Earlier this month, Markets and Markets reported that the Fog Computing market will be worth 203.48 million USD by 2022, and Vodafone IoT reported that 63% of businesses are expecting to have live IoT projects within a year.
Many people will have heard by now of the “Internet of Things”, or maybe even of the “Industrial Internet of Things”, but what about “Fog Computing” and how the two technologies work hand in hand together? Markets and Markets has reported that Fog Computing is expected to grow at its highest rate between 2017 and 2022, and the main reason for this are the rapid adoption rates of the Internet of Things, especially within the industrial sector.
But what is “Fog Computing”?
Fog computing, or “fogging”, can be described as 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 acts as 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 has to be sent to the cloud.
Why fog computing is important to the IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is already beginning to change business landscapes, with the most significant of these occurring in Industrial sectors such as manufacturing, and oil and gas. Connected devices and automation enabled by the IoT are helping to streamline processes, improve operational efficiencies and increase productivity – all of which is helping businesses to reduce costs and increase output. To truly maximise these benefits though, enterprises require an infrastructure that can appropriately support, process and act on the large amounts of data which are generated by the IoT systems. For Industrial businesses this is especially true, as Industrial IoT requires low-latency consumption and fast processing of data so that intelligence can truly be added, which isn’t possible if all decisions require data processing via the cloud; and this is where Fog Computing comes in.
Fog computing enables organisations to essentially cut out the delay which is caused by the data’s roundtrip between the originating device, cloud-based IoT platform, and then the device with the resulting action. By processing the data locally, intelligent decisions can be made immediately instead.
As hybrid networking specialists, Westbase.io are heavily involved in supporting the network edge, where fog computing and the Internet of Things are situated. Our range of wired and wireless solutions therefore have built in fog computing capabilities.
Cradlepoint, for example, offers a “Software Development Kit”, or “SDK”, for their 4G LTE routers, which enables organisations to build and deploy custom applications at the edge of the network on the router itself. It allows users to securely add unique values (proprietary IP) as well as add local intelligence to the router, for example custom alerts.
Similarly, our Sierra Wireless range of 4G LTE gateways and routers have long supported applications on their hardware devices through their “ALEOS Application Framework”. AAF allows users or developers to have direct access to hardware interfaces enabling them to build custom IoT applications.
Ultimately, fog computing is all about helping organisations to manage their network edge intelligently and efficiently – which in turn increases the capabilities of Internet of Things deployments. IoT to-date has seen its foremost success, as noted above, in Industrial sectors and the adoption of fog computing will serve to enhance such systems even more, by allowing them to make immediate decisions at the edge of the network.