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Dr Colin Smithers, Founder & CEO of REDTAIL Telematics on Edge computing

We’ve all read about Edge computing. Some of you may wonder what it is, but it’s all the rage so surely you know?  It’s not that new really, Redtail has been doing it since its formation.

In Telematics and IoT generally, the cost of data is high and needs to be minimised.  In every dimension viz. financial cost, energy, range and latency (how long it will take messages to get through) minimisation is imperative – to name but four.

Hence it is always better to do any heavy computing prior to sending the data over the expensive data link.  Possibly also to do data compression prior to sending to minimise the load further.

Any driving instructor will tell you it is not good to brake while cornering.

Redtail’s favourite example is our automotive black boxes watching driver behaviour while cornering. Any driving instructor will tell you it is not good to brake while cornering. Instead, we should brake first and then perform the cornering manoeuvre.

Redtail’s algorithms watch for such unwanted behaviour and on finding it produce the message ‘corner braking’. This message is a single binary digit – ‘bit’ – of digital information.

All the computing has already been done at the Edge of the network.



Historic examples of Edge computing

Many things in engineering are based on previous developments and Redtail are not claiming to be Edge computing’s inventor. Diagrams of the Apollo-8 moon lander imply huge amounts of edge computing, e.g.:

– In the medical telematics used watching the astronauts

– The Voyager deep space probe with its hugely constrained communications

– The first radiosonde balloons that sent back properties of the atmosphere as they were flown aloft in 1931

Because it makes huge sense in the world of limited bandwidth and expensive communications.

What then is it that Redtail claim?

That we perform custom edge computing to take your specific requirements and boil them down to a reasonable minimum.  We help you save money in comms bills across your entire estate. For larger estates, we manage (100,000 + devices), savings derived from Edge computing can be upwards of £10,000 per month.

For heavy data users, it would be many times this amount.


This carries across to the energy usage

For battery powered devices this may be hugely significant. Battery life can be extended by tens of percent for moderate usage and by significantly more for heavy data tasks.

Latency improves because cell towers are less loaded and range to cell towers can increase as data rate requirements reduce.

Please allow me to reiterate for compelling reasons of cost, energy, range and latency.  Edge computing is a winner!