As more IoT devices are deployed (with billions to come in the near future) there is a substantial push towards on-device analytics, programmability, and command/control for critical applications. This is especially relevant for businesses that are driving operational transformation with remote or industrial networks. As a result of these factors, all roads point to fog and edge computing as critical practices for meeting the future demands of Industrial IoT (IIoT). Below you will find our list of top news stories that highlight the trends, research data, predictions and best practices around edge and fog computing over the past few weeks.
If you want to read about an edge computing application being deployed with our customers today, read about the “Small SCADA” edge application here.
Edge Computing Supports the Growing Needs of IoT Devices
An article recently featured in Network World by Raj Talluri (@rajtalluri) looks at the increasing power of everyday IoT devices. This newly achieved power results in reduced data center loads and cloud-based capabilities that are leading to IoT innovation. As a result, on-device computing and analytics (i.e. edge computing) are growing in importance.
“Edge computing delivers tangible value in both consumer and industrial IoT use cases. It can help reduce connectivity costs by sending only the information that matters instead of raw streams of sensor data, which is particularly valuable on devices that connect via LTE/cellular such as smart meters or asset trackers. Also, when dealing with a massive amount of data produced by sensors in an industrial facility or a mining operation for instance, having the ability to analyze and filter the data before sending it can lead to huge savings in network and computing resources.”
The future of IoT Deployments Points to Fog Computing
A recent TechTarget article by Alan R. Earls looks ahead at fog computing. It notes that large amounts of data required for IoT devices is leading to a future that includes fog computing and edge IT. The article reveals that IoT leverages more devices than ever was conceivable. In fact, the most recent estimates foresee more than 50 Billion IoT devices deployed in the coming years. These devices are often deployed outside the data center, far beyond the reach of IT professionals. As a result these devices are going to be increasingly software-defined to allow for remote management, revealing the need for critical fog IT strategy planning.
“Tomorrow’s cloud will need to extend beyond the walls of a service provider’s data center, seeping into the business — becoming almost pervasive via edge devices and local connection hubs.”
Successful Fog Implementation
With Fog Computing on the horizon, an EE Times post by Chuck Byers of @OpenFog, offers tips for successful fog implementation. The post focuses on recognition of where fog techniques are needed, spanning software across fog nodes North-South and East-West, understanding the pillars of the fog as identified by OpenFog, Making fog software modular and linked by standard APIs, and tips for making each installation very easy.
“Software is the key to the performance, versatility and trustworthiness of fog implementations. Make it manageable and interoperable by carefully partitioning it into functional blocks. The interfaces between these blocks should be based on well tested, standard APIs and messaging frameworks. Open source projects can be a good starting point for fog software development once you’re identified the right properties for your applications.”
The Transformative Nature of IoT
A post in Computer Business Review discusses the shift in IoT from optimization from transformation. According to the post, more than half of IoT projects have met or exceeded their goals even though most are sticking to improving company efficiencies rather than transforming business processes. A recent survey states that for the 47 percent of companies which failed to meet IoT goals, two reasons stood out: company culture and a shortage of skills.This further demonstrates the importance of getting the whole company behind IoT projects in order to have the greatest chance of success. The article also highlights the early, but growing importance of edge computing.
“Edge computing, where computing and analysis is carried out near where data is gathered, not in a central data centre, is continuing to grow in importance but there’s still progress to be made. About 30 per cent of sensor data is currently analysed ‘at the edge’, the rest goes to a traditional data centre which creates issues of latency and bandwidth for the network. But looking forward those surveyed expected more than 70 per cent of sensor data would stay at the edge within five years.”
A New Look at Data Through Edge Computing
A TechTarget IoT Agenda Blog by Jason Andersen (@JasonTAndersen) examines how more engineers are placing a higher importance on data produced by their automation systems than on the tools needed to make them happen. This evolution in thinking reflects the increasing potential that data and advanced analytics offer enterprises in untapped business value, especially looking at emerging practices like edge computing.
“Currently, most industrial enterprises are in the ‘informed’ stage, where they are starting to understand and realize the potential of IIoT, but have not made strides in tapping its potential. However, many are beginning to look ahead and think more tactically about progressing to the next phases.”
Could Edge Computing Weaken the Cloud?
An opinion piece by Bob O’Donnell (@bobodtech) in TechSpot examines the potential changes we can expect to see as we move closer to edge computing. While he doesn’t see cloud going away by any means, he does expect a shift towards edge computing in some areas.
“Exactly what some of these new edge applications turn out to be remains to be seen, but it’s clear that we’re at the dawn of an exciting new age for computing and tech in general. Importantly, it’s an era that’s going to drive the growth of new types of products and services, as well as shift the nexus of power amongst tech industry leaders. For those companies that can adapt to the new realities that edge computing models will start to drive over the next several years, it will be exciting times. But for those that can’t—even if they seem nearly invincible today—the potential for becoming a footmark in history could end up being surprisingly real.”
Clearly, edge and fog computing are an important part of the future of IoT device deployments. For remote networks, the ability to execute intelligence at the edge can transform the way businesses operate.