Although cloud computing is pervasive and popular in consumer technology, the cloud isn’t always ideal in industrial applications because factory automation needs real-time connectivity without latency or intermittent-connectivity issues, as well as industrial-grade equipment that can handle the factory environment.
The next generation of computing–fog and mist–and the applications for factory automation and embedded devices are just now being realized. On the hardware side, the latest processors are small-form-factor systems that enable industrial applications.
By bringing connected hardware, data processing, data analytics, and data storage closer to the edge with nearer physical proximity, fog and mist computing address many cloud-computing issues. Fog computing brings that proximity to the factory floor (close to the machine) while mist computing brings it right onto or into the machine. IDC predicts that by 2019, 45% of IoT-created data will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to/at the edge of the network.