To truly be transformative, the Internet of Things (IoT), needs to be able to handle massive amounts of data in near-real time for advanced use cases such as drones, self-driving vehicles, and embedded artificial intelligence (AI) applications. It also needs to be completely interoperable—from end-user devices and sensors all the way to the cloud.

That’s why, when we formed the OpenFog Consortium nearly two years ago, one of our top priorities was to develop a reference architecture that could serve as the foundation for fog computing and networking standards. We delivered that architecture last February. This week, I’m pleased to say, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) announced it will use the OpenFog Reference Architecture as the basis for its work on fog standards. The IEEE Standard Working Group on Fog Computing and Networking Architecture Framework expects to complete the adoption of the first version of the OpenFog Reference Architecture by April 2018.

This is a huge milestone for fog—and for IoT. Traditional architectures can’t deliver on the operational challenges for today’s advanced digital applications. The OpenFog Reference Architecture took the first step by providing a universal technical framework for distributing computing, storage, control, and networking functions closer to the users along a cloud-to-thing continuum. It encompasses various approaches to disperse information technology (IT), communication technology (CT) and operational technology (OT) services through information messaging infrastructure as well as legacy and emerging multi-access networking technologies.

Now the IEEE-SA working group will complete the job by providing clear specifications for vendors to use in developing Fog-based hardware, software, and services. The group will begin meeting in November under the leadership of John K. Zao (Taiwan Chiao-Tung University) as the chair, and Tao Zhang (Cisco) and Jingyi Zhou (ZTE) as vice-chairs.


This joint effort will deliver fog-specific architectures that will accelerate the adoption of transformative IoT applications. The initiative helps to solidify the OpenFog Consortium as a unifying force to ensure interoperability of IoT systems, from “things” at the edge of the network, all the way to the cloud. You can hear more details next week at the Fog World Congress, October 30 – November 1, in Santa Clara, where IEEE and the OpenFog Consortium are jointly running the first multi-day conference on fog computing.  I will be presenting about this vision and this work together with Robert Fish of IEEE Communication Society in the Tuesday keynote The working group will also be presenting in a breakout session.

As chair of the OpenFog Consortium, I am extremely proud of the work we have done to accelerate the development and adoption of Fog frameworks, architectures, and now, standards. And I’m proud of the leadership role Cisco continues to take in advancing fog as a catalyst for digital transformation.


Helder Antunes

Senior Director

Corporate Strategic Innovations Group