Resources / Insights

December 18, 2018

For Fog Computing, the Future Has Arrived

by Matt Vasey, Chairman and President, OpenFog Consortium

The upcoming union of the Industrial Internet Consortium and the OpenFog Consortium, announced this week, will transform the future of industrial networks.  The two organizations’ combined talents will enable us to capitalize on the undeniable momentum of the two largest and most influential international consortia in Industrial IoT, 5G and AI computing.

The OpenFog Consortium was founded nearly three years ago to accelerate the adoption of fog computing, which addresses bandwidth, latency and communications challenges associated with IoT, 5G and AI applications.  We’re very proud that, over that span, we have been able to spur the advancement of fog technologies from a technology, standards and general awareness standpoint. Today, fog is real and being adopted at an impressive rate.

Our journey at OpenFog has been uncommon; for example, we gained some unexpected allies along the way. As we move to the next chapter, it’s worth reflecting on the impact of these unique collaborations:

  • OpenFog benefits from international diversity, by virtue of a particularly strong member presence in the Americas, Japan and Greater China. This has enabled us to consider fog’s opportunity and progress within the scope of a wide range of vertical markets and ecosystems.
  • Our deep-seated academic influence, driven by founding member Princeton University, is unusual in tech consortia and has been critical to the innovation we have fostered.
  • Our alliance with the IEEE Standard Association yielded a standard known as IEEE 1934™ based on the OpenFog Reference Architecture, which defines the basis for cooperative, open and inter-operative fog systems across IoT, AI and 5G deployments. 

Under the IIC umbrella, these active partners will continue to prove valuable.

Synergy with IIC

Today, we’re pleased to continue this journey as part of IIC.  Over the years, it became increasingly apparent that we share so much synergy in technology direction with the IIC that it just made sense to bring the two consortia together.

The resulting combination of memberships, resources and shared knowledge will further the growth of the technologies – including fog – that will support IIoT ecosystems.  By expanding our pool of resources and expert collaborators, we will continue to accelerate the adoption of not only fog, but a wealth of technologies that provide the underpinnings to IoT, AI and 5G.  That impacts a variety of promising industries, including Smart Cities, Smart Manufacturing, Smart Energy, and so on.

From our vantage point at OpenFog, it’s clear that these verticals are evolving quickly.  Machines, things, and devices are becoming increasingly intelligent, seamlessly connected, and capable of massive storage with the ability to be autonomous and self-aware.  Robots, drones, and self-driving cars are early indicators of small and mobile clouds. Distributed intelligence that interacts directly with the world and is immersive with all aspects of their surrounding is the concept behind fog.

We have an outstanding opportunity to provide guidance and leadership in these spaces. The IIC is well positioned to deliver the framework for secure and efficient information processing within the cloud-to-things continuum.

Key Initiatives for 2019

The combined IIC will continue to investigate ways to scale the marketing and technical development of fog computing. Key initiatives you can expect us to pursue will include:

  • Expansion of the investment in international testbeds and technical working groups. The Technical committees will continue to build out testbeds and define optimal network implementations for core vertical markets and horizontal areas. There will be a renewed push toward testbed validation and certification programs.
  • The Social Impact Working Group will continue to identify new areas of research.
  • We will continue to produce and expand prototypical use cases describing best-practice architectures in real-world settings.

For fog computing, the future has arrived.  We are looking forward to continuing the journey as part of IIC.

About Matt Vasey

A frequent presenter, author, spokesperson and social media influencer on fog, IoT, big data, AI, cloud and OpenFog topics, Vasey serves as a global business development and strategy leader for Microsoft, with a focus on the intelligent cloud and the intelligent edge. He also provides strategic advisory services to leading firms and organizations thru additional board positions and advisory relationships.

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