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We need to talk about Fog Computing

There is no novelty on how Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the Information Technology landscape worldwide. It is estimated that — by the end of 2020–38.5 billion connected devices will coexist in order to boost the automation of daily routines. The IoT applications comprehend a wide range of domains, from industrial control to smart cities.

However, the dynamicity provided by this paradigm faces several challenges related to devices’ energy consumption and resources constraints.

Considering the massive amount of data that these devices have to collect continuously, in order to guarantee accuracy on decision-making process, complementary emerging technologies — such as Cloud Computing — arose to workaround the limitations of IoT devices.

At first, Cloud Computing performs data gathering from devices, executing tasks to help decision-making and reproducing the outcome to its origin. Howbeit, the interposition of management layers between devices and cloud elements may end up being a barrier to meet data transmission quality of service requirements, mostly on real-time decision-making scenarios. In addition, Cloud Computing often fails to support the mobility and geo-distribution of devices.

And then, in 2012, Fog Computing paradigm emerged for the rescue.

Fog Computing was introduced by Cisco in order to
extend Cloud Computing resources to the network edge, nearest to IoT devices.

The edge devices, called fog nodes, can be deployed anywhere with a network connection. Examples of fog nodes include switches, routers, embedded servers and any other device capable of data storage and processing. What they have in common is monitoring or analyzing real-time data from network-connected things and then initiating an action. The action can involve machine-to-machine (M2M) communications or human-machine interaction (HMI)

On my journeys across tech trends medias, I’ve been struggling on finding great fog computing references (besides academic publications). Even on emerging technologies or 4.0 industry highlights posts I’ve failed to see fog computing as one of promising technologies.

I personally think this lack of buzzing around fog is due to its “embryonic stage”. Although we are talking about a 5 years old paradigm — and especially in IT this is a reasonable time for development — we still have many challenges to overcome regarding to information security and connectivity.

On the academic view, we’ve been stumbling on “calls for special issues” about fog computing and, on the other side of the street, we have an open consortium at full throttle. Nevertheless, it is important to keep this technology under watch, very closely. After all, it will help to enhance the adoption of the most disruptive technology of recent times, right?