End users have made it clear that an industrial tablet must be a conduit for advancing data transmission and processing technologies rather than an impediment. According to Statista, IoT spending by discrete manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare, and energy will quadruple in 2020 from 2015 levels. These sectors are all relying on big data, IoT sensors, analytics and more to refine processes beyond the edge of the network, which has given rise to edge computing.
The rugged Android tablet is fast becoming a critical link in realizing that data processing and access shift in real time. Custom tablets for IoT use is a driver of that trend. To understand how that’s true, we need a basic understanding of edge computing and how it affects countless industries.
What is Edge Computing?
Edge computing is all about processing data at the edge of the network nearest the source of the data. This reduces the costs, time delays, network bandwidth needs, and latency that comes with processing data through central data centers. The idea is to leverage resources that may not be continuously connected to a network, which is where an industrial Android tablet comes in.
Moving computing closer to the edge of the network allows companies to process data and analyze it dynamically in real time. Data analytics is being leveraged by numerous sectors to make real time productivity, performance, and cost decisions. This has real-world ramifications when these sectors face the limits imposed by network connectivity and latency issues.
Overcoming Network Connectivity and Data Latency Challenges
It’s clear that IoT sensors used in various sectors can provide valuable information for making critical decisions. But to make the most of that sensor data they need the power of edge computing and an industrial tablet to make it viable for many sectors and in many settings.
Network connectivity in the field isn’t always reliable, which could render cloud solutions unworkable, and lead to costly downtime. This is true from the heart of a smart city to the remote oil fields of energy producers and in-transit fleets and their goods in the manufacturing supply chain among others that all rely on rugged tablets.
Edge Computing and Rugged Tablets: A Heavenly Match
Edge computing shifts intelligence and data gathering to the edge of the network in end devices, or in connected collocated infrastructure. This makes it possible for sensor data to be gathered, stored, accessed, and analyzed locally in real time with industrial tablets.
The sea change here is that end users across sectors have the information, application and processing access anywhere at any time. With IoT and edge computing in the mix, users now have a self-contained tablet designed for all the following:
- Use of internal applications and storage
- Communication with microservices stored on the edge
- Cloud communication and data processing
The ability to access all of these options provides a layer of backup and seamless processing that can transform use cases across many industries.
Rugged Tablet and Edge Computing Use Cases
In healthcare, the ability to gather, store, generate, and analyze critical patient data with no need to be in constant contact with a network infrastructure is critical in rural and remote disaster recovery scenarios. By interfacing with an edge data center, IoT devices can extend the reach of existing networks so medical personnel can access critical patient data, perform medical procedures and engage with experts via telehealth.
In the broader supply chain and fleet management, edge computing and an industrial Android tablet enable fleet and city vehicles equipped with IoT sensors to monitor tire and engine performance, speed, and load tracking for access and analysis in the field. Onboard computers and telematics boxes can continue gathering and saving data during network downtime. The driver or checkpoint personnel can access this data with a rugged tablet.
In oil and gas, edge computing and rugged tablets enable field workers to detect machinery level faults and output flow by interfacing with edge data centers to provide the heavy lifting processing. Equally important is the rugged tablet’s ability access onboard testing applications and store data for later download and analysis. These harsh environments often require a custom rugged tablet, often specifically designed for intrinsic safety in explosive environments.
Energy and petroleum workers can monitor power levels and make changes in the field to avoid costly downtime. This is a growing list that spans all manufacturing sectors where edge computing, automation and rugged tablets meet.
It’s important to remember that as technology advances, many industries have one foot in the future and one in the past with technology. That’s why an industrial tablet must be capable of interfacing with either legacy, current, or future equipment as workflow demands evolve. This interoperability is critical to maximizing productivity while minimizing downtime and financial expenditure through costly and time-consuming workarounds.