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The Internet of Things: Hype or Reality?

Having spent several days last week at the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai, I am more convinced than ever that the Internet of Things (IoT) is not some hyped-up futuristic vision of what could be, but a present-day reality that is transforming businesses and industries here and now.

In this blog series over the past six months, I have touched on many of the technology and business factors to consider while planning an Internet of Things (IoT) deployment—from access technologies to emerging standards and the convergence of IT and organizational technology (OT) . I spent three blogs discussing fog computing, analytics, and applications, and was happy to be part of the announcement of the OpenFog Consortium last month. All of this focus on IoT culminated last week, when the IoT World Forum highlighted both well-established IoT solutions and numerous IoT startups that are gearing up to change the future.

Successful IoT deployments integrate operational control systems with enterprise information systems for greater visibility, efficiency, and security.

Successful IoT deployments integrate operational control systems with enterprise information systems for greater visibility, efficiency, and security.

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OpenFog Consortium Gains Momentum as Fog Picks Up Steam

This week, I’m joining leaders from industry, academia, and government at the Internet of Things World Forum (#IoTWF) in Dubai, and fog computing is a hot topic in many of our discussions. As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more pervasive in our homes, cars, city services, and across industries, fog computing will become an essential technology for capturing value in many IoT use cases.

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Anil Menon President, Smart + Connected Communities at Cisco and John Defterios, Emerging Market Editor with CNN talk briefly about the newly formed OpenFog Consortium at the IoTWF.

That is why I am particularly happy to be representing the OpenFog Consortium, as well as Cisco, at this global event. The consortium was formed to accelerate the deployment of fog technologies and to provide industry and academic leadership in developing fog computing frameworks and architectures. Cisco has been working for many months with the other founding members—Intel, Microsoft, Dell, ARM, and Princeton University—to form this new industry body. Since our announcement of the OpenFog Consortium on November 19, interest has gained momentum and there is now a healthy pipeline of new members in the process of joining.

Exciting possibilities of a fog approach are coming to life in Barcelona, Spain. Last week, I participated in a live demo of a proof of concept project that brings together a number of disparate smart city services within a single unified architecture, rather than in disconnected, siloed efforts. Barcelona has been working for several years to develop “smart” urban services, including lighting, traffic management, event-based video, and on-demand connectivity. For the most part, however, these services have been developed and deployed independently by different city departments—resulting in a dazzling array of sensors, gateways, repeaters, and other devices positioned on poles, posts, and walls around the city. The proof of concept project consolidates and integrates these separate systems in secure, strategically placed outdoor cabinets, and provides a single-screen view to monitor and manage data, applications, virtual switches and routers, fog nodes, fog services, and the network. This project represents a paradigm shift for smart city services, leveraging both cloud and fog capabilities to integrate a rich set of use cases on a multi-vendor software platform.

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A New Security Paradigm Needed to Support the Internet of Things

Shutdown. Cleanup. Restart.

This “incident response” approach to cyber security was designed primarily for enterprise networks, data centers, and consumer electronics. It companies perimeter-based protection that uses firewalls, intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) to prevent security threats.

When threats penetrate perimeter-based protections, human operators typically shut down the compromised system, clean up or replace the compromised files and devices, and then restart the system.

Next is forensic analysis. This, too, requires intensive human involvement to harden existing protection mechanisms and develop future remediation measures.

However, as we move into the next phase of the Internet—the Internet of Things (IoT)—this security paradigm won’t be adequate because of changing form factors and use cases.

To succeed, we need fog computing. This will extend cloud computing (including security) to the edge of an enterprise’s or consumer’s network. Much in the way cloud technology enabled the Internet, fog will enable an array of secure IoT possibilities.

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Cisco Provides Leadership in Newly Formed OpenFog Consortium

The OpenFog Consortium has made its debut as an ecosystem of industry and academic leaders to foster an open architecture for fog computing in the Internet of Things (IoT). This is an important milestone that will accelerate IoT deployments and maximize their value across a wide range of industries.

AP46072_small_croppedMy friend and colleague, Helter Antunes, has been a pivotal force in forming the OpenFog Consortium and has worked tirelessly with other founding members to iron out the myriad of details involved in creating this sort of multi-party organization. He has also been instrumental in developing Cisco’s own fog computing strategy. That is why I am particularly pleased to congratulate him on being named the OpenFog Consortium’s first chairman, who will guide the group through its formative stages. Read More »

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OpenFog Consortium: An Ecosystem to Accelerate End-to-End IoT Solutions

Over the past several months,OpenFog Logo V1.01 I have been privileged to represent Cisco in working with other industry and academic partners to form the OpenFog Consortium, which was announced earlier today. You can learn more in the press release about what this new organization is, but I want to focus on why such an organization is so important at this stage of development of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Earlier this week, my colleague Maciej Kranz discussed the city of Barcelona’s fog computing proof of concept, which was showcased at the Smart City World Expo Congress. The proof of concept demonstrated that fog technology can bring intelligence to a range of urban services, including transportation, parking, lighting, traffic and waste management, public safety, and law enforcement.

But smart city services are only the beginning. Fog computing can provide immense value across all industries. For example, it might take 12 days via satellite to transmit one day’s worth of data to the cloud from a remote oil rig. With fog computing the data is processed locally, and safety or equipment alerts can be acted upon immediately. In manufacturing and transportation, preventive maintenance applications can process a huge amount of sensor data to trigger needed maintenance before there is an equipment failure. In retail, data from parking lot video cameras can not only provide security surveillance, but can also work with fog analytics capabilities to predict store traffic flow and optimize checkout staffing.

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