The roles of cloud computing and fog computing in the Internet of Things revolution

The Internet of Things (IoT) is starting to transform how we live our lives, but all of the added convenience and increased efficiency comes at a cost.

The IoT is generating an unprecedented amount of data, which in turn puts a tremendous strain on the Internet infrastructure. As a result, companies are working to find ways to alleviate that pressure and solve the data problem.

Cloud computing will be a major part of that, especially by making all of the connected devices work together. But there are some significant differences between cloud computing and the Internet of Things that will play out in the coming years as we generate more and more data.

Below, we’ve outlined the differences between the cloud and the IoT, detailed the role of cloud computing in the IoT, and explained “fog computing,” the next evolution of cloud computing.

Difference Between Cloud Computing and IoT

Cloud computing, often called simply “the cloud,” involves delivering data, applications, photos, videos, and more over the Internet to data centers. IBM has helpfully broken down cloud computing into six different categories:

  • Software as a service (SaaS): Cloud-based applications run on computers off site (or “in the cloud”). Other people or companies own and operate these devices, which connect to users’ computers, typically through a web browser.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS): Here, the cloud houses everything necessary to build and deliver cloud-based applications. This removes the need to purchase and maintain hardware, software, hosting, and more.
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): IaaS provides companies with servers, storage, networking, and data centers on a per-use basis.
  • Public Cloud: Companies own and operate these spaces and provide quick access to users over a public network.
  • Private Cloud: Similar to a public cloud, except only one entity (user, organization, company, etc.) has access.
  • Hybrid Cloud: Takes the foundation of a private cloud but provides public cloud access.

The Internet of Things, meanwhile, refers to the connection of devices (other than the usual examples such as computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT. And as the Internet of Things surges in the coming years, more devices will join that list.

The Internet of Things and cloud computing are different, but each will have their own job in tackling this new world of data.

IoT Data ChallengesIoT Data Challenges

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IoT Data Challenges


Role of Cloud Computing in the Internet of Things

Cloud computing and the IoT both serve to increase efficiency in our everyday tasks, and the two have a complimentary relationship. The IoT generates massive amounts of data, and cloud computing provides a pathway for that data to travel to its destination.

Amazon Web Services, one of several IoT cloud platforms at work today, points out six advantages and benefits of cloud computing:

  • Variable expense allows you to only pay for the computing resources you use, and not more.
  • Providers such as AWS can achieve greater economies of scale, which reduce costs for customers.
  • You no longer need to guess your infrastructure capacity needs.
  • Cloud computing increases speed and agility in making resources available to developers.
  • You can save money on operating data centers.
  • You can deploy your applications worldwide in a matter of minutes.

Some of the more popular IoT cloud platforms on the market include Amazon Web Services, GE Predix, Google Cloud IoT, Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, IBM Watson, and Salesforce IoT Cloud.

Edge Computing ModelEdge Computing Model

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Edge Computing Model


Fog Computing…The Next Evolution of Cloud Computing?

Fog computing is more than just a clever name. Also known as edge computing, provides a way to gather and process data at local computing devices instead of in the cloud or at a remote data center. Under this model, sensors and other connected devices send data to a nearby edge computing device. This could be a gateway device, such as a switch or router, that processors and analyzes this data.

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, forecasts that 5.8 billion IoT devices owned by enterprises and governments will use fog computing in 2020, up from 570 million devices in 2015. Many IoT devices don’t have their own computing power, and fog computing typically provides a better way to collect and process data from these devices than the cloud does.

For more information on this topic, BI Intelligence has compiled a detailed report on Edge Computing in the IoT.

Much More to Learn

Cloud computing and the IoT will transform the way we store and transmit the massive amounts of data we will generate in the coming years. But the Internet of Things will profoundly affect other areas of everyday life in the next generation.

That’s why BI Intelligence has spent months putting together the greatest and most detailed report on the IoT: The Internet of Things: Examining How The IoT Will Affect The World.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the IoT universe, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the fast-moving world of the IoT.

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