: it is possible to use the existing IT infrastructure to serve as an edge computing device. Moreover, the reduced energy consumption and cloud computing requirements are also contributing to reducing expenses.
  • Improving security: with edge computing, the data is more distributed, as such, it is more difficult to experience leaks of large datasets. This can improve the overall security of the users by keeping their personal data more safe and reducing the economic and social issues related to data leaks.
  • Allowing faster on-demand services: the availability of computing resources at the edge allows for the creation of faster and more efficient services, further reducing waste and cost.
  • Local scalability allows for more efficient use of resources compared to the cloud. Because users will take better care to not store useless data and fill up a local device compared to what they do on the cloud, which allows virtually unlimited storage of data.

Edge computing can be considered part of green IT and can certainly be an interesting technology to leverage for the environmental responsibility duties of the eco-friendly corporation.

Edge computing is also ideal to run decentralized blockchain applications. Blockchain can be used to support sustainable business practices and improve sustainability as well.

Edge Computing is the next step in the evolution of computing toward a more sustainable model, and will help us to reduce our reliance on centralized data centers and their associated costs!