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Cisco Lifts the Veil on Fog Computing

Even though it is still a rather new concept, most computer users are now fully aware of cloud computing, its advantages and its disadvantages. Most of us have experienced cloud computing in some capacity or another, and many of us have done so without even realizing it. Cisco is taking the concept of the cloud one step farther, however, with their recent unveiling of fog computing.

What is Fog Computing?

As if cloud computing wasn't complex enough, Cisco, one of the IT industry's leading pioneers, has introduced the idea of fog computing. According to Cisco, fog computing is meant to forge a distributed and combined computing infrastructure from the network edge, thereby letting applications take advantage of billions of devices that are already connected to the Internet of Things, sometimes referred to as IoT.

Through Cisco's newly introduced IOx, which serves as a connectivity platform for Cisco-based routers and switches, users will be able to leverage all of the devices within the IoT to better manage and process the amount of data that is expected within the next few years. Not only will organizations be able to storage and protect an increased amount of data, but the open source design and open application environment of IOX lets software developers utilize their own applications and devices on the network's edge in support of growing data concerns in nearly every industry.

Guido Jouret, general manager for Cisco's internal Internet of Things Business Group, spoke highly of the new technology. "Cisco is very excited to accelerate innovation in the Internet of Things by delivering IOx, which provides the ability to combine computation and communication on our ruggedized routers and other devices. We believe that this turns the network into the fourth platform for computing, which will unleash new applications in manufacturing, transportation, smart cities and many other industries."

Real World Examples

In early 2014, Cisco met with a group of industry professionals in order to promote fog computing and to disseminate their goals regarding the new technology. During the presentation, Cisco representatives offered four real world examples regarding the benefits of fog computing.

Their first example talked about smart energy initiatives, pointing to load-balancing software that is capable of hot-swapping energy sources such as solar and wind power in order to accommodate community needs as well as pricing trends in real time. This type of innovation requires the instantaneous transferring and processing of extraordinarily large amounts of data, the likes of which can only be managed through a combined, concentrated computational force such as that of the network edge and fog computing.

Another real world example talked about a recent innovation in air vents which allows advanced sensors to scan the air going in and out of underground mines, thereby adjusting the flow of air in dangerous conditions. Again, such information can only be transferred and processed through the combined efforts of the billions of devices that are already a part of the IoT. Moreover, Cisco predicts an estimated 50 billion devices connected through the IoT by the year 2020, which will result in data flows that have never been seen before.


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