The word everyone loves and cannot get enough of… IoT! The continuously discussed term Internet of Things is getting redefined again. The promise of workload consolidation at the edge and things levels is disrupting the role of cloud in IoT. How did we get here?
Guest blog from Wind River.
At one time, IoT was all about connecting to the cloud. And the widely held belief was that by connecting these things, we will get new information such as the location of the smart thing, health, and other environmental parameters, functional data etc. And all of this data was going to be analysed in the cloud and processed so that new experiences, insights, optimisations and actions could be defined, detected, delivered.
And the belief was based on two premises:
So what happened? Hundreds of IoT platforms popped up, offered by large companies and startups alike, each one claiming to have more capability or ease of use or lower cost than all the other similar sounding competitors. And it was widely believed that connecting the thing to the cloud would bring all the benefits attributed to IoT.
But in the last two years, IoT is getting redefined because the beliefs have been disrupted by the following three things:
And because of these three trends, in particular for the IIoT, the role of the cloud, or even an on-prem data-centre in IoT is beginning to get limited.
The future of IoT is smart things running multiple workloads communicating with each other in real time through blockchain or other distributed ledger technologies with limited dependence on a cloud capability.
It is useful to go deeper into the trend of workload consolidation that is changing how we view Internet of Things and edge. So what is workload consolidation? It means that the new software infrastructure for mission-critical devices enables the running of multiple workloads on a single system or machine without compromising the mission-critical capability of the control function. With the sufficient compute and appropriate software capability, a machine can not only run the controller reliably, but also run workloads for analytics, blockchain, user interfaces or IoT connectivity solutions.
By adding blockchain to this as one of the workloads, the IIoT enabled machines are able to reduce their dependence on cloud or another central authority. The machines can now communicate with each other, authenticate themselves, suggest changes to their scheduled tasks and get them approved, all in real-time.
This actually started way back with autonomous cars. In the case of cars, the two terms were called V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) and V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure). The premise was that most of the autonomous driving can happen by leveraging the capability of the car itself or by the car talking to other cars, a.k.a V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle). The whole system was built on the premise that there is either no access or at best an intermittent access to the cloud.
The same is happening in the rest of the IIoT. Most of the work, analytics, and optimisation will happen in real-time at the machine level. That means that the edge and things become really effective and do much more than they have ever done before. In the future, the things in the IIoT will have significant compute capability and will be developed with future proofing in mind, so that the security functions, analytical capabilities, optimisation functions and the control algorithms can be upgraded without a need to change the machine itself.
So what does that look like? Let’s take a few examples:
As the smart things and the edge take on the intelligence functions, some of the functions, such as below, will always be done in the cloud such as:
The trend of IoT and digital transformation continues, but in the future, the smart things will play a much bigger role than the cloud especially in the IIoT.
Courtesy of Wind River.