In the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, your morning commute might look something like this:
After wolfing down a breakfast prepared to meet your prescribed levels of protein, fat and cholesterol, you are summoned to hop in your self-driven car to arrive precisely on time for your first VR-based meeting of the morning. There's no guessing the traffic patterns because they're always the same. Along the way, you catch up on your audio email or participate in a video conference call.
Your day is planned by your environment and mood sensed by IoT sensors and AI computed schedule. And did you leave something at home? Just print a new one when you get to the office.
We are just scratching the surface on what the Fourth Industrial Revolution will look like once we fully embrace the world of robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the Internet of Things, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles.
Not since the Second Industrial Revolution has the world been poised for a transformation of this magnitude. It was just before World War I where U.S. industries combined steel, oil and electricity to invent the telephone, light bulbs, phonographs and the internal combustion engine.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will fuse the physical, digital and biological worlds to impact all disciplines, economies and industries. Being “agile and bold” will be the order of the day. And the one thing that will tie it all together will be cloud.
Organizations will have no choice but to adopt cloud to benefit from the ‘fourth wave’ as the means of storage and transit of information and workloads. We know broad adoption is already underway as with IDC suggesting a 24.4 percent increase in public cloud spending over the past year. Being able to use cloud ubiquitously will be key, with workload mobility being a key concern.
The transition and journey to the cloud from the more ‘traditional' technology is not one that happens overnight. And although Gartner's latest CEO survey reveals that 42 percent of CEOs have begun their digital business transformation journeys, it's essential to protect legacy infrastructures while integrating cloud implementations. This is where the concept of “edge computing” will bring legacy to the edge of the cloud. Allowing for leverage without full transformation in a service provider that is directly connected with fat pipes to public cloud.
So with large, long-term investment in mind, what solutions may fulfill budget criteria and aid the transition to the cloud while also bridging this gap?
The cloud has come a long way in its evolution from a basic data storage model to a robust, cost-effective infrastructure for increased agility and responsiveness.
However, some organizations, concerned with security, availability and reliability, are understandably cautious of moving all their operations and data to the cloud, which explains the popularity of the hybrid cloud. Hybrid clouds allow each workload to sit in the appropriate infrastructure – on-premises, edge, private or public cloud – to optimize performance, security and budgetary requirements. But remember, like most cases with things that are “fast, good, and cheap,” you only get to pick two optimizations and there will be tradeoffs.
The adoption of cloud – and hybrid cloud environments in particular – brings about a new iteration of an age-old IT issue; how to combine legacy infrastructures with new technologies. Whether migrating to new technologies or combining the new with the old, managing the process can be complex and time-consuming. A hybrid model enables organizations to jump to the cloud with current new applications and associated data, keeping the legacy applications close to home or in an “edge” managed service provider for more careful management.
Organizations and their CTOs must evaluate management tools for current and future needs. And procurement processes should cover vendor lock-in, product development cycles, support and security.
If the Fourth Industrial Revolution is truly upon us, then organizations will have to align IT budgets to accommodate new cloud-based technologies that canvas both business and consumer markets. For companies not ready to make the full leap to cloud computing, hybrid clouds will offer a viable means of saving money and expanding benefits through its ability to scale and take advantage of the continuous data output tied to applications.
It is becoming increasingly important to invest in software that can support hybrid cloud models to deliver seamless delivery and continuous uptime, no matter the transitions. Wherever the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes us, the cloud will be there – more likely in the form of a hybrid.
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