The Role of Fog Computing in the IoT World

Now that the cloud is pretty much ubiquitous, a new buzzword is on everyone’s lips: fog computing.

Cloud computing is indeed revolutionary, enabling the storage and retrieval of data from off-site locations and giving devices with limited storage space the ability to offer superior performance. However, bandwidth is proving to be a problem, with the proliferation of smart phones and the IoT all competing to transmit data wirelessly.

Enter fog computing. While clouds tend to sit high in the sky, fog is closer to the ground, so “fog computing” is a fitting description for this concept. The cloud has a central data center, whereas fog computing makes use of local devices and computers to alleviate the tremendous need for bandwidth that cloud use demands.

With fog computing, data can be accessed and processed more quickly and reliably using the most logical location available, thereby diminishing the risk of data latency.

Fog Computing Complements Cloud Computing

This term was coined by Cisco Systems; IBM refers to the concept as edge computing. Both firms are making a concerted effort to bring computing back to the edge of networks, and businesses that store their data in data centers belonging to someone else might want to give this trend some serious consideration.

After all, it makes perfect sense to bring the advantage of cloud computing nearer to the place where data is being produced and used. Fog computing means that less data is transferred to the cloud, so it’s also a more secure method.

While fog computing can boost efficiency, it is not going to replace the cloud any time soon. Instead, it should be thought of as a complement to the cloud. The crucial role that the cloud plays in IoT will persist. Fog computing can be used to help with tasks like short-term analytics, freeing up the cloud to focus on bigger jobs involving larger sets of data. This combination will ultimately drive the widespread adoption of IoT.