Planes, Trains and Automobiles – At the Edge

Data is on the move.

There many, many forecasts and predictions on the amount of data that is being created each day, and the numbers are staggering. Creating lots of data is not new. We’ve been doing it for years. Billions of healthcare claims, digital images, phone records, text messages and sensor readings have been collected, stored and for the most part, forgotten.

The reason for the low value of all this data is that it was stored in a central location, and to get any value from it you had to sift through billions and billions of non-relevant data “records” to find that one useful nugget.

The edge is getting smarter, and it’s producing even more data. Shipping that data back to a central platform for is not an option. Decisions need to be made in real time. And, data is becoming “mobile.” Not in the sense of mobile communications, but mobile in that it’s being created “on the move.”

Let’s take trains for example. Today’s modern locomotives are chocked full of sensors, monitoring very complex systems. But the “data domain” doesn’t stop there. All of the train cars also contain sensors. And modern passenger trains are becoming entertainment centers. And even rails are becoming “smart.”

So, if you think about all of these systems acting in concert, along with the stations, crossings and central switching systems, it’s easy to see that sending data back to a central cloud (IoT platform) and waiting on a response is not feasible.

Analyzing the data at the edge enables all kinds of new features. Take rail maintenance for example. Historically, operators would analyze terabytes of sensor and video image data to inspect tracks, looking for something out of the ordinary.

By moving the analysis to the edge, you can greatly reduce the amount of data sent back to a central cloud for processing, improving maintenance response time, reducing potential failures and risks, and lowering costs. Who wouldn’t mind getting rid of a few more cloud servers…?

This is just a small example of the almost endless number of new applications that will be popping up all around us – at the edge. Getting them to work together will be tricky. Lots of moving parts – applications, devices, networking, virtualization…

The key will be intelligent, domain-specific orchestration that optimizes each element of the overall system. That’s what we do.

Contact us and let’s talk about how we can get your data on the move and working for you!