It’s only natural for the enterprise to look upon the Internet of Things (IoT) with a fair bit of trepidation. This is big infrastructure we’re talking about, and some of the most advanced analytical software ever developed – and it all has to be in place immediately lest some randy start-up kicks your business model to the curb.
Fortunately, the IoT does not have to be built from scratch – at least, not the centralized storage and analytics portion of it. Increasingly, organizations are turning to the cloud to provide both the scale and the cutting-edge software to at least put IoT applications into practice before ramping up a full-scale in-house architecture.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the cloud-based IoT industry is growing at an annual rate of more than 30 percent, which should boost today’s $1.8 billion field to $7.15 billion by 2021. This includes everything from device and connectivity management to applications and the various cloud deployment models currently under development, as well as key disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and analytics. In the cloud, organizations have a high degree of flexibility when it comes to integrating various IoT services and platforms, allowing the enterprise to focus on monitoring and maintaining main network connectivity. As well, top providers like Amazon, Microsoft and IBM offer broad scalability at dramatically less cost than in-house greenfield deployments.
This trend is leading to some interesting partnerships among previously disparate vendors and service providers. For instance, Cisco recently teamed up with Salesforce to develop new forms of cloud-based IoT services, including network visualization, collaboration and data productivity. Part of the deal involves integration between Cisco’s IoT portfolio, consisting mostly of systems acquired from Jasper Technologies earlier this year, with the Salesforce IoT Cloud. The goal is to provide intelligent management capabilities across a wealth of IoT services in such a way that enterprise can focus on service and application-layer performance rather than underlying technology.
New players are also targeting the synergies between the IoT and the cloud, offering ready-made solutions that can tap into the wide variety of third-party web services permeating distributed environments. A company called Accelerite recently launched its Concert IoT Service Creation and Enrichment Platform (SCEP) on Microsoft Azure where it provides API management, payment solutions and partner integration to create multi-service IoT portfolios. The system leverages Azure’s IoT Hub for device coordination and data ingestion, as well as Stream Analytics for real-time filtering and event detection, plus HDInsight and Cortana AI for analytics and machine learning. In this way, the company aims to foster a broad IoT partner ecosystem to build general-purpose and vertically targeted IoT service portfolios.
Meanwhile, Google is crafting an IoT services environment of its own as it seeks to provide a more robust cloud environment for enterprise workloads. The company recently integrated the Particle IoT ecosystem with Google Cloud Platform in a bid to combine a largely established device-driven data environment with scale-out compute, storage and analytics infrastructure. Particle provides device management and connectivity to Fortune 500 companies, and it is hoped that Google Cloud’s machine learning and intelligent analytics capabilities will allow users to build advanced data models and deliver faster turnaround for data driven processes.
The cloud has long been billed as the democratization of data infrastructure, providing even the smallest of enterprises with massive resource support. This environment is tailor-made for Big Data and the IoT, which will likely prove to be just as vital for the SMB as the top-tier enterprise. And as a service-oriented construct, the cloud allows organizations to quickly deploy IoT capabilities in support of key functions like sales or product development, rather than as a generic platform that must be customized through trial-and-error.
For enterprises looking to build IoT infrastructure quickly and correctly, it would be foolish not to consider deployment on the cloud.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.