You may have heard of intelligence at the edge but found yourself not wanting to admit that the concept can be daunting. However, intelligence at the edge—sometimes referred to as simply the intelligent edge—is an important IoT term to understand both now and into the future. 

What is intelligence at the edge?

“Intelligence at the edge” refers to systems and platforms in which data is processed and analyzed close to the data’s source, (a sensor measuring temperature) or destination (an actuator controlling a valve). When the intelligent edge is truly put to work, it incorporates the processing and analysis of the data for decision-making at the edge.  

Intelligent edge systems can be compared against more traditional options, where sensor and actuator data are managed in a cloud platform.  However, intelligent edge systems allow for faster decision making, reduced latency, less data traffic between the cloud and the edge, and less need for compute resources in the cloud—and ultimately lower costs to send, store, analyze and act upon the data.  

IoT gateways are an example of intelligence at the edge host platforms, as gateway applications can be used to process, interpret, and manage data without requiring cloud applications for processing. 

Need more info on IoT gateways? Check out our guide: What is an IoT Gateway? 

Why push intelligence to the edge?

Gateway applications can manage data to and from the edge without cloud platform connectivity:

  • Efficient use of data channel - upload only “rich” data, not all data
  • Ability to take action even if no network connection is available
  • Faster processing of raw data
  • Less backhaul traffic