SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Gary Audin
Gary Audin is the President of Delphi, Inc. He has more than 40 years of computer, communications and security...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Gary Audin | October 21, 2016 |

 
   

IoT at the Network Edge

IoT at the Network Edge Fog computing infrastructure provides an intermediate processing point between IoT endpoints and the cloud.

Fog computing infrastructure provides an intermediate processing point between IoT endpoints and the cloud.

A significant trend in the Internet of Things is the shifting balance between cloud computing and edge computing (also known as fog computing). While in the past machine-to-machine (M2M) communications has been characterized by the role that cloud platforms play in enabling processing applications to be run on the IoT data, today we recognize that computing resources on the network edge offer faster processing than those in the cloud. Fog computing adds architecture choices and allows those deploying IoT to improve physical assets and processes in new ways.

Earlier this month I attended the Internet of Things Global Summit in Washington D.C. One of the event speakers was Gary Butler, Chairman and CEO of Camgian Microsystems Corporation, who focused on fog computing. Camgian is a leader in combining low-power microelectronics, sensors, wireless communications, and real-time signal processing to fill intelligence gaps for both the defense and commercial markets.

Fog Computing Defined

Fog computing, also known as fog networking, is a decentralized computing infrastructure. Computing resources and application services are distributed in logical, efficient places at any points along the connection from the data source (endpoint) to the cloud. The concept is to process data locally and then use the network for communicating with other resources for further processing and analysis. Data could be sent to a data center or a cloud service. A worthwhile reference published by Cisco is the white paper, "Fog Computing and the Internet of Things: Extend the Cloud to Where the Things Are."

How Fast Do You Want to Know?

If all the data is transmitted to the cloud, the processing response can be much longer than is desired. Depending on the cloud services, processing time can be measured in minutes, hours, or even days. Instead of sending all of the data to a central location for processing, processing near the location of the data creation seems more expedient. This will introduce significantly shorter response times, which could be in the sub-second or millisecond range. Fog computing is the answer.

The fog computing concept allows for processing of raw data near the originating point. Therefore, the originating endpoint has to communicate to some intermediate device that then can process, analyze, and report. The raw data collected could be transient or could eventually be sent as a batch transmission to some storage facility in the cloud.

portable
Source: Cisco


Fog Infrastructure

Fog infrastructure, shown in the diagram below, provides an intermediate processing point between the IoT endpoint and the cloud. The edge/fog device can act, at minimum, as a controller for connecting multiple IoT endpoints to a network, which can be wired or wireless.

The controller can act like a multiplexer or gateway. However, this is a rather simple use of edge processing. With today's processing capabilities, it's easy to process the data in the edge device and send the results to a central location like the cloud. There is intelligence in these edge devices; they are programmable with software that can be modified, and contain user applications, maintenance functions, and network management.

The edge device can be embedded within a vehicle, or multiple edge devices could be embedded in a dam or a building. The devices can be communicating locally via wireless communications. By adding edge processing devices, the cost of the IoT endpoints can be reduced with the intelligence residing in the edge device. This can also improve security. By sending the analyzed and processed data up to the cloud, this makes better use of the cloud services and will keep the traffic level to and from the cloud more manageable.

portable
Source: Saisharan Amaravadhi


In-the-Fog Processing

The edge device can perform three functions. Once the data is collected, the edge device can be programmed to do statistical analysis of the data collected. Based on the statistical analysis, the edge device can determine what events should be reported and if those events are time critical or not. The third function is the actual reporting of the event. You can think about the edge device as a small server connected to IoT endpoints, offloading functionality from the cloud.

These devices also can operate independently so that if cloud communications is not available, it can still collect, store, and analyze information, and report when the cloud connection becomes available. This means the device can support business continuity.

With the costs of processing and storage decreasing, not only does the cloud benefit, but the edge devices benefit as well. When someone decides to deploy IoT endpoints, the cost of the edge device may be high but the cost of the IoT endpoints can be much lower. The ROI is improved and the TCO lowered. The main problem with IoT endpoints is that you are going to need a lot of them. So the cost can be kept low for the endpoints to get the functionality desired. The use of edge devices and fog computing is extremely attractive.

portable
Source: Camgian


A couple of resources you might want to look at around this topic are: "ABI Research Breaks Down the Barrier of Fog Networks and the Telecom Cloud, and "Edge Analytics in IoT," which expands the discussion of edge/fog computing.





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.