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Industrial Internet Consortium to Merge with OpenFog Consortium

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the OpenFog Consortium (OpenFog) have announced they plan to combine operations as part of an effort to consolidate the efforts to two industry associations committed to advancing various classes of computing models emerging at the network edge.

IIC President Bill Hoffman

Combining the two associations will result in more efficient use of industry resources to accomplish a common goal, says IIC President Bill Hoffman.

“There’s a limited amount of funds available,” says Hoffman.

The ICC was formed as an arm of the Object Management Group (OMG