Fog computing is gaining traction across industries and academia, and across the world.  In just one year, the OpenFog Consortium has grown from six founding members to 53 members in 15 countries—and still counting! But it’s not just this flood of interest that is impressive—it’s the work our members are doing together to accelerate fog from the concept phase into full execution mode.

To sustain IoT momentum, the OpenFog Consortium is defining a new architecture—fog computing—that brings information processing closer to where the data is being produced or used.
To sustain IoT momentum, the OpenFog Consortium is defining a new architecture—fog computing—that brings information processing closer to where the data is being produced or used.

The concept is simply to bring storage, compute and networking capabilities to the edge of the Internet of Things (IoT) to address such challenges as latency, bandwidth, reliability, and security—and to enable IoT to grow into its full potential. To really prove viability, you need maximum choice, interoperability, and an open architecture. And that’s exactly what we’re working on—a framework to create a secure and robust multi-vendor interoperable fog computing environment.

Year 1 of the OpenFog Consortium was focused on establishing the foundation for an open fog computing reference architecture. Seven working groups worked for many months to precisely define the requirements for each of eight architectural pillars: security, scalability, openness, autonomy, RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability), agility, hierarchy, and programmability.  A white paper was published and this work provided the baseline for the architectural direction of fog computing and will serve as a common starting place to create fog standards.

As we start our second year, we are completing the OpenFog Reference Architecture, which will be published during the first quarter of 2017. We are working to test the reference architecture through a wide variety of use cases, and will also begin the first fog computing testbeds. Later in the year we will begin working with our Standards Development Organizations alliances to start the process of creating standards.

As these frameworks and standards achieve widespread adoption, the industry will need the right talent and skills to implement the new technologies. So education is a third important area of focus for the Consortium. Next month we are starting an internship pilot program that will match promising Ph.D. students from member universities with OpenFog industry members.

This initiative is an extension of the collaboration that has developed over the last year between our academic and industry members. During our three meetings in the coming year, universities will continue to showcase their research to explore potential areas of synergy where industry members might want to adopt or invest in new technologies and processes. These meetings will also be an opportunity for all OpenFog member organizations to advance the work they are doing and expand new opportunities and personal networks.

Finally, as we continue through our second year, the OpenFog Consortium will expand our outreach activities to create awareness of the benefits of fog computing. Geographically, we are working to enlarge our global footprint by establishing a Greater China and a European Committee to complement existing work groups in the Americas and Japan.  Our global outreach efforts throughout the year will culminate in the inaugural Fog World Congress event in October, jointly spearheaded by OpenFog and IEEE.

As chairman of the OpenFog Consortium, I couldn’t be more excited and proud of all that we’ve accomplished this year. We head into our second year with growing energy and momentum for fog computing—and OpenFog.


Helder Antunes

Senior Director

Corporate Strategic Innovations Group