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Following the “Cloud,” the “Fog” Rolls in

iStock_000002195721_LargeFirst came the the cloud, the buzzword for using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data. Then came "the Internet of Things" (IoT), the buzzword that described the process of bringing network connectivity to everyday objects and allowing them to send and receive data.

Now, we have the fog.

Sunday in The Wall Street Journal, Christopher Mims explained how the explosion of new devices connected to the Internet is creating new demands for more efficient access to data.

As a result, networks serving mobile devices are challenged to maintain services as data traffic mushrooms and to deliver the data in a usable fashion.

The problem of how to get things done when we're dependent on the cloud is becoming all the more acute as more and more objects become smart, or able to sense their environments, connect to the Internet, and even receive commands remotely, Mims wrote. Everything from jet engines to refrigerators is being pushed onto wireless networks and joining the Internet of Things."

This is the "fog" of resources, all in need of connectivity. Cisco, a leader in promoting IoT and with it, machine-to-machine (M2M) communications awareness, has also coined fog computing, Mims said.

Luckily there's an obvious solution, Mims added. Stop focusing on the cloud, and start figuring out how to store and process the torrent of data being generated by the Internet of Things (also known as the industrial Internet) on the things themselves, or on devices that sit between our things and the Internet.

Aeris Communications is tackling this issue, with an M2M Application Enablement Platform that allows users of IoT/M2M solutions to manage their most valuable data. Aeriss AerCloud abstraction layer provides M2M data management for applications and eliminates the time and effort spent integrating M2M devices into the applications. Its functionalities include collection and storage of M2M data that scales to millions of devices, real-time data analytics, a data sharing interface that enables data to be consumed by third parties, and the ability to push user-defined alerts to applications automatically.

The fog represents a challenge to the IoT/M2M communications that demands new solutions to handle the data explosion.