Five “clouds” for the Internet

Five Clouds for the Internet of Things is a tool I've been developing for some time to help people understand what the cloud can do. This is a mental model I developed to explain service offerings to people interested in building a cluster of devices for the Internet of Things. It includes services developed internally and services they choose to purchase from external vendors.

We will first discuss the origins of these classifications and why there is more than one cloud type. It is important to focus our understanding of these broad terms, such as the cloud and the Internet of things. Doing so allows us to define what issues need to be addressed in the iot space and how best to address them.

Iot cloud services
When starting a business or looking for enhancements, it can be difficult to choose between all the different service offerings on the market.

As a first step, consider the following questions:

How do you connect to the Internet?
What kind of device are you building?
What is your deployment size?
What are your costs and cost structure?
What is your business model?
But the most important questions about choosing a cloud service are:

What are you willing to outsource?
What should you outsource?
If you work with a supplier, what will get you to market faster?
From there we can have a more solid conversation about what aspects of the cloud are needed and what mix of providers they might want to evaluate. Few service offerings can cover all aspects of iot deployment and business requirements.

In every conversation I have, I begin to realize that there may be different types of iot cloud solutions. Actually, I think there are five. While in practice different cloud companies may offer overlapping capabilities, describing them as separate clouds will help us better understand the core advantages of each cloud type and why we might want to use them.

Why are there five iot clouds?
Here are five clouds for the Internet of Things:

Equipment cloud
Connect the cloud
The data cloud
Application of cloud
The development of cloud
These categories are based on the service offerings of companies across the entire ecosystem, including the company I founded a few years ago (Golioth). However, each cloud represents a business case being served. Each cloud type has a prime example of at least one company serving a specific area of concern. That's how big the market is and how much demand there is for services.

Bring the Internet of things to the masses
Each iot cloud solution helps deploy equipment manufacturers or service companies in the iot space without having a large internal cloud team. People who want to keep the core team small can do so by leasing parts of their business to different service companies that represent one or more of the five clouds. They focus on specific parts of the business and rely on service providers to help scale their applications.

We've already mentioned Golioth as an example of a device cloud. We are a device cloud because we focus on the management and security of devices and the data they generate. An example of a different cloud is Soracom, which is a connection cloud that addresses different aspects of connecting devices to the Internet including SIM, data plan, VPN, etc.

The point here is that clouds like Golioth and Soracom have different basic concerns: device products versus connection products. When choosing between clouds, you need to understand the problem to be solved. For example, why would you take advantage of Golioth, Soracom, or both?

Best fit for your cloud
When you start putting together your company's business needs or your next startup idea, you'll be able to decide which clouds you need and find the best company to help you achieve your goals.

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Five “clouds” for the Internet