In part 1 of our discussion with Jeffrey Kaplan, Managing Director of the strategic consulting company THINKstrategies, we talk about the relationship between cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). In part 2, we’ll cover some hot buttons and concerns regarding the IoT and the cloud.
Wendy Toth: What’s the relationship between cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Jeffrey Kaplan: The reason I’m paying so much attention to the IoT is because of my longstanding focus on the cloud computing marketplace and the fact that the two of them have converged recently.
In fact, it’s my belief that we would not be talking as much about the IoT if it weren’t for the cloud, because it brings a number of enabling technologies to bear on the idea of the IoT. The cloud makes it possible for us to fulfill the promise of the IoT from a functional standpoint, but more importantly from an economic scalability point of view.
TOTH: How does the cloud enable the IoT?
KAPLAN: The cloud permits people to more easily connect to things, more easily capture information from those things, and then share that information. Because of that, it is perfectly suited to supporting the IoT idea.
While the idea of the IoT has been around for a while, it has been evolving in a kind of parallel path with the evolution of the cloud. It’s only been in the past couple of years that the two markets have begun to converge and become really intertwined with each other.
TOTH: What do you mean about the economic aspects of the cloud/IoT relationship?
KAPLAN: The IoT is about tying together or connecting remote objects and devices so we can monitor various services and products. There’s no better way of doing that, and doing it more economically, than using the cloud. The cloud’s infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings have given us unprecedented compute power, but more importantly the opportunity to store data at scale in an economic fashion. Then the software-as-a-service (SaaS) layer and the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) layer give us the opportunity to analyze that data and share it in a more effective fashion, as well. It all serves the purposes of the IoT very, very well.
TOTH: Do you see comparisons with the IoT and anything we might have seen previously, in terms of how fast it’s moving or its promise?
KAPLAN: One parallel is the transition from on-premise software to SaaS, another is from on-premise systems to IaaS. One is at the software application layer, the other is at the compute layer, and both have happened more rapidly than the industry analysts forecasted. That faster-than-expected rate of adoption is happening again with the IoT.
TOTH: I’ve heard you admit there are areas where the cloud isn’t ideal. What are some of those areas, and how does this relate to the IoT?
KAPLAN: In certain geographic areas, cloud connectivity either isn’t available or it’s not up to par with local services. Even though I’m a guy who, as my wife says, looks at the world through ‘cloudy’ glasses, I’m also a realist, and I know that we are forever going to live in a hybrid world.
That’s why it is a good thing we have the Echelons of the world to bridge that gap. As companies begin to adopt the new technologies and the new business models, they need to do it in such a way that it minimizes the risk of disrupting their current customers and capabilities. Echelon’s approach of providing a bridge from the old ways of connecting industrial devices to the new IP-enabled cloud way of connecting devices helps smooth that transition.
IIoT Talks is a conversation between industry luminaries and Echelon Corporation about the opportunities of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market. Echelon's Chief Marketing Officer, Wendy Toth, will share highlights of these conversations via the company blog. If you are interested in participating, please send an email to email@example.com.