Cloud Computing's Silver Lining For Smartphones: Fog Computing

Computer storage is no longer just an issue at your place of business or in your home office. Today's mobile society requires our smartphones to carry just as many gigs (if not more) than what our desktops were supplied with just few short years ago. If you're still wasting your mobile phone's precious in-built storage, you're either purchasing too many seldom-used apps or uploading too many photos and documents, without giving consideration to the two technolgies recently introduced into our lexicon.

Go UP, Young Man

Many foresee a modern-day Horace Greeley pointing upward versus the West. The transformative power of Cloud computing shifts data and software off of our mobile devices and into someone else's data center. An app connected with the Cloud can store more incoming data because it now has the reserves to do so.

Lacking the juice

However our current wireless service providers need to evolve in tandem less the actual act of data transfers to the Cloud becomes cumbersome. Today's 3G and 4G cellular network simply aren't fast enough to transmit data from our devices to the Cloud at the pace this data is generated. And with the Internet of Things becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives, when all of our objects in the home and at work get connected to each other, the issue is only going to escalate.

Hover where the action is

Cisco Systems believes they have found a solution with the introduction of the new paradigm they refer to as "fog computing." Differing from the Cloud which is up in the sky, distant and remote, the Fog is hovering closer to the ground, right in the mix where we and our things are engaging. According to Christopher Mims at the Business Spectator, "it consists not of powerful servers, but weaker and more dispersed computers of the sort that are making their way into appliances, factories, cars, street lights and every other piece of our material culture."

Beating the competition

Cisco is keenly aware that the Chinese have been hard at work over the course of the last decade developing their own Internet of Things. To counter their encroachment on Cisco's future revenue stream in this space, Cisco is developing router hubs to manage their Fog Computing. The intent here is to create 'smart routers' that will never have to talk to the Cloud unless they have to. The distinguishing Fog characteristics, according to Cisco is "its proximity to end-users," the folks using those smart phones. And more comprehensive than the IoT, is what Cisco refers to as the Internet of Everything (IoE).

Fog is already lifting . .

The Fog is already here, accessed by many of the sensors people use in their everyday life – some of them are called “wearables.” From Google Glass to Bluetooth, devices can now perform short-range connection that enable quick data processing via the user's smartphones versus relying on a direct Internet connection from the wearable (sensor) to a cloud-based service.

The interface of the smartphone allows the wearable to provide information and status updates that are processed locally. And today's user needs this geographically produced data to be able to interact with the devices that are closest to them, allowing them to make proactive decisions in real-time.

The future of big brand enterprise computing that can afford mega-bandwidth transference of Big Data will remain in the Cloud because it has to. But the really transformative computing of the future for us smartphone users is going to happen right here, with the objects that surround us -- in the fog. 

If that doesn't clear things up for you, stay tuned as this train is just about ready to leave the station - and the next alert you might be receiving is from those things that are already on board.