What is the role of cloud computing in IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has gradually transformed the way daily tasks are completed. Take smart homing for instance. People can start their cooling devices remotely through their mobile phones. This earlier used to be possible via an SMS, but today the internet has made it easier. Apart from providing smarter solutions for homes and housing communities, IoT has also been used as a tool in business environments across various industries. However, with the amount of big data that is generated by IoT, a lot of strain is put on the internet infrastructure. This has made businesses and organizations look for an option that would reduce this load.

Enter cloud computing- an on-demand delivery of computing power, database storage, applications and IT resources. It enables organizations to consume a compute resource, like a virtual machine (VM) instead of building a computing infrastructure on premise.

Today, cloud computing has more or less penetrated mainstream IT and its infrastructure. Many tech biggies such as Amazon, Alibaba, Google and Oracle are building machine learning tools with the help of cloud technology to offer a wide range of solutions to businesses worldwide. This article aims to inform you of the role of cloud computing in IoT and why IoT and cloud computing are inseparable.

How IoT and cloud complement each other

Cloud computing, as well as IoT, work towards increasing the efficiency of everyday tasks and both have a complementary relationship. On one hand, IoT generates lots of data while on the other hand, cloud computing paves way for this data to travel. There are many cloud providers who take advantage of this to provide a pay-as-you-use model where customers pay for the specific resources used. Also, cloud hosting as a service adds value to IoT startups by providing economies of scale to reduce their overall cost structure.

In addition to this, cloud computing also enables better collaboration for developers, which is the order of the day in the IoT space. By facilitating developers to store as well as access data remotely, the cloud allows developers to implement projects without delay. Also, by storing data in the cloud, IoT companies can access a huge amount of Big DataSo, in a bid to lay down the relationship between IoT and cloud, here is a table that will let you know how they fit into each other like a glove.

 

Parameter Internet of things Cloud computing
Big Data Acts as a source for big data Acts as a way or a means to manage big data
Reachability Very limited Far spread, wide
Storage Limited or almost none Large, virtually never ending
Role of Internet Acts as a point of convergence Acts as a means for delivering services
Computing capabilities Limited Virtually unlimited
Components Runs on hardware components Runs on virtual machines which imitate hardware components

 

Why is Cloud essential to the success of IoT?

Just like cloud computing is built on the tenets of speed and scale, IoT applications are built on the principle of mobility and widespread networking. Hence, it is essential that both cloud and IoT form cloud-based IoT applications in a bid to make the most out of their combination. This alliance has led to the success of IoT. In addition to this, here are a few more pointers as to why the cloud is important from the point of view of IoT’s success.

Provides remote processing power

Cloud as a technology empowers IoT to move beyond regular appliances such as air conditioners, refrigerators etc. This is because the cloud has such a vast storage that it takes away dependencies on on-premise infrastructure. With the rise of miniaturization and transition of 4G to higher internet speeds, the cloud will allow developers to offload fast computing processes.

Provides security and privacy

IoT’s role in harnessing mobility is immense. However, its prowess would be incomplete without security. Cloud has made IoT more secure with preventive, detective and corrective controls. It has enabled users with strong security measures by providing effective authentication and encryption protocols. In addition to this, managing and securing the identity of users has been possible for IoT products with the help of biometrics. All of this is possible because of cloud’s security.

Removes entry barrier for hosting providers

Today, many innovations in the field of IoT are looking at plug-and-play hosting services. Which is why the cloud is a perfect fit for IoT. Hosting providers do not have to depend on massive equipment or even any kind of hardware that will not support the agility IoT devices require. With the cloud, most hosting providers can allow their clients a ready-to-roll model, removing entry barriers for them.

Facilitates inter-device communication

Cloud acts as a bridge in the form of a mediator or communication facilitator when it comes to IoT. Many powerful APIs like Cloudflare, CloudCache and Dropstr are enabled by cloud communications, allowing easy linking to smartphones. This eases devices to talk to each other and not just us, which essentially is the tenet of IoT cloud.

It would be fair to say that cloud can accelerate the growth of IoT. However, deploying cloud technology also has certain challenges and shortcomings. Not because the cloud is flawed as a technology but the combination of IoT cloud can burden users with some obstacles. If you ever go ahead with an IoT cloud solution, it is better if you know the kind of challenges you may face in advance.

What are the challenges posed by cloud and IoT together?

Handling a large amount of data

Handling a large amount of data can be overwhelming especially when there are millions of devices in the picture. This is because the overall performance of applications is at stake. Hence, following the NoSQL movement could be beneficial, but it is not tried and tested for the long run. Which is why there exists no sound or fool-proof method for the cloud to manage big data.

Networking and communication protocols

Cloud and IoT involve machine-to-machine communications among many different types of devices having various protocols. Managing this kind of a variation could be tough since a majority of application areas do not involve mobility. As of now WiFi and Bluetooth are used as a stop-gap solution to facilitate mobility to a certain extent.

Sensor networks

Sensor networks have amplified the benefits of IoT. These networks have allowed users to measure, infer and understand delicate indicators from the environment. However, timely processing of a large amount of this sensor data has been a major challenge. Though cloud provides a new opportunity in aggregating sensor data it also hinders the progress because of security and privacy issues.

Conclusion

The integration of cloud computing and IoT is indicative of the next big leap in the world of internet. New applications brimming from this combination known as IoT Cloud are opening newer avenues for business as well as research. Let us hope that this combination unveils a new paradigm for the future of multi-networking and an open service platform for users.

We hope that you know what role cloud as a technology can play in unlocking IoT’s true potential. If you have any doubts about- What is the role of cloud computing in IoT? please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section below.

Sagar Kulkarni

Sagar Kulkarni

Digital enthusiast and movie buff