The Internet of Things (IoT) has been among us for a while, but in recent years we have seen a change in scale, in part due to cheaper sensors that are emerging. Cities are deploying sensors to improve the quality of life for their citizens, while factories are connecting more and more machines and collecting more data about the production processes. Supply chains are being revolutionized by tracking in real-time not only position but also movement (shaking, dropping), humidity, etc… In almost every industry you can see the impact of IoT.
Due to this change in scale new challenges are starting to emerge that are demanding a rethink of the Cloud only paradigm, and the silo approach to IoT.
IoT typically means deploying application intelligence and analytics at the edge (the area between Cloud/data centers and end points such as sensors, factory robots, etc…), or pushing data directly to the Cloud for processing. Both approaches have their advantages as well as potential drawbacks.
The network between the edge and the Cloud can be relatively expensive (especially if you send all data to the Cloud) or has limited capacity (capacity is of course correlated with price). Latency to the Cloud can also be relatively high, and often lacks determinism. For example changing the color of traffic lights via the Cloud might not be optimal.
More and more solutions are being deployed at the edge to address the challenges Cloud faces. But these solutions have their drawbacks too. Many different solutions (hardware and software) make it more challenging to manage these edge services in a consistent and coherent manner.
IoT deployment is typically not confined to the traditional enterprise IT domain (au contraire). This means that traditional security solutions do not always apply, resulting in potential high risk security breaches: it is not only about stealing data, but also about controlling machines For example manufacturing robots, location of vehicles, …
One of the trends that we are seeing is that providers of edge services want to focus on their service (application) as this is where their expertise is. Today however many providers also need to provide the hardware (not always a good source of revenue), a certain level of security (not always their primary level of expertise), and a way to manage their services and devices (which can pose a challenge if a customer deploys multiple silos of IoT services).
A Unified platform beyond Cloud
To address the challenges described above, a rethink is needed. On one hand the Cloud only paradigm is not sufficient, yet such a new platform needs to support a Cloud like methodology for the edge.
Fog, a driver for IoT
The emphasis here is on “like”, as the edge differs from a Cloud/data center in several important aspects such as: limited resources, limited network capacity, security challenges, and resource distribution. However, such a platform will also have things in common with Clouds. Just like in a Cloud environment it needs to manage the (edge) service life cycle and orchestrate deployment.
With such a platform in place, edge service providers can focus on their core business as this new platform provides them with hooks to develop, deploy, scale, monitor, and manage their services in a secure and safe environment while seamlessly connecting to the Cloud.
Moving to Cloud and beyond
The vision of such a unified platform has been described by Bonomi et.al. and labeled Fog Computing. We are now seeing this vision unfold in several distinct stages.
Unified (IP based) connectivity is typically the first stage. For example, cities offering free Wi-Fi in the city center, or factories that are consolidating their different networks.
Once unified connectivity is in place, it becomes easier to deploy services at the edge by connecting hardware to this IP network. This can lead to service silos, which are sometimes difficult to avoid due to legacy applications and hardware.
The next stage is the deployment of a unified platform (Fog platform) between Cloud and the endpoints to enhance service deployment beyond the Cloud but also to spur innovation by making it easier to share data between these services. This stage is where there is a true added value, as service management is unified and hardware platforms can become more consolidated.
This paradigm shift to think beyond Cloud towards a unified platform, will lead to new products, services and business models, but can also increases the risk of fragmentation due to lack of standards, architectural vision and abstraction. In order for this paradigm shift to truly succeed it is therefore important to have a continuous conversation between the IT and OT industry.
To ensure companies capture the value of IoT, it is important to start the thought process on a Fog and IoT vision early on: service deployments, connectivity capacity beyond Cloud, data filtering and analytics at the edge, device consolidation, real-time requirements, etc…
Such an IoT vision will enable companies to better prepare and understand the risks and opportunities in an increasingly connected world.
