May 9, 2016

How will IoT change your life?

An IoT (Internet of Things) setup has devices connected to the internet catering to multiple use case scenarios. These can be monitoring of assets, executing tasks and services to support day to day human requirements, ensuring life & safety through alerts and responses, city infrastructure management through command control centers for emergency response, enabling efficient governance through process automation, provisioning healthcare and enabling sustainable energy management thereby addressing environment conservation concerns.

A platform which caters to all above use cases from devices and sensors to management functionalities qualifies to be a Smart city platform.

Cloud computing is a popular service that comes with many characteristics and advantages. Basically, cloud computing is like DIY (Do It Yourself) service wherein a user/consumer can subscribe to computing resources based on demand/requirement whilst the services are delivered entirely over the Internet.

IoT and Cloud computing go hand-in-hand though they are two different technologies which are already part of our life. Both being pervasive qualifies them as the internet of future. Cloud merged with IoT together is foreseen as new and disruptive paradigm.

Just like cloud is available as a service, whether it is infrastructure, platform or software .Similarly IoT is seen as every(thing) as a service for future since it also fulfills the smart city initiative. First and foremost requirements of any IoT platform for smart city is on demand self-service which enables usage based subscription to computing resources(hardware) that manage and run automation , platform functions, software features and algorithms that form part of city management infrastructure.

Characteristics of such an IoT on Cloud scenario are …

·     Broad network access- to enable any device connectivity whether it is laptop, tablet, nano/micro/pico gateways or actuators or sensors.
       Resource pooling - for on demand access of compute resources like assign identity to device in pool.
      Rapid elasticity - to enable quickly edit software features providing elastic computing- storage & networking demands.
      Measured service - pay for only resources and or services used based on duration/volume/quantity of usage.   

Advantage of any IoT Cloud setup is that it doesn’t involve upfront CAPEX from a service consumer point of view in terms of building entire infrastructure from ground zero. Rather it is based on subscribe-operate-scale-pay model. This enables stakeholders and decision maker’s instant access to actual environment which helps them gauge prospective investment and expenditure at the same time technology teams are geared up to anticipate which component of the IoT setup needs to be scaled rather than replicating entire setup to fulfill growing demands.

Dockers (which are basically containers having associated compute, storage and software module with runtime environments required to run software module of overall software) and Micro services (are independent services having own data persistence and dependency software elements which can run independently or provide service to monolithic systems) are some of the features that help manage scalability aspect of IoT platform on cloud catering to smart city use case. Individual modules and components within IoT platform can be preconfigured as Dockers and Micro services.  Once there is traction on the platform, respective Docker or Micro services gets provisioned to handle surge in data traffic thus individual functionality of the platform becomes horizontally scalable. Hence to address such ad-hoc scalability requirements, unlike monolithic systems wherein entire platform needs replication, here only individual module of the platform can be scaled which saves substantial resources and OPEX for stakeholders.

This platform architecture can be implemented on a cloud infrastructure reusing legacy hardware or over commodity computing infrastructure.

Any smart city deployment of IoT platform demands fail safe high availability setup. As a result computing infrastructure has to be clustered (grouping of similar functional units/modules within software system).With the surge in number of clusters and Dockers of each functional modules, managing such disparate clustered environments becomes a challenge. Technologies such as Kubernetes and Mesos address these challenges.

Mesos and Kubernetes enable efficient management, scalability and optimization of Dockers micro services and APIs which are exposed as PaaS or SaaS over cloud infrastructure, thereby fulfilling on- the- fly auto scaling demands from service consumers.

Pacific controls Galaxy2021 platform built using open source technologies has adopted most of the above mentioned technologies and best practices. This forms a unique value proposition enabling early adoption to latest technology innovations in the open source world that is either related to IoT or cloud computing. Galaxy2021 platform is horizontally scalable and is capable to manage disparate IoT applications of various stakeholders. It can handle high volume data communication originating at a high frequency from various sensors devices and gateways installed across various smart city assets.

Galaxy2021 Platform has been deployed and available on different cloud infrastructures in public, private and hybrid models catering to customers ranging from Government, Utility companies to OEMs across Middle-East, US and Oceana.