Cloud computing services are one of the measures that ensure the success of any Internet of Things (IoT) project. Typically, IoT involves a large amount of data taken from hundreds or thousands of sensors and devices, which must be stored, processed and accessed. All this can be done on an on-premises infrastructure, if the beneficiary owns such an IT infrastructure, or on a cloud platform, in a much easier, cheaper and safer way.

M247 offers a full range of cloud computing services necessary for the successful implementation of IoT projects. These services offer flexible access to high-performance computing capabilities, but also a secure way to store data.

The IoT ecosystem is also developing rapidly in Romania, catalyzed equally by the investments in Low-power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) and 5G networks made by providers such as Vodafone, Orange or Sigfox, but also by the emergence of innovative projects. In recent years, more and more startups have developed IoT solutions for monitoring the quality of the environment and forest fires, the intelligent management of parking spaces and street lighting, easybox networks, etc.

Why IoT needs Cloud Computing

The evolution of IoT is impressive globally. The 2023 State of IoT report by IoT Analytics reveals remarkable growth in global IoT connections, reaching 14.3 billion connected devices in 2022 and with a projection of growth to 16 billion by the end of this year 2023. For 2027, experts anticipate further growth, surpassing 29 billion connected IoT devices. This exponential growth underscores the need for a robust IT infrastructure to handle (processing, storage, analysis) the flood of data generated by these interconnected devices.

IoT devices cover a wide spectrum, from home appliances to industrial machinery, medical equipment and autonomous vehicles. The challenge lies not only in capturing the raw data from these devices, but also in turning it into actionable information. This process requires significant processing power, scalability and availability – conditions that cloud platforms provide in a native way.

How IoT harnesses the power of the Cloud

In IoT projects, connected devices generate data that is sent to software platforms to be processed and used. Depending on the device, network and application, different types of raw data are sent for processing, in real time or in batches. IoT-type data, for example the values read by a thermostat, the index from electric meters, the location from a GPS, the pulse from a portable device, etc., are small in size, but due to the high number and the need for real-time processing, they are approaching of what is called “big data” in the industry.

That’s why IoT projects need the performance offered by a cloud platform:

  1. Scalability and Flexibility for IT Infrastructure

One of the main advantages of using cloud computing for IoT is scalability. Cloud platforms offer the flexibility to scale resources (add or remove thanks to virtualization solutions) according to the changing requirements of IoT applications. Whether it’s adapting to a spike in data or adjusting to periods of lower activity, cloud services provide the agility needed to ensure optimal performance without the need for significant upfront hardware investment.

In addition, cloud-based solutions enable the seamless integration of additional devices into the IoT ecosystem. As the number of connected devices continues to grow, the ability to scale the infrastructure becomes crucial. Cloud services allow IoT providers to adapt to ever-changing requirements without the constraints of physical infrastructure limitations.

  1. Availability

Ensuring service continuity is a crucial aspect of IoT operations. Cloud computing services benefit from high availability through redundant data centers, distributed networks and failover mechanisms. In case of hardware failures or other disruptions, a Data Center can automatically activate backup equipment (IT, power supply, etc.) or direct traffic to other networks to keep operations active and minimize downtime. The M247 Data Center in Bucharest is built to provide Tier 3 availability, i.e. 99.9% of the time.

  1. Affordable costs and zero initial investment

Running an IoT project on an on-premises infrastructure often involves significant upfront costs for hardware, maintenance, and skilled personnel. Such investments affect the profitability of projects, and in the case of startups they are even impossible to sustain. Cloud computing, on the other hand, follows a pay-as-you-go model, allowing IoT providers to pay only for the resources they actually use. This cost-effective approach eliminates the need for significant upfront investment and ensures that organizations only pay for the services they use, making cloud-based solutions an attractive option for budget-constrained IoT projects or startups.

  1. Security

Security is a fundamental concern in the IoT landscape given the sensitive nature of the data transmitted. Moreover, many IoT devices do not even benefit from dedicated security solutions and are exposed to cyber-attacks. The Verkada case from 2021 is very well known, when hackers took over the data stream from over 150,000 video cameras, placed in the most diverse locations: Tesla factories, schools, hospitals, etc.

Cloud providers invest heavily in robust security measures, including encryption, authentication protocols, and advanced threat detection systems. By leveraging the security infrastructure of trusted cloud platforms, IoT providers can improve data protection and defend against potential cyber threats.

  1. Performance

IoT applications demand real-time or near-real-time performance, especially in scenarios where instant decision-making is crucial. Cloud services optimize performance by using distributed computing architectures and advanced networking technologies. This ensures that data processing and analysis occurs with minimal latency, enabling fast responses to events and improving the overall efficiency of IoT applications. The M247 infrastructure, for example, is based on the latest generation servers, storage, networking and virtualization solutions.

What IoT vendors need to consider when choosing a cloud platform

Selecting the right IoT cloud platform requires careful consideration of several factors, including features, pricing, compatibility, and support.

Here are some key aspects that IoT vendors should consider:

  • Essential features and functionality such as device management, data ingestion, analytics and integration capabilities.
  • Cost model, with differentiated approach for data storage costs, computing resources and any additional fees associated with data transfer and analysis services.
  • Compatibility with IoT devices in the system for seamless integration and retrieval of seamless data flow
  • Availability and reliability because only a robust infrastructure, with redundant systems (power, air conditioning, IT) and failover mechanisms, to ensure service continuity
  • Advanced security features, data encryption and service compliance with industry standards and regulations
  • Latency, as minimizing delays in data transmission is critical for IoT solutions that process data in real time

From M247’s perspective, the combination of IoT with cloud computing services creates a mutually beneficial relationship that enables the exploitation of the potential brought by Internet-connected devices.

The scalability, flexibility, availability, low cost, security and performance offered by cloud platforms are a solution to the challenges of managing massive volumes of data generated by IoT devices. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, choosing the right cloud services is becoming a strategic decision for IoT vendors, especially startups, influencing project success and efficiency.

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