Tags: Corporate Technology Group, CTG, Fog, IoT
IOT::Empowering the Enterprise turned out to be quite the dance party this year. Or at least the kind of Internet of Things (IOT) party you’d expect when you bring together over 300 IOT thought leaders, including startup founders, venture capitalists and corporate investors, and Fortune 500 executives.
And adding real-time biometric analytics doesn’t hurt either, tracking everything from temperature, movement, sound, and even crowd sentiment and energy levels.
With much of the IOT buzz focused on consumer tech, this event was specifically focused on IOT in the enterprise. It showcased the ecosystem of innovators that are fundamentally changing cities, manufacturing, energy, transportation, retail, and the many other industries embracing the Internet of Everything (IOE). Cisco Investments, co-hosted the event on our campus with other leaders in the space – SAP, Siemens, Sapphire Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank, all helping to make IOT transformative. Read More »
Tags: Cisco Investments, Internet of Everything, internet of things, IoE, IoT, IOT: Empowering the Enterprise, Nate D'Anna
Today, mobile devices are everywhere — and vying for the attention of just about everyone. On a train, in a café, or in the park, people are gaming, connecting with far-away friends, and watching TV shows.
Increasingly, they are also researching, browsing, and buying products.
Such tech-savvy mobile shoppers are driving a retail revolution that has left many brick-and-mortar retailers scrambling to catch up. In fact, mobility and apps have created an industry disruption similar in scope to what we saw with e-commerce in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
For many traditional retailers, the stakes are high and the challenges daunting. However, I see tremendous opportunities. Read More »
Tags: analytics, Cisco, Cisco Consulting Services, Cisco Mobility, connected retail, digital, hyper-relevance, Internet of Everything, IoE, IoT, Mike Riegel, mobile, retail, shopping
Building an IoT company is a great opportunity to work on things you have never done before. Here is a list of my conclusions with brief anecdotes about the difficulties of building az IoT company.
Choose the size of your funding need wisely
When we started, our pre-seed angel investor suggested to close an angel round by involving other investors. The more money you attract at the beginning, the longer runway you have to develop the product that you believe in without having to take away your focus from value creation. It turned out without having the credibility of using small investments wisely and build traction with it you won’t be given the opportunity to get funded with hundreds/millions of Dollars. Build up your credibility together with your venture. One step at a time. Read More »
Tags: #ciscochampion, internet of things, IoT
The convergence of Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) is becoming more important now than ever – and that sentiment was heard loud and clear at last week’s complementary Cisco Live Melbourne and Rockwell Automation ConnectED events. Held for the first time under the same roof, the two events provided a unique opportunity for end users to learn how to accelerate industrial business performance in a joint experience.
Attendees to both events alike enjoyed seeing examples of industrial technology in action such as the Connected Vineyard demo, which I had the pleasure of demonstrating to customers in the Cisco Live World of Solutions.
In the demo, we discussed how to add business value on top of sensor information. For example, the images below show sensor information in an easy-to-read dashboard that can help us troubleshoot potential issues before they affect the bottom line.
Below, we see that we are behind in our irrigation levels and are on the trajectory to fall behind on production. Even if we could hit production, the wine’s famous flavor could be missed – a crucial factor in sales.
Today, most vineyards track this data; however, by sharing this data in the cloud, we are able to share business insights with other vineyards and work to stabilize production and optimize business insights all through these IoT connections.
For example, here we could search a vineyard in Italy that has a similar grape profile to see if they had an overage in production. Because our vineyard is going to miss production projections, we could purchase that vineyard’s overage allowing for stabilized revenues for both players. By the simple act of combining this information, we are able to create new value for the industry.
Attendees were very interested in the concept and agreed there was value (yes, this was before they sampled the wines). In fact, several attendees in the wine industry discussed their interest in getting involved in this type of initiative, which begs a bigger question: Where could your industry add value to data that already exists? Cheers!
Tags: cisco live, cisco live melbourne, Connected, industrial technology, internet of things, IoT, Manufacturing, Rockwell Automation