Cloud computing is currently one of the most inescapable topics in IT, and for good reason. On-demand compute, storage and network resources enable highly scalable businesses and, in many instances, substantial savings over traditional infrastructure. An April 2014 report by IHS estimated that more than $174 billion would be spent on cloud solutions this year.
The Internet of Things, one of the other overarching trends in current IT, may also unlock new use cases for the cloud in general and for cellular remote site management in particular. Vendors such as Cisco have proposed “fog computing” as a bridge between the actual “things” of the IoT – IP-connected sensors and appliances out in the field – and the faraway data centers that gather and process all the IoT big data.
According to Gartner, the IoT could encompass 26 billion connected units by 2020, generating $300 billion in annual incremental revenue. However, given the quantity of input data coming from globally distributed sources, central processing in a single site – the preferred approach in recent years for reducing costs and enhancing applicationFog Computing security – won’t be feasible. Some processing will have to be handed off to small data centers and field devices and then relayed to a cloud as needed for additional handling.