BMTA Newsletter BMTA Newsletter - Winter 2019/20 | Page 8 Considerations The potential benefits of using the edge in an IIoT application are hard to argue with, however they are not completely without drawbacks. The first barrier is the requirement placed on process knowledge. There must be some initial understanding of the manufacturing process and subsequently the appropriate handling of the output data. Without the requisite understanding, it is difficult to extract value from collected data – or even to know which data to collect in the first place. Another issue to consider is the scale of the solution, in combination with the type of data collected. If the edge node needs to process (for example) imaging or machine vision data from multiple sources, the data throughput is likely to be extremely demanding, requiring more expensive hardware and potentially affecting computation times. By routing all data through an edge node, some of the benefits associated with an IoT solution’s ‘distributed-ness’ are negated. From a security perspective, a compromised edge node represents a much greater security risk than a single compromised IoT device, especially considering that mission-critical operations are more likely to be performed on an edge node than an individual microcontroller. This is not to suggest that an edge node is a net drawback for the security of an IoT solution. The use of an edge node may allow the associated IoT devices to use networking technologies that are easier to secure. Additionally, the superior hardware of an edge node (in comparison with a microcontroller) may allow for more robust encryption and security protocols to be used. Conclusions Edge computing is yet another entry in the toolkit of IIoT solutions. With the potential to reduce costs, accelerate process improvement and lay the groundwork for exciting technologies, edge computing is a natural choice for innovative businesses looking to forge ahead. By building on the lessons learned and good practice, such as those outlined by organisations such as NPL, businesses are enabled to implement and experiment with these technologies and extract additional value from their processes and stay abreast of the latest innovations in industry. Image