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2015: Cloud Ramps Up For IoT

Do a quick search for "year of the cloud" and you'll find results spanning the past five years, with entries from hybrid cloud to wireless cloud to the year cloud was simply cloud. We have seen consumer adoption of cloud in basic products like email and file storage, as well as business-to-business adoption of cloud in communications and SaaS. Salesforce, Google, NetSuite, and similar companies have made the cloud an industry standard.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) begins to blossom, the data that is produced by millions of devices must be stored, processed, analyzed, and shared. While we've made progress solving the storage issue for documents files, spreadsheets, and pictures, most of us don't want to fire up a Linux server at home to store the data from our refrigerator and vacuum cleaner. This is why I believe 2015 will be the emergent year for business-to-consumer cloud services supporting IoT.

Consumer products that have Internet built in to report and log data will require an underlying infrastructure to support processing and recovery automation. Google has a blueprint with Google Drive, allowing us to save documents in the cloud instead of on our hard drive. But IoT will create more data than we know what to do with -- upwards of 1 GB of data each week per device. Assuming your home will contain roughly 200 devices, the data sprawl is massive.

To store this data, we'll need to move far beyond Google Drive. Gartner estimates IoT will include 26 billion units installed by 2020. In five years, IoT product and service suppliers will generate revenue exceeding $300 billion, mostly in services that support the growing amounts of data. The storage and analytic solutions we use for businesses today must be made available at the consumer level. The availability of storage capacity and analytics for low-cost access to data will have a huge impact on how smoothly the IoT movement progresses.

I believe we're beginning to see a shift toward distributed data centers and more agile networks that let us achieve real-time analysis of IoT data. New infrastructure technologies like software-defined networking and storage will play a crucial role in building out what is needed to support the influx of data and analytics in our clouds.

Cloud infrastructure and storage have come a long way in five years, but IoT will push growth we haven't seen to date. If we interjected today's networks into the future data scene of 2020, they'd simply fail to meet the demand. This year cloud providers will shift to provide the underlying infrastructures and processing for data reporting and logging of consumer products -- making 2015 the year of business-to-consumer cloud.