Are Internet of Things and Cloud Computing like Juliet and Romeo?

Sunday, February 20th, 2011 by Thiago Silva

According to IBM, by 2013, there will be  1.2 billion connected electronic devices (sensor, appliances, meters, transformers, wind turbines, rooftop solar panels and so on), in more than 800 million homes with broadband Internet access. This network is called Internet of Things, IoT. With that, we have an opportunity to make our homes smarter.

Taking into account energy consumption the IoT could unleash several new services to save energy. Imagine our refrigerator being automatically adjusted based on the weather, the lights turning off if we have enough light coming from outside, our washer and dryer determining water temperature and wash/rinse/dry time based on load volume, dirt level and time-of-day energy rates, etc.

Your smart home may look like this, normal.

Your smart home may looks like this, normal.

In order to have smart services like these and achieve optimum efficiency, which is after all the idea behind a smart grid, it is necessary to link many millions of devices across our entire electrical, and communication infrastructure.  With all devices communicating one another there will be a lot of data traveling back and forth in many directions. It is hard to estimate how much data, but I truly believe that it will be a “huuuuge” amount.  Being able to deal with a massive volume of data that need to be processed cheaply in order to monetize value is a key element for this area, but of course there are other challenges like the design of algorithms to offer smart services, and so on.

Cloud computing has been one of the biggest trends for computing and the web of the past decade. Bringing the management of that massive volume of data to cloud computing style services could be an interesting opportunity for the main players in the game of smarter services for energy consumption, as utility industry, and Telecom Operators. Sure new applications and services (previously unthinkable) will come to light, in all shapes and sizes. But I tend to believe that the Internet of thing and cloud computing are meant to each other.

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