In a world crammed with diverse applications and web services, it is highly essential to optimize their working. Co-ordination of information is highly essential for efficient rendition of services to make the human life easy and stress free According to an analyst firm Gartner: “the usage of Internet of Things (IOT) will surpass the world population in the year 2020 for the first time”! Pertaining to this, it was soon realized that there was a need to deal with collaborative applications requiring minimal latency in processing and a computing methodology. This was essential to deal with exponential use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices which has led to massive increase in data, thus burdening the cloud system.
Why data management?
Data may be defined as a unit of information represented as quantities, characters or symbols which is used to procure a unique information or parameter. The genesis of insights is data. Thus, data management becomes important especially in this age of analytics. It is noted that data consciousness is directly proportional to the health of the economy of a country. Efficient management of data leads to clarity of numbers which determines the socio-economic parameters in a society, helps in strategic decision making in organizations and streamlining of information amongst many uses.
What is Edge computing and Block chain technology?
Though cloud computing is a solution for large data storage, but it was important to find a one-step solution for management of data that is time driven and generated in remote location away from the centralized location. Thus, emerged the concept of Edge Computing which started in the 1990’s and gained momentum in the 2000’s.
The basic principle in Edge computing involves an edge server positioned between the cloud and the closest possible position of the user. Here the geographic distribution is of preliminary importance, thus saving the data a long travel. Basically, an on-location infrastructure to manage the data is what Edge computing is all about.
Edge Computing is Happy Computing
- Sharing of information in a quick and secured manner to the user
- Low latency response, thus a boon for retail sector and emergency services
- Less network traffic congestion and reduced bandwidth
- Speedier loading of applications
The Blockchain technology is a distributed ledger in a chain of blocks containing information. The block has a data phase which depends on the type of block chain, a Hash which is synonymous to finger print and is useful in identifying the block. Of the many relationships woven by edge computing, the one with the Blockchain technology is perhaps the most unique one.
The bond of Edge computing and Block chain:
Off late there has been a major inclination towards Internet of Things (IoT) thus generating various forms of data, and a mammoth task of processing the generated data to convert it into a useful medium as desired by the users. The future of data management is believed to be with the Edge computing technology and security is a key aspect for this. This makes Blockchain technology its perfect partner. On the other hand, given the large processing power involved in the Blockchain technology, the Edge computing is a great ally, thus making their relationship symbiotic. The amalgamation of Blockchain and Edge computing is very important.
[Source courtesy: https://stlpartners.com/edge-computing/whats-blockchain-got-to-do-with-edge-computing/ ]
Block chain as a Trust chain for Edge computing
- Highly independent, transparent and centralized verification system hence duplication of malicious data is avoided.
- Proper running of hardware in the given environment may be difficult in case of IoT, and this is taken care by integrating Blockchain technology with Edge computing.
- Are you a third party? We don’t have room for you! This helps in avoiding manipulation.
- Integration of Edge computing with Blockchain technology reduces the cost of the product.
- The application of distributed ledger in IoT has been observed to have increased customer satisfaction in retail industry.
The Intellectual property (IP) angle
IP is very important ranging from Biotechnology to Cryptocurrency (off spring of Blockchain). It becomes important to take into consideration the patent data as it determines the future. Digital innovation has changed not only the perception of businesses but also has improved their performance. Innovation takes the technological applications to a next level and shoots up the economy. Hence it becomes an important step to protect the innovations.
In the year 2007, the total number of applications filed related IoT were 5098 and by the year 2018 the total number of applications increased to 18060. The majority of patent filings relate to the applications of IoT, with heavy emphasis on smart cities, automotive, and healthcare. There has been a 300% increase in patent applications related to edge computing technology and around 600% % increase in patent applications related to Blockchain technology in the United states. It has been observed that the Blockchain innovations has attracted individual inventors whereas Edge computing has been the pet of big companies like CISCO, IBM, Microsoft, Horizon and Intel. The rapid increase in filing of patent applications related to IoT defines a healthy growth and strong economics involved in the technology.
- Any technology or application involving Blockchain technology is highly regulated as its not easily approachable, hence convincing the policy makers is not easy. The Banking systems do not agree to fund organizations involving Block chain as they fear that these organizations are in direct competition with them and may take the financial system as a hostage.
- Given the first to file system there has been a race to file patent applications.
- Both Edge computing and Blockchain technology involve software and the patenting of software inventions is a debatable subject matter. Countries like USA are fairly liberal in this aspect, but countries like Indian and many European Nations have stricter laws when it comes to software patenting.
- It becomes difficult to draft well-defined parameters to judge the patentability of innovations involving software.
- Given the dynamism of Edge computing and Blockchain technology, the examination of such applications needs to be expedited and their patent term be reduced. 20 years is a huge timeline for rapidly changing technologies. It has been observed that many software patents are not renewed beyond half the term of grant.
Data and Blockchain technology are being called as 4th Industrial revolution. Edge computing is being widely used in traffic management, smart street lights, semi -autonomous vehicles to name a few With devices ranging from PC, tablets, set-top boxes, television to wearable computers, it can be said that the day to day life of humans is governed largely by the internet. Edge computing and blockchain are seeding digital innovation. It is very important to educate people about the importance of distributed ledger with Edge computing. It is also important for tech giants to have responsible data dissemination and not take the data security for granted. A healthy technological competition amongst the countries can lead to a secure and economically stable global scenario.
Excerpts from discussion @ DC IP FORUM 2020- New market trends in Cryptocurrency and Edge Computing held on January 29th, 2020 at the National press Club, Washington DC