IoT platform steps up intelligence with fog computing
The growing focus on the emerging IoT and M2M markets has occasioned to an intense competition between firms racing to provide solutions to convert raw sensor data into intelligent, usable information.
But sending all the raw data to the cloud for processing and intelligence is inefficient and expensive, noted Paul Glynn, Davra Networks CEO. With the release of its RuBAN application enablement platform, the firm is jumping on the "fog computing" bandwagon with a clear goal to add local value to IoT data before it even reaches the cloud.
"Out of the estimated 50 billion connected devices that may be deployed by 2020, the vast majority will not have a direct connection to the cloud but will pass on their data through local gateways or routers," explained Glynn.
"Often, most of the generated data is irrelevant. A sensor may indicate it's still operational, or that the values it monitors remain unchanged, and often that data could be dumped," he told EE Times Europe. While a lot of network and mobile operators see the IoT as an opportunity to sell more SIM cards and data plans, Glynn presents the cloud-based RuBAN platform as a way to build new data services while focusing on data reduction.
In Davra's solution, data is gathered, filtered, and managed near its source, and only relevant information is sent to the cloud to be turned into insightful business intelligence calling for action. Following Cisco's fog computing concept, simple sets of rules running on the gateways' embedded computers can enable local intelligence.
"That way, networks evolve beyond object connectivity, to data services," he says. "Last year, Cisco would have supplied a router, but now they offer routers bundled with data services" he added.
"For example, our solution is already implemented in a large fleet of school buses operating in rural areas in Texas. A gateway on board each bus provides WiFi for the passengers, but it also aggregates engine data for driver behaviour monitoring. It logs speed and traffic density [and] the actual position of the bus... All [this] information enables us to build new data services that largely pay for the WiFi installation alone."
RuBAN's user interface.
"As computing power moves to the edges of the network, data analysis has a bigger role to play at the edge," continues Glynn. "With the RuBAN platform, it is as if we were dropping a virtual network engineer at gateway-level to act upon the data flow and decide remotely and on-the-fly what makes sense to be routed further and what should be dumped to reduce the stream of data."
The RuBAN platform can present the data on any connected interface. It requires no customisation and also handles automated network troubleshooting, response, and problem repair remotely. It can be used to connect many different industries horizontally, while the granularity of each data analysis solution is based on the customer's specific requirements, established locally.
In the future, this sort of data intelligence could even become an integral part of software-defined networks.
- Julien Happich
EE Times Europe
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