The adoption of edge computing is currently soaring across an array of industries. As companies deploy Internet of Things (IoT) at the edge with greater frequency, they will likely face some common challenges. Among the ones to be expected include:
IoT and Edge Integration
IoT and edge computing must be integrated with existing core systems in areas such as manufacturing, finance, and engineering. Many of these are legacy systems and, as such, often lack APIs to enable easy integration with IoT technology. As a result, companies often require batch ETL software to upload edge data to these core systems. However, this is likely to change in the coming years, as most legacy system vendors are developing their own APIs to better facilitate IoT integration.
IoT security is a perennial concern and one driver behind the recently passed Federal Cybersecurity Improvement Act. While this will certainly help ease IoT security compliance, it doesn’t address the challenges that may arise when knowledge workers with little security expertise are tasked with monitoring the edge and IoT security. To get in front of this, companies must train all end-users who will be interacting with the edge in security fundamentals and frequently review permissions and access associated with these technologies.
It’s important that organizations have a comprehensive approach to IoT support. While end-users may be tasked with monitoring the portions of the edge that directly link to their operations, IT should still assume overall maintenance and support of edge IoT.
Because IoT devices are often installed in dangerous areas or places that are difficult to access, it’s essential that IoT solutions are self-sustaining and require little to no maintenance for long periods of time. Additionally, IoT products are frequently expected to perform in extreme conditions. Because many off-the-shelf IoT devices can’t meet these requirements, companies will frequently need to collaborate with solution providers to ensure that they have the right IoT technology in place. As edge computing adoption continues, durability will become an increasingly important requirement for any edge solution.
Available bandwidth has the potential to become a serious edge concern as more devices and sensors are deployed, collecting and transmitting ever-growing data volumes. Ultimately, lack of bandwidth could compromise network performance and limit companies’ ability to act on real-time data. One solution is deploying distributed IoT systems at the edge that use local bandwidth and then schedule data transmissions at periodic bursts throughout the day. However, there are some cases in which organizations can’t afford to wait to receive critical IoT data. That’s why it’s essential to first define the business-critical data and the framework for processing, analyzing, and storing this information as efficiently as possible.