The Coming of Fog & Edge Computing

The fog is coming…

Over the last 2 decades or so, we’ve seen the rise of Cloud computing.

It was revolutionary when first introduced. A centralized processing, storage and networking facility that allowed you access to your data and applications anywhere in the world.

Since then, we’ve put all kinds of stuff in the Cloud, from Customer Relationship Management like Salesforce, to the ubiquity of file storage like Dropbox. Amazon even allowed us to build physical server infrastructures in the Cloud with Amazon Web Services.

But overtime, a pattern started to emerge where consumer and business applications with operational, regulatory, business or reliability needs started to find cracks in the Cloud architecture.

Our aging internet infrastructure was built to handle the static nature of delivering webpages through the ether, not full blown visually rich, fully interactive applications.

It’s like building a house with all kinds of fancy faucets and sinks; but then we find the pipeline carrying the water is not thick enough or reliable enough to deliver what we need.

Coined in 2015 by Cisco, Fog computing is a concept that extends cloud computing capabilty to the edge of our connected network. Meaning dedicated devices with process, storage, and connectivity within control of the end user.

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Majority of the IoT (Internet of Things) products that exist to meet the bandwidth, latency, and reliability challenges faced by our current internet architecture falls under the Fog computing banner.

Here are a few example of Fog Computing Devices:

  • Google Home – A voice activated smart home assistant. Google Home’s Fog capabilities allow it to respond to user commands with little to no wait time, it taps into the smart devices around the house, or user’s own cloud application, enabling it to stream music, book calendar event, make shopping lists, and almost any other digital services that can be interacted with vocally.
  • Nest – A home based smart thermometer. Nest’s Fog capabilities allow it to act with no latency and respond to user interactions instantly. Over time, Nest will build a custom schedule for the house its installed in to regulate temperature based on user habits. Nest has since moved into home alarms, and smart locks with the same distributed and smart computing built in.
  • Capsule – a smart photo assistant that automatically backs up, curates and shares your photos & videos. Capsule’s Fog capabilities allows all photos & videos to be stored in the user’s home, along with computation (including artificial intelligence) all done in-home for privacy and speed reason. Capsule works out of the box without a need to upload any photos to the Cloud, but promises anywhere photo access, smart album and slideshow generation and rule based sharing (e.g. share my kids photos with my parents in Hawaii)

As the world moves toward user focused and smarter devices, it’s clear that Fog Computing is here to stay, it just comes to what kind of value it can continue to deliver over Cloud Computing…

Johnathan Zhuang
Johnathan Zhuang

CEO & Co-founder of Capsule Labs. Nothing brings me more joy than working on a product which make a difference in other people's lives. Hobbies include reading, guitar, being a dad.

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A blog about the CAPSULE product, and the corporate & social philosophies that drives us. We will occasionally cover things like mobile photography, privacy, and tips on leading a healthy lifestyle in today's connected world.

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