Edge-Cloud continuum

Research focus

A continuous data space from the edge to the cloud

The internet of things (IoT) is changing the demands placed on computer technology. The concept of a clear separation between decentralized data processing and network computing in remote data centers has become outdated. Instead, the seamless integration of edge and cloud computing enables storage capacity and computing power to be automatically used at the location where it makes the most sense in terms of efficiency and economic viability. This has given rise to new business models across the entire digital value chain.

Researching and developing implementable technology solutions in the field of edge-cloud continuum is the overarching focus of research at the Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Internet Technologies CCIT. The aim is to combine the advantages of edge and cloud computing to create a continuous data space in which computing power is automatically and dynamically shifted as needed, depending on the volume of data and latency requirements.


Merging edge and cloud computing

When processes need to be performed within a fraction of a second, computing power and storage space at the edge are used (i.e., local sensors, machines or devices). These edge devices filter, manipulate, distribute, optimize or compress data where it is generated. Local processing reduces latency times to a minimum, lowers the network’s bandwidth usage and ensures production continuity even if the internet connection is disrupted.

Lengthy, computationally intensive tasks that are not time-sensitive, such as continually training an AI algorithm or running simulations, take place in the cloud. Here, storage space and computing power are scalable and the costs manageable, with low initial investments.

Data space connectors, such as Dataspace Connector IDSC or Eclipse Dataspace Connector EDC, are used to ensure a dynamic data flow in the continuum. Data can be sustainably processed, retrieved and distributed in a closed cycle in order to generate new knowledge.


Hybrid technology solutions at all levels

The research work of Fraunhofer CCIT focuses on implementable technology solutions for the edge-cloud continuum, which range from trustworthy IoT technologies for sensors and communication modules to intelligent and secure data spaces, and even innovative machine learning methods. The researchers also offer support in implementing and integrating individual components in order to transform singular technologies into customized product solutions.

The edge-cloud continuum in practice



Digital transformation in the metalworking industry

Harnessing the edge-cloud continuum in press plants can achieve time and cost savings while reducing waste. smartNOTCH (an intelligent slot nut) sensors and the F-Scanner 1D record local process data and then AI in the digital twin in the cloud determines the optimal parameters for the pressing process, continuously learning from cross-company data.


Smart Intersection

Safe and efficient autonomous driving

Sensors in autonomous vehicles and in infrastructure are used to record traffic. AI at the edge then detects potential hazards and takes action in a matter of seconds to protect road users. When there is a high volume of traffic, data from vehicles, intersections and traffic lights is processed in the cloud in order to make traffic safer and more efficient. This transition from edge to cloud is seamless.



A smart screw connection for safe and efficient maintenance

The smart screw connection Q-Bo® monitors the preload force of safety-relevant screws in bridges, wind turbines, vehicles or machines. Minimal changes are detected at the edge and transmitted wirelessly to the cloud. Here, the measurement data is analyzed in order to identify at an early stage when maintenance is required.