Cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) have become inseparable when one or the other is discussed and with good reason: You really can’t have IoT without the cloud. The cloud, a grander idea that stands on its own, is nonetheless integral to the IoT platform’s success.
The Internet of Things is a system of unrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, and other devices provided with unique identifiers (an IP address) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
Whereas the traditional internet consists of clients – PCs, tablets, and smartphones, primarily – the Internet of Things could be cars, street signs, refrigerators, or watches. Whereas traditional Internet input and interaction relies on human input, IoT is almost totally automated.
Because the bulk of IoT devices are not in traditional data centres and almost all are connected wirelessly, they are reliant on the cloud for connectivity. For example, connected cars that send up terabytes of telemetry aren’t always going to be near a data centre to transmit their data, so they need cloud connectivity.
The Role Of Cloud Computing In IoT
IoT has been embraced by many industries around the world, including precision agriculture, health care, energy, transportation, building management, and so forth. Regardless of industry, IoT generates a huge amount of data, which needs to be processed, and most IoT devices do not have the compute or storage capacity to do it locally.
Therefore, data must be sent up the chain to a data centre for processing. Managing the flow and storage of this data is a consuming task for enterprises. At best, the IoT device can decide what should be processed and what can be discarded, but that is still a large amount of data movement to data centres for processing.
Connectivity of the devices in and of itself does not provide benefits to people. It’s what those devices enable that makes IoT valuable. Again, many of these devices are compute-constrained, so connectivity to cloud services helps the devices to provide their value proposition.
Therefore, the cloud provides:
Services: IoT depends on the cloud for its services since most IoT devices cannot provide them on their own.
Scalability: Someday, every car will be a smart car, generating gigabytes if not terabytes of data. That data has to go somewhere to be processed, and one central data centre would be overwhelmed. So smaller, redundant IoT edge data centres scattered around the city would allow for scale-out capacity.
Increased performance: The large amounts of data produced by IoT devices need extreme performance to interact and connect with one another. IoT in the cloud provides the connectivity that is necessary to share information between the devices and make meaning from it at a fast pace.
Types Of IoT
There are three major types of IoT: industrial, commercial, and home. Let’s break them down:
Industrial Internet of Things: Called IIoT for short, industrial Internet of Things covers things like connected factory equipment. IIoT devices are primarily sensors used to monitor equipment in case of malfunction but can also include everything from remote monitoring of computer-chipped livestock on a commercial farm to a commercial delivery truck.
The idea behind IIoT is to provide much more useful information than a flashing red light. IIoT sensor data is used to provide actionable insights into physical events and the environment with specificity. It could warn of hardware failure, power fluctuations, heat build-up and other points of failure. While most IoT applications operate in the public cloud, most IIoT systems operate mainly in private clouds.
Commercial IoT: Commercial IoT, sometimes called consumer IoT, is a term applied to IoT for business enablement. Think of it as Bluetooth and RFID all grown up. Sensors, micro-controllers, actuator devices, and other systems allow for business-oriented use like intelligent asset tracking, smart offices and buildings, connected lighting, sensing and monitoring of all types, and location services.
Home IoT: Also called smart home IoT, it covers a range of smart devices that you can control remotely for automated house maintenance. It’s one thing to program the security alarm to arm and disarm certain hours, but with the smart home, you can program them with your smartphone, including locked doors you left open. Or have your refrigerator send you an alert if food is running low, or perhaps turn on the air conditioner when the home detects you have left work and are headed home.
Why IoT Cloud?
IoT clouds offer an efficient, flexible, and scalable model for delivering the infrastructure and services needed to power IoT devices and applications for businesses with limited resources. IoT clouds offer on-demand, cost-efficient hyper-scale so organizations can leverage the significant potential of IoT without having to build the underlying infrastructure and services from scratch.
Credits – Andy Patrizio – Datamation