Earlier this week, Business Insider reported that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the course of the next five years and by 2020 34 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, 24 billion of which will be IoT devices. With a growing demand for IoT solutions in enterprises, the need for data to be processed quickly, substantially and on-site is essential. This is where “Fog Computing” comes in.
Cloud Computing, is defined as a group of computers and servers connected together over the Internet to form a network. Today, as many enterprises and large organisations are beginning to adopt the Internet of Things, the need for large amounts of data to be accessed more quickly, and locally, is ever-growing. This is where the concept of “Fog Computing” comes to play.
Fog Computing, or “fogging”, is a distributed infrastructure in which certain application processes or services are managed at the edge of the network by a smart device, but others are still managed in the cloud. It is, essentially, a middle layer between the cloud and the hardware to enable more efficient data processing, analysis and storage, which is achieved by reducing the amount of data which needs to be transported to the cloud.
An example within the Internet of Things could be a smart lighting system which operates based on movement. When there is movement detected this data needs to be processed to affect the outcome that the lights are turned on, and vice versa when no movement has been detected for a period of time, a decision needs to be made that the lights should now be turned off. This data and resulting decisions are best processed at the edge. The company running the smart lighting system may also want to track energy efficiency and how long the lights were on for though. The data which provides this “bigger picture” of how the smart lighting is being used would require data to be collated and processed by a reporting system run in the cloud.
Ken Hosac, VP of Business Development at Cradlepoint, defines the concept of Fog Computing as an “extension of cloud computing to the utmost Edge of the Network”. He states that in order to do this Fog Computing is:
- Adding process and memory resources to Edge devices
- Pre-processing collected data at the Edge
- Sending aggregated results to the cloud
As enterprises adopting IoT solutions see the added benefits of reliable 4G technologies, and expand their use of it accordingly, it has become clear that current cloud computing systems won’t necessarily be able to handle the entire load of data – and that’s where fog computing comes into play.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the Cloud High Performance Computing (HPC) market is estimated to grow to $10.83 billion by 2020, up from $4.37 billion in 2015. At the same time, over the course of the next five years, it is predicted that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions (according to Business Insider), it is clear that with these figures, investment in fog computing will remain a hot topic amongst investors and businesses.
Westbase.io’s range of 4G LTE networking solutions are all enabled for fog computing. Providing intelligent gateways and routers, our product range is able to make decisions at the network edge – both specific to the network itself and the application it connects. Our range of Sierra Wireless gateways for example, feature the ALEOS Application Framework; an application environment and integrated toolset for building embedded IoT applications.
It is clear that the Internet of Things is growing every day, and with this growth companies need to find more efficient and effective ways to manage their communications – fog computing is a crucial part of this.