A guest blog post from Lee Myall, general manager for cloud computing at Interoute
The Internet of Things (IoT) is closing in fast, it has been predicted there will be 26 billion units installed by 2020, generating $300bn in revenue. These are numbers that absolutely cannot be ignored and the anticipation for this technology boom is huge. A predicted 4.5 million developers will drive this prolific growth in IoT in the next six years and they are all in need of the right technology to support them. But, without putting too fine a point on it, developers without the infrastructure to develop are useless.
The challenges facing the mass adoption of IoT technology are significant, but not insurmountable. In order for the IoT to be a success from an infrastructure perspective, there are three major ingredients: infinitely scalable computing power, the network fibre to support the rapid growth in data traffic and the ability to control where your data is stored.
The infinite cloud
Scalable computing power is only achievable in the cloud, but it needs to be fit for purpose. If we are to reach the real potential of the IoT, developers need the computing power to support the creation of apps, media computing power for rich information and as we look to the future, high performance power or indeed, quantum computing to support enormous amounts of data crunching.
A truly elastic cloud provides the scalability to meet this unstoppable and unpredictable growth. We have seen the potential of disruptive apps like Uber and Aereo. Their rapid uptake and in Aereo’s case unconstrained bandwidth consumption, have had a huge impact on the network. Without infinitely scalable computing the next ‘killer app’ will fall flat before it’s out of the box.
The network is the computer
The next challenge is the network itself. You can have all the quantum computers on the planet, but the real value lies in users connecting to and between them quickly and safely. You therefore need the computing power built into a superfast network in order to get the best performance. Who knows how fast an app might take off and overnight you might suddenly need to scale up bandwidth tenfold. With networked cloud, this bandwidth is already in place for the taking.
Taking control of your data location
App development on this scale is rarely a one-man job and several people or organisations will be involved. Individuals in different offices or even countries want to access the content they need but have to factor in things like the storage location, to ensure all data remains compliant to local regulations.
Like it or lump it, and despite talks in progress, we are unlikely to see a dramatic change in EU policy regarding data storage. Cries from the likes of CERN that a lack of clear data protection policies are preventing them from adopting cloud tech, have so far been ignored. Focus on the challenges EU data legislation has on the collective adoption of new technology will continue to grow.
Sound like a headache? Actually, the answer is quite simply to store data in the countries where consumers are accessing it. Regulations vary from country to country and it’s essential that any multinational businesses are compliant with them. At the end of the day, the cloud is just a collection of datacentres and with the flexibility to choose which one houses which of your data sets; you can stay on the right side of the law wherever you are.
Network of computing
The cloud is the developer’s oyster; with infinitely scalable computing developers can reduce time to market, boost collaboration and accommodate the rapid growth of new apps and services. A high-speed network of distributed computing is essential to the successful deployment of applications for the Internet of Things.
The trick is picking the right cloud provider. The network is the cloud and with it, developers can make visions for IoT a reality. With the power of the network behind it, could we be looking at not just hybrid clouds in the future but AI clouds that have the ability to automate app development for the enterprises of the future?