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IoT data in the cloud and on the edge

With more data generated at the edge, transferring it all to the cloud may not be a feasible option. That's where edge cloud comes in.

The year 2020 accelerated digital transformation, and cloud technology has become more prevalent. In fact, over the past year, we've seen rapid growth in the convergence of enterprise IT, cloud and security functions, partially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations have adopted a more opportunistic mindset and are looking to capitalize on the benefits of connecting everything while they continue to address ongoing challenges.

With connectivity becoming increasingly necessary -- especially with many individuals working from home -- devices are connected to the internet and to each other more than ever before. Digital transformation and the need to have various devices communicate and share data is no longer nice -- it's essential. The data transmitted by IoT devices is critical to optimize business, analyze patterns and understand trends that affect daily operations.

That brings us to today. Now, there is an integrated relationship between IoT and the cloud. The cloud stores IoT data and can be accessed whenever and wherever, making it ideal for multiple locations or dispersed operations. Combined, IoT and cloud solutions support data capture with real-time control and intelligence monitoring.

Cloud systems can help organizations mine IoT data -- including video data -- using AI. Embedded intelligence results in easier operations, greater efficiencies and more streamlined processes. IoT makes this possible. It powers intelligent sensors to capture data and then analyzes the information to send out a notification when an event has occurred. The type of sensors can be from weather tracking, building management systems, video surveillance, traffic monitoring, access control and analytics.

Combining the cloud and IoT is a desirable option for many businesses, but what about those that may not have the bandwidth or ability to support a pure cloud infrastructure? Today, organizations may also consider hybrid options to move to the cloud in a more strategic, cost-effective and bandwidth-friendly manner.

Edge cloud products are designed to deliver customized cloud functionality based on specific security priorities, risks and operational requirements. They also address some of the challenges that stakeholders face when considering cloud-based options, such as internet issues, high IoT device counts and network traffic optimization. With a storage-on-the-edge option, end users can configure their storage options in a way that reduces bandwidth and cost and accelerates their digital transformation goals. Hybrid options also build in the opportunity to move fully into the cloud in the future.

Reasons to go hybrid with edge clouds

But the question is: When is edge storage ideal for IoT deployments? It depends on your business, operational and security needs. Let's look at some of the parameters that may affect a business's decision to select edge cloud.

Compliance and storage

Many industries, such as gaming and cannabis, face specific regulatory requirements to keep IoT data for a particular period of time. Although the retention time varies based on application, the information must be easily accessible if needed for an investigation or review. Edge cloud storage allows operators to customize retention times across the facility or on each specific device and allocate where to store the data. Overall, this approach offers more flexibility and enables users to change settings as needed.

Growing IoT device networks

With IoT proliferating, we can expect connected device deployments to continue growing, and more sites will have more devices. This fact leads to more captured data and a demand for more storage. The video surveillance market, which is the most prominent IoT data producer, is expected to grow to $86.53 billion by 2027, according to research and consulting firm Emergen Research. Storing video on the edge, for example, will free up bandwidth and provide users with the flexibility of the cloud without affecting the network bandwidth needed to meet the organization's other network and business needs.

Work from home

When business networks expand by adding new corporate facilities or more employees working from other remote locations, the setup and maintenance of on-premises platforms can hinder effective operations monitoring. Edge cloud can manage dispersed, remote operations without the additional need for extensive bandwidth. Using edge cloud also allows dispersed locations to be viewed and managed through a single platform from anywhere and at any time.

Network strength

The demands of running multiple cloud-based programs can be a challenge for IT leaders who look to ensure the network is safe, secure and accessible. But, sometimes, demand creates a need to optimize the network and maximize its performance for outbound operations. IoT data that is uploaded directly to the cloud can bog down the IT infrastructure for other functions. Therefore, storing selected IoT data on the edge becomes a necessary next step in helping IT departments maintain network uptime.

About the author
As Arcules CEO, Andreas Pettersson leads the Arcules team in creating the cloud-based video-as-a-service category for enterprise companies. Prior to becoming CEO, Pettersson was CTO from the formation of the company in 2017. He is an executive leader with more than 10 years of international business development, engineering and product management leadership experience.

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