Mobility – New Paradigm for IoT Systems

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IoT is a network of physical things or devices that might include sensors or simple data processing units, complex actuators, and significant hybrid computing power. Today, IoT systems have transitioned from being perceived as sensor networks to smart-networked systems capable of solving complex tasks in mass production, public safety, logistics, medicine and other domains, requiring a broader understanding and acceptance of current technological advancements, including advanced AI data processing.

Since the very beginning of sensor networks, one of the main challenges has been data transport and data processing, where significant efforts have been put by the ICT community towards service-based system architectures. However, the current trend already provides considerable computing power, even for small mobile devices. Therefore, the concepts of future IoT already shifted towards more innovative and more accessible IoT devices, and data processing has become possible closer to the Fog and Edge.

Cloud Computing

Cloud-based computing is a relatively well-known and adequately employed paradigm where IoT devices can interact with remotely shared resources such as data storage, data processing, data mining, and other services are unavailable to them locally because of the constrained hardware resources (CPU, ROM, RAM) or energy consumption limits. Although the cloud computing paradigm can handle vast amounts of data from IoT clusters, the transfer of extensive data to and from cloud computers presents a challenge due to limited bandwidth[1]. Consequently, there is a need to process data near data sources, employing the increasing number of smart devices with enormous processing power and a rising number of service providers available for IoT systems.

 Cloud IoT system' architecture
Figure 1: Cloud IoT system' architecture

Fog Computing

Fog computing addressed the bottlenecks of cloud computing regarding data transport while providing the needed services to IoT systems. Fog computing is a new trend in computing that aims to process data near the source. It pushes applications, services, data, computing power, and decision-making away from the centralized nodes to the logical extremes of a network. Fog computing significantly decreases the data volume that must be moved between end devices and the cloud. Fog computing enables data analytics and knowledge generation at the data source. Furthermore, the dense geographic distribution of fog helps to attain a better-localised accuracy for many applications than the cloud processing of the data [2].
The recent development of energy-efficient hardware with AI acceleration enters the fog class of the devices, putting Fog Computing in the middle of the interest of IoT application development and extending new horizons to them. Fog Computing is more energy efficient than raw data transfer to the cloud and back, and in the current scale of the IoT devices, the application is meant for the future of the planet Earth. Fog computing usually also has a positive impact on IoT security, e.g., sending preprocessed and depersonalized data to the cloud and providing distributed computing capabilities that are more attack-resistant.

 Fog IoT system' architecture
Figure 2: Fog IoT system' architecture

Edge Computing

Recent developments in hardware, power efficiency, and a better understanding of IoT data nature, including privacy and security, led to solutions where data is processed and preprocessed right to their source in the Edge class devices. Edge data processing on end-node IoT devices is crucial in systems where privacy is essential and sensitive data is not to be sent over the network (e.g. biometric data in a raw form). Moreover, distributed data processing can be considered more energy efficient in some scenarios where, e.g. extensive, power-consuming processing can be performed during green energy availability.

 Edge IoT system' architecture
Figure 3: Edge IoT system' architecture

While Cloud, Fog, and Edge systems might seem the same to the end user from a functionality perspective, they are very different and provide different performance, scalability, and computing capabilities, which are emphasized in the following comparison.

 Differences if Cloud and Edge IoT systems
Figure 4: Differences between Cloud and Edge IoT systems

Cognitive IoT Systems

According to [3], Cognitive IoT, besides a proper combination of hardware, sensors and data transport, comprises cognitive computing, which consists of the following main components:

  • understanding – in the case of IoT, it means systems' capability to process a significant amount of structured and unstructured data, extract the meaning of the data – produce a model that binds data to reality,
  • reasoning – involves decision-making according to the understood model and acquired data,
  • learning – creating new knowledge from the existing, sensed data and elaborated models.

Usually, cognitive IoT systems or C-IoT are expected to add more resilience to the solution. Resilience is a complex term and is differently explained under different contexts; however, there are standard features for all resilient systems. As a part of their resilience, C-IoT should be capable of self-failure detection and self-healing that minimises or gradually degrades the system's overall performance. In this respect, the non-resilient system fails or degrades in a step-wise manner. In case of security issues, that system should be able to change its security keys and encryption algorithms and take other measures to cope with the detected threats. Self-optimisation abilities are often considered part of the C-IoT feature list to provide more robust solutions. Recent developments in the Fog and Edge class devices and the efficient software leverage cognitive IoT Systems to a new level.

All three approaches, from cloud to cognitive systems, focus on adding value to IoT devices, system users and related systems on-demand. Since market and technology acceptance of mobile devices is still growing, and the amount of produced data from those devices is growing exponentially, mobility as a phenomenon is one of the main driving forces of the technological advancements of the near future.

[1] Arslan Munir, IFCIoT: Integrated Fog Cloud IoT Architectural Paradigm for the Future Internet of Things, IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine, Vol. 6, Issue 3, July 2017
[2] Arslan Munir, IFCIoT: Integrated Fog Cloud IoT Architectural Paradigm for the Future Internet of Things, IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine, Vol. 6, Issue 3, July 2017
[3] S.Matthews at, Cited: 11.06.2018.
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