The cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) relationship is symbiotic, as the technologies complement and support each other. IoT empowers a diverse array of devices and sensors with big data as well as real-time analytics. Cloud computing offers infrastructure services that are scalable along with computing resources necessary to handle and analyze this data. But are they identical, and is one absolutely essential for the other? To answer this question, let us first explore how the cloud works.
What is Cloud Computing, and is it Necessary for IoT?
In the 1970s, it was standard procedure for companies to rent time or hours on large, mainframe computer systems. These systems were incredibly enormous and costly, so it did not make financial sense for businesses to acquire their own processing power. They were instead controlled by multinational corporations, government organizations, and universities.
The introduction of the personal computer, whose popularity skyrocketed in the 1980s, was made possible by the microprocessor technology that enabled significant size and cost savings. Businesses were suddenly able to (and did) bring computing in-house.
Since then, high-speed connections have grown more common; however, the trend has rolled back: corporations are renting computer capacity from other organizations once again. This is due to the fact that renting enables everyone to benefit from economies of scale. The capacity (and necessity) to rent computational power has led to the development of cloud computing.
The cloud is a vast, interlinked network of powerful computers that provides services to businesses as well as the general public and individual users.
Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are the leading cloud service providers in the United States, and they rent out vast server farms to businesses as a component of their cloud services. This is cost-effective for organizations with fluctuating demands since they may pay on an as-needed basis.
The fact that activities like data storage and processing happen on the cloud instead of on the device itself has had major repercussions for IoT. The internet of things, or IoT, is a massive network of interconnected devices that enable “online” capabilities for traditionally “offline” appliances; this could be a watch, machine equipment, or a vehicle.
Many IoT devices gather data from several sensors and thereafter make intelligent choices. Cloud computing is essential for gathering data and gaining insights based on that data.
Therefore, is the cloud an essential basic requirement for IoT? In a technical sense, the answer would be no. The processing of data and controlling might occur locally, as opposed to in the cloud, through an internet connection. Nicknamed as “fog computing” or “edge computing,” this makes perfect sense for a number of IoT applications.
Nonetheless, there are significant advantages when employing the cloud for several IoT applications. Not using the cloud would considerably slow down the business because of the increased costs and complexities of data processing. We will look at some of the other benefits of using cloud computing and IoT together later; first, let us understand how this relationship works.
How Does Cloud Computing Work Together with IoT?
Together, IoT with cloud computing offers multiple connectivity options, implying enormous network access. Mobile phones, laptops, workstations, and, of course, Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints, such as smartwatches, intelligent appliances for homes, linked fleets, etc., can all be utilized to access cloud resources.
On demand, IoT software developers may use cloud computing. What this means is , that it is a web host reachable without additional hardware; internet connectivity and a cloud membership are the only prerequisites. Whenever the user submits a request, like tapping a notification on a watch to view a message, these developers configure the IoT gadget to use cloud services on the backend.
The cloud computing service is scalable according to the request. You can increase storage space, modify program settings, and collaborate with a large number of people if your computer activities are fast and adaptable. As a result of this feature, it is feasible to supply substantial computational power as well as storage for activities such as real-time data processing.
Cloud computing entails resource pooling, which ensures optimum pricing.
Also, as the variety of Internet of Things and automation systems in use increases, security concerns arise. The cloud then offers credible authentication and encryption algorithms to protect IoT data communications.
Cloud computing is also handy since you get precisely what you paid for from the provider. This implies that IoT enablement prices fluctuate based on usage, and the cloud service provider offers adequate usage data.
Benefits of Using Cloud Computing with IoT
By coupling the two technologies together, you can:
1. Secure IoT data
Cloud-based solutions are frequently more secure than locally hosted ones. This is due to the fact that data is kept on distant servers, and the cloud may connect smoothly with the leading authentication and authorization providers. It is obvious that information can always be encrypted in transit and at rest, relieving companies of one concern.
2. Enable IoT data sharing (which is central to most use cases of IoT)
The key to the success of the Internet of Things is the exchange of information from smart devices among diverse parties. With cloud computing, data may be exchanged without loss and in a responsible way. For instance, if you’re wearing a smartwatch, the information it generates may be shared with medical specialists, resulting in improved healthcare for yourself and everyone else.
3. Share costs with edge computing
Edge computing, wherein data is stored closer to the real user (or network edge), minimizes the need to transport data to the cloud’s central location. All cloud service providers are now incorporating edge locations into their services, thereby enhancing performance and reducing the cost of cloud computing. A big benefit of cloud computing in IoT is that it is perfectly interoperable with the edge.
4. Unlock new IoT services
When IoT can access data stored on the cloud, it opens up new service (and revenue generation) opportunities. For instance, you may tell Alexa to provide you with recent updates, weather, and traffic information every morning. Alexa, a cloud-first IoT, sends queries to cloud apps such as Google Maps, etc., in order to obtain the requested information and present it to you. This would be impossible without cloud computing.
5. Scale enterprise IoT easily
One of the primary benefits of using cloud computing in the Internet of Things is its scalability. This is essential for organizations that continuously add IoT technologies to their network. With on-premises systems, adding more capacity or computational power may be expensive and time-consuming. With cloud computing, these resources may be added or deleted as required, providing enterprises with greater flexibility.
6. Integrate with business apps
With IoT, organizations can gather data from an unprecedented variety of sources. With cloud-hosted apps, this data may be utilized to enhance operations, improve decision-making, and provide an improved customer experience.
A further advantage of data collection is that it may be utilized to automate procedures. This automation may save organizations time and money by removing unnecessary stages in their operations. This is only achievable when various business units, tasks, programs, apps, and workflows are linked via the cloud to IoT devices.
Is there a Downside to Cloud-ifying the Internet of Things?
When you connect IoT devices to the cloud, it is important to remember a few issues, including data ownership, outage risk, and performance. When you keep data in the cloud platform of a firm, who controls the data, you or the cloud provider? This may be crucial for IoT applications that require personal information, like smart cities and healthcare.
Additionally, the IoT application will not function if the connection is disrupted or the cloud platform itself crashes. It requires a while for data to be delivered onto the cloud and for device commands to respond. In some IoT applications, such as autonomous cars, these milliseconds might be crucial. In this case, edge data processing may well be preferable.
Ultimately, most IoT data analytics platforms rely heavily on cloud computing to generate insights, trigger actions, and support user services. This makes the two technologies perfectly symbiotic, and essential enablers in today’s fast-paced, network-driven digital transformation.