Edge Computing Takes Centre Stage

Eclipse Foundation announces the Edge Native Working Group

This week, the Eclipse Foundation announced the launch of the Edge Native Working Group at the Edge Computing World conference, in San Jose, California. The foundation will strive for the evolution and broad adoption of open-source software for edge computing. It’s expected that the initiative will focus on ways to solve the challenges endemic to edge computing: a heterogenous hardware landscape, low bandwidth, latency, limited power, and security.

The Eclipse Project was originally created by IBM in November 2001 and supported by a consortium of software suppliers. Then, in January 2004, the Eclipse Foundation was set up as an independent non-profit corporation to allow a supplier-neutral, open and transparent community to be established for Eclipse. The foundation provides four important services to the Eclipse community: intellectual property management, ecosystem development, development process and IT infrastructure.

The Edge Native Working Group will focus on the near-term creation of an end-to-end software stack that will support deployments of today’s most transformative technologies. Founding members of the group include ADLINK, Bosch, Edgeworx, Eurotech, Huawei, Intel, Kynetics and Siemens.

Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings computing power and storage physically closer to applications so as to improve performance, increase efficiency and save bandwidth. Some high-growth application areas are fuelling the need for edge computing. They include artificial intelligence, cloud gaming, augmented reality, the Internet of things and autonomous vehicles. These next-generation areas need low latency, bandwidth thinning, application autonomy, and security, which cannot be solved by cloud computing alone and calls for a new approach for the infrastructure platform that enables greater intelligence at the point of use.

An example is an artificial intelligence application that analyses images from thousands of security cameras installed at an airport. The cost to constantly stream large amounts of data to a cloud data centre for processing and analysis would be expensive and time-consuming. The solution could be to concentrate the artificial intelligence application or algorithm and all the associated computing capabilities locally at the airport so the data only has to flow over the wires and Wi-Fi already installed.

Over the years, the Eclipse Foundation has built up a sizeable Internet of things community, with 41 open-source projects from more than 40 members, and over 4 million lines of code produced. Now the foundation wants to do the same for edge computing. This is something that organizations believe is increasingly critical to their success. Companies encompassing various industries can take advantage of the open platforms that the Edge Native Working Group is developing, to build customized network-edge applications for their specific markets and opportunities.

The Eclipse Foundation model will remain a unique and proven model for open-source development through services like IP Due Diligence, annual releases, development community support, and ecosystem development. Artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicle applications are two great examples of why there’s massive interest in edge computing. Pushing applications out to the edge of a network is the only way to efficiently transfer and analyse the massive amounts of data that artificial intelligence applications rely on. And, it’s the only way to achieve the sub-one-millisecond latency that self-driving cars need.

Although the Edge Native Working Group starts to fill an important gap for the Eclipse Foundation, it will need to position itself carefully in the wider market. This is because the open-source options for edge computing are already broad and have strong momentum, thanks to the work of the Linux Foundation with its LF Edge initiative. This is an umbrella project, encompassing EdgeX and Fledge for industrial uses, Baetyl for helping cloud-native apps work better at the edge, Akraino Edge Stack for telecom operators, Home Edge for domestic routers, and the Edge Virtualization Engine. LF Edge has many of the same members as the Edge Native Working Group.