As the fog descends, don’t get lost in the clouds…

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) generates and will continue to generate an unprecedented volume of data. Much of this data is communicated to the cloud for analysis and processing. However, with IoT devices on the frontline or “the edge of the network”, by the time the cloud receives and processes the data, the opportunity to act on it might have passed.

Fog Computing is an emerging architecture that brings components of the cloud to the edge of the network. This method is acutely suited to IoT systems as it accelerates the decision-making and accordingly aims to solve issues that can’t be successfully implemented using “cloud only” solutions or solutions which rely solely on intelligent edge devices.

In many situations, it is not practical to communicate the vast amounts of data generated from thousands of IoT edge devices to the cloud. Additionally, the data generated may not need cloud processing and storage abilities to deliver immediate results at the edge. Fog Computing can avoid having to transmit this data to the cloud conserving bandwidth which can be significant when IoT devices are located in remote locations like a jet engine at 35,000 feet or a deep-sea oil rig.

Fog Computing can also help to address data security and data privacy concerns as data may not need to be transmitted over significant distances or more crucially to the cloud outside the edge jurisdiction. The Fog will also improve system reliability as the data is not being transmitted back and forth across the network so there are fewer chances of the data becoming corrupted or intercepted.

 

 

Image: OpenFog Consortium

 

The OpenFog Consortium (OpenFog) is a public-private organisation formed to accelerate the adoption of fog computing in order to solve the bandwidth, latency and communications challenges associated with the IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, the Tactile Internet and other advanced concepts in the digitised world. The OpenFog Consortium workgroups are working to create an open architecture for fog computing that is necessary to enable interoperability and scalability.

The OpenFog Consortium was founded by ARM, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Princeton University Edge Computing Laboratory in November 2015.