To realize fog market value, selling to OT buyers is key
451 Research: When it comes to fog solutions, ‘OT guys are buying outcomes’
SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Fog computing is poised to unlock new levels of efficiency and data insight for a wide range of verticals, but, as the nascent technology set gains mindshare, a new level of convergence between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) stakeholders must be realized.
This sentiment was a recurring theme of the presentations at Fog World Congress, hosted by the OpenFog Consortium and IEEE Communications Society.
In a fireside chat with Hilton Romanski, SVP and chief strategy officer of Cisco Systems, FogHorn Systems CTO Sastry Malladi described the challenge of deploying fog computing infrastructure in an industrial environment like an oil platform or manufacturing facility. “This is a very controlled environment,” he said. “You couldn’t just walk into an…industrial environment and say, ‘I’m going to have a big, rack-based server to start doing analysis. You are working with a constrained environment.” This paradigm demands an OT-centric approach, Malladi said. “You have to somehow provide tools and technologies that are relevant to them.”
“It’s sold to the OT people,” Flavio Bonomi, CEO and co-founder of Nebbiolo Technologies, added. “Maybe we are brought in by the IT guys, but then the IT guys disappear. That is common to a lot of the experiences in this field.”
In his opening comments, event General Chair Tao Zhang, co-founder and director of the OpenFog Consortium, continued to drive the point home. “Fog is filling a big technology gap in the internet of things and in other emerging areas. It’s also disrupting the industry landscape. It’s going to make fundamental changes. Fog is going to significantly extend the capability of the cloud. It’s going to allow the cloud to do things it can’t do today.”
And, once the silos between the cloud and the edge have been broken down, “That is going to give you natural ways to help the integration of IT, OT and even communication technologies,” Zhang said.
With perhaps the most colorful analogy, Christian Renaud, research director for the internet of things, 451 Research, said when he ordered breakfast this morning, he wasn’t presented with a chicken, a knife and a match. “They brought you a meal. OT guys are buying outcomes. They’re going to be more inclined to buy this as a service, as an outcome. I want to buy fog as a service.”