Mobile Apps have been around almost as long as the mobile phone. While programs were developed for use on the ‘brick’ phones as the early mobiles were called in the 1970s, the first apps as we recognize them today were created in the early 1990s. They weren’t popularized until a few years later when PALM and Blackberry released their PDAs with some of the first screen icons to tap to activate the application program.
The technology grew along with demand, but there was no major leap until the development of Mobile Edge Computing roughly twelve years ago to reduce congestion on the system of mobile networks. Over the last decade, technicians and software engineers began applying some of the same solutions to the growing load on computer networks since the link between traditional and mobile computing grows closer every year. moreover, the expansion of Cloud computing and storage services bring offered
In September 2016, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) officially changed the name of Moblie Edge Computing within their organization to Multi-access Edge Computing to reflect what was happening and to keep the recognized MEC acronym. The name has caught on with other organizations, and many have now followed suit when talking about the problem and probable solutions.
The goal of Multi-access Edge Computing has not changed, only expanded. The requirement now is to reduce congestion on all computing networks, not just mobiles, improve application performance by pushing the actual task processing closer to the user. Finally, MEC seeks to improve the delivery of both the apps and content to each user.
This incredible environment is now one of ultra-low latency, operating across high bandwidth with real-time access to radio network information. Cloud computing capacity with MEC is beyond anything engineers could have predicted back in 1973 with the first mobile phone. Making the most of the opportunities in this new value chain means not simply following the trends and concerns, but riding the front edge of them.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are the next steps. While AI is an improvement to nearly every type of operation, on the cloud or otherwise, ML is an AI discipline specifically developed to learn and problem-solve by observation, analysis, self-training, and experience. In other words, it mimics human learning at speeds not humanly possible.
Advances in ML improve apps and any other program or function operating on cloud computing. The time for operation moves so quickly now that many other non-AI or ML systems simply cannot keep up. Improved function and speed also serves to reduce the cost of operation for the company leaning forward. Apps on an ML system do not only use it but also teach the system to function more efficiently with every operation.
That brings us to the Internet of Things or IoT. Say that, and most people still think of an office full of desktop and laptop computers. That list now includes smartphones and tablets for mobile access to any number of computer systems. Buildings, vehicles, and other items such as storage containers also make up the IoT as well. Each of them can be embedded in software, sensors, a network connection, and other electronics to send and receive data.
In these expanded, physical networks, MEC becomes the link which makes it possible for a company to become an international entity. With the right app, a warehouse manager in Mali receiving goods from the US can track the cargo container from the time it is loaded and sealed to the moment it arrives at his loading dock.
Augment that with an ML network, and he can determine its exact GPS location out in the Atlantic. If the cargo requires refrigeration, he can also monitor and control the temperature 24/7. Maintaining this type of oversight is why many cloud computing companies continue to develop and improve their location-based services.
Linking these devices to a GPS has other advantages as well, depending on the requirement. Individuals using a fitness tracker tailoring a training run can use geographic information to maximize the amount of time at higher elevations or plan for a flat track to gauge time and speed. Trucking companies can better plan routes and alternates when they have access to continually updating map and traffic information. There is also, of course, the military applications for moving troops and material as efficiently as possible.
Since none of this is possible without being able to trust the MEC system, security is always a leading concern for users. Data theft and service stoppages are common threats now, with updates to encryptions and other countermeasures happening on a daily basis to combat foreign entities and hostile individuals. One of the most effective methods to protect data and its cloud platform is pass-through authentication.
Authorized personnel logon to the required server via a network connection on a company owned device or a personal tablet or phone once it has been registered with the server, examined for malware and the appropriate app is downloaded. Authentication happens once the server accepts and then passes the logon information to a Domain Controller (DC) located on the platform. The DC and the user’s device are the only machines that have the correct password or another authentication key. After the DC registers approval of the logon, it sends the validation back to the server and access is granted to the user.
All of this happens over a secure channel governed by a Network Logon (Netlogon) Remote Protocol. The NRP has no authority or responsibility in the process; it only serves to move data back and forth. Take credit card approval as an example. The NRP does nothing when it comes to determining eligibility. It only serves as a digital letter-carrier, sending the application to Delaware and then delivers the new card to the applicant.
Staying on the edge of trends and concerns in the new MEC environment is a constant process. The company that can maintain their lead when it comes to security, the IoT, and Machine Learning, can take advantage of the opportunities and expand faster than their counterparts in an instantaneous, global environment.