Let’s say that your job is to monitor oil well operations across a small country. You have a device installed at every oil pumpjack, the mechanism that pumps oil out of the ground from an existing well. This device monitors local weather and pump operations. It even automates local processes on the pumpjack.
Collectively, these devices are known as edge computers. They have their own processors, local storage systems, operating systems, and networking interfaces that allow them to communicate with a centralized collection and analysis system. This centralized system uses artificial intelligence and data analytics to determine when human operators need to be dispatched. For instance, the device can determine when a pump motor is about to fail or when oil flow is too high or too low.