What is "The Edge"?

In the IoT industry one often hears about something called ‘the edge’, but what exactly is the edge?

The edge is a component in a product that collects and stores the data instead of the data going straight to the cloud. It could be a sensor, gateway, server, etc. On the edge, the component that is storing the data is typically close to the data. Closeness will depend on use case. For automobiles, it will likely be a couple feet or less, but for a mining application or large manufacturing plant, it could be hundreds of feet or more. Two goals of the edge are keeping the data close to the device, and allowing the user to decide how much, if any, data is sent to the cloud.

The edge is used in many fields such as healthcare, mining, utilities, automobiles, etc. It works very well for applications that may not always be able to connect to the cloud such as mining and aerospace. It also works well for applications that bring in a lot of data. If all the data for these applications was sent to the cloud, it could become very expensive. By using the edge, the data can be stored, but not all data needs to be sent to the cloud. Overall, the edge can be almost anything the user wants it to be as long as it is storing the data and isn’t the cloud.