Connectivity is nothing new. Since the internet arrived on the scene in the 1990s, we’ve been finding ways to connect everything from coffee pots to Coke machines and televisions to thermostats. The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is arguably as old as the internet itself.
Those who are familiar with the Internet of Things and cloud computing may have noticed that the two buzzwords tend to be thrown together. The reason for this marriage – in both discussion and practice – is that industry experts understand how mutually beneficial the cloud and IoT are to one another.
The relationship began several years ago, when mobile devices like smart phones and tablets began gaining traction in the workplace. Powerful mobile apps were developed to provide users with cross-platform capabilities, but to do this, they needed the storage and syncing technology of the cloud.
Fast forward to today’s world. Mobile devices have become an invaluable tool across a variety of industries. However, they still lag behind in server hardware, processing power and storage of a desktop computer, making the use of cloud computing a necessity, as opposed to just an option.
Enter the Internet of Things. Connecting multiple devices requires a remote system, typically a public cloud-based system. The more “things” that are connected, the more people will use public cloud services. The cloud and the IoT are therefore tightly coupled.
Now that many people are regular users of mobile and the cloud, products that incorporate both are beginning to spring up all over the place. From smart toasters and locks to security systems and exercise bracelets, the options for controlling or tracking ordinary objects with mobile devices is becoming a part of everyday life.
What is important to understand, though, is that the immediate benefits of these smart objects are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Internet of Things. Smart objects are now being endowed with sensors capable of feeding data back to cloud platforms for further analysis. With so much data coming in from potentially millions of different sources, the diversity and precision of that analysis is increasingly useful, especially for the enterprise.
Although the concept of connectivity has been around for decades, the cloud is helping bring the idea to life by connecting phones, tablets, sensors and other objects. Those users who want to capitalize on these growing benefits are searching for more ways to apply the IoT to their everyday business practices. Since the cloud is so well suited to storing, filtering and analyzing information in practical ways, a connected world requires use of the cloud to maximize its capabilities.
“It will be virtually impossible to view these two technological paradigms independent of one another,” writes Kurt Jonckheer. “IoT will transform all cloud services in the market today. On the other hand, IoT will not be able to evolve without a strong ecosystem of cloud services.”
People are increasingly seeking out immersive consumer experiences, which the IoT delivers. As the cloud ecosystem matures, the nascent machine-to-machine market is expected to grow too. The close relationship between the cloud and IoT will change how people interact with their surroundings – whether it’s grocery shopping or business meetings.