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Fog Computing and its relevance to India

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By Kaushik Pillalamarri, Co-Founder & CEO, Smartiply

Fog computing paradigm enables moving key elements of cloud computing closer to user thereby powering IoT solutions to make decisions on the edge in real time,optimizing the need to send the data to the cloud. As the number of IoT devices proliferate at an astounding rate, having to send all the data to the cloud is not only impractical, given the challenges around reliable connectivity, but also inefficient given the higher latency and cost. The trend, therefore, is to push as much decision making locally as possible while sending only the necessary amount of data to the cloud to make models more efficient over time.

Fog computing is critical for India from multiple perspectives. IoT adoption in India has been slow compared to other developed economies due to infrastructure, geographic, and economic constraints.Fog computing would allow India to leap frog this technology divide by effectively addressing the above-mentioned challenges to drive IoT adoption. There are a multitude of applications for fog computing that drive objectives of higher operational efficiencies at lower cost for businesses, and that provide safer, cleaner and healthier cities for the people.

Consider the case of natural disasters like floods or earthquakes; the infrastructure that almost always breaks down first is communication, and with that the rescue and recovery challenges increase multifold. Technologies like fog computing have built-in resilience to continue operating even under such extreme conditions. With the ability to create a mesh network and receive inputs from cameras and sensors, and communicate and make decisions within the mesh,makes rescue operations more effective, possibly saving lives.

Newer device types are entering the market with unique characteristics and new needs are emerging with the marriage between IoT, analytics, and AI. 4K video and AR/VR will shortly become mainstream along with other bandwidth hungry applications. By 2020 one credible source estimates that there will be 28 billion connected devices. Currently, around 92% of the connected devices workload is in the cloud in areas of security, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, robotic machinery and many more, and India is projected to have a good share of these deployments.

With more devices being added, there’s an enormous amount of data that has to be transported or processed in the cloud which puts tremendous load on the network and cloud infrastructure. Therefore, it goes beyond a doubt that adoption of fog computing is the only viable alternative.Given the vast number of use cases,it is not easy to provide a comprehensive description of the scope and impact of this technology. However, a few examples will illustrate the point.

Consider the case of healthcare where patients’ vital parameters can be monitored 24X7 irrespective of whether they are in the hospital, traveling,or at home using wearable technology that wirelessly connects to fog computing gateways. In manufacturing, operations of large plants can be managed efficiently and safely using fog gateways that can communicate between themselves to maintain optimal operating conditions using sensor, video and audio analytics.

Fog computing is the next big technology revolution, like the cloud computing era of the last 15 years, that will shape the future of IoT.

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