But where should all that intelligence reside?
At one extreme, some suggest all underlying processing and intelligence should live in the cloud. This has the advantage that communication is made relatively easy: everything talks to the cloud. Yet, this strategy also comes with a number of concerns: delays could be introduced, massive network congestion could occur, and data that is transported to and from the cloud can more easily be compromised.
At the other extreme is the suggestion that intelligence should be embedded in each individual device. Yet, many of the devices in the Internet of Things will be significantly resource-constrained. And even as processors continue to miniaturize and advance, and battery lives continue to extend, there is only so much computing a small, single sensor can support. As a result, functions like authentication cannot typically be performed at the device level, because they require too much computing power.
In summary, there is no single solution for determining exactly where intelligence should sit in the Internet of Things, but as a general rule the answer will lie somewhere in the middle of the two extremes — a hybrid scenario in which certain ‘thinking’ happens at the device level while other functions, such as the generation of encrypted keys for secure transactions, will occur in the cloud.
This is the approach advanced by iMinds in its research, with systems having the flexibility to migrate intelligence to the best spot — closer to the sensor in some cases or toward the cloud backend in others, in a truly distributed and ever-shifting fog.