What Is the Role of the Cloud in the Internet of Things for Businesses? | Quisitive
A phone, tablet, and computer sit together on a desk representing Internet of Things (IoT)
What Is the Role of the Cloud in the Internet of Things for Businesses?
July 9, 2020
IoT devices are useful but come with security risks as they rely on massive amounts of data. By combining cloud computing and IoT technology, you can capture and interpret useful data while improving device performance and increasing security.

The concept of cloud computing was first put to the test in 1996 when an internal document was hosted entirely online. Since then, it became a vital concept in business and many large companies, including Microsoft, Salesforce and Amazon Web Services, base their business models around the technology. 

In 2008, cloud computing expanded to apps and software, allowing multiple users to store, access, and interpret data from anywhere. The modern cloud computing space is rife with new technology and innovation, with leading cloud providers helping power the next technological advancement that will continually improve cloud functionality and features.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is deeply involved in what comes next for cloud computing. The IoT includes any machine or device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or even personal health device, that can transfer data over a network without the assistance of humans or other devices. IoT was given its name in 1999 and by 2013, it included control and GPS systems, as well as wireless sensor networks.

IoT technology has begun to rely on cloud computing to store, analyze, and interpret data. By learning more about the intersection between these two concepts, you can begin to understand the future of this technology and how it could affect the way we communicate, play, learn, and work.

How Cloud Computing Improves the Internet of Things

Cloud computing helps to enhance the functionality of IoT technology. It also makes this type of technology more accessible to small businesses or individuals. 

Improved Deployment of IoT Tech in Business

With cloud computing, there’s a reduced need for infrastructure that’s installed on-site. Organizations can utilize IoT solutions, such as a large computer network, without worrying about providing data storage for this network in the office. 

Most businesses don’t have a large warehouse on their premises where they can keep the computers needed to store all the data their IoT devices collect. This equipment is also expensive and requires professional maintenance. With cloud computing, data is stored offsite with the cloud provider, who maintains the systems and allows access to authorized users at any time. It’s a more affordable, more secure infrastructure.

Improved Security

On their own, IoT devices are known to have poor security. There are always potential cybersecurity threats to the cloud that must be addressed and the same goes for IoT devices. A study found that IoT devices with the most lax security included smart TVs, printers, game consoles, and CCTV surveillance cameras, as well as routers provided by internet servicing companies. When IoT devices are used in public and rely on Wi-Fi connections, security issues can be compounded.

When cloud solutions are integrated with the weakened security of IoT devices, the network instantly becomes more secure. Cloud computing systems can manage and validate user access to keep data breaches at bay. Cloud solutions can also implement data encryption and authentication procedures that prohibit unauthorized users from accessing IoT devices or networks.

Improved Data Reporting & Validation

IoT devices not only do their jobs without assistance from humans or other devices, they also store large amounts of data. These devices must hang on to this data since it allows them to “learn” how to handle future situations and make good decisions about which functions to employ.

Cloud technology is known for its ability to allow for storage and interpretation of large amounts of data so it’s useful and organized. When IoT devices provide cloud solutions with real-time data, businesses have extensive information they can use to make educated decisions. Inventory, customer demand, and sales patterns are provided from several sources and laid out for business owners to analyze. They can use this data to streamline processes and make more fact-based decisions to increase profitability. 

What Is the Future of IoT Technology?

Throughout the years, IoT technology has continued to advance, expand, and improve. With 5G technology becoming accessible around the world and the consistent release of new devices, it’s obvious that the IoT will continue to be a big part of the population’s home and work lives.

Heart rate monitors and blood pressure machines are used in hospitals while internet-connected printers and smart light bulbs are used in offices. IoT technology helps logistics and trucking companies track drivers and plan routes. These devices help businesses improve efficiency and access important data.

Edge Computing

To expedite data processing and decrease lag time, IoT technology may use “edge computing.” This simply means the devices ensure that data is processed near the “edge” of the network, or closer to where it originated. By allowing the IoT or main source of data to take over more processes, the amount of long distance communication that’s needed in the network decreases. This allows for more bandwidth and faster processing times. IoT devices provide some security features but these aren’t guaranteed without the help of the cloud.

While edge computing sounds like the opposite of cloud computing, they both work together for the safety and processing of data. For processes that don’t need instant data and action, cloud computing is used. For processes that do need instant data and action, edge computing is used. When these technologies work together, such as with a self-driving car or smartphone data storage, you have a seamless experience with IoT technology.

Tips to Integrate IoT Technology at Your Business

IoT technology can change the way you do business if you implement it properly. Depending on the systems you install and how you and your staff operate them, some of the benefits you’ll experience with IoT solutions may include:

  • Optimized production: Not only can IoT devices help with organization to increase production, they may also help in identifying the areas where production improvements need to be made.
  • Predictive maintenance: IoT devices, such as smart printers or security cameras, are constantly collecting data on usage and their own functionality. These devices can warn you when maintenance is needed, such as new ink cartridges or batteries, so your business is prepared.
  • Inventory management: The real-time data IoT devices store can easily be referenced at any time so you always know how much product you have and can more accurately predict how much you might need.
  • Fleet management: IoT devices, such as GPS systems or trackers, allow you to keep track of a fleet of vehicles and manage the logistics of scheduling without guessing.

Seek Out a Cloud Solutions Provider

Moving to the cloud can help power your business’s IoT aspirations and improve your company’s functionality. No matter your reasons for wanting to operate in the cloud, it’s important to consult with a cloud solutions provider before implementing a system. 

By harnessing the power of these constantly evolving technological advancements, you’ll ensure your business maintains a competitive edge and utilizes the latest tools to stay at the forefront of your industry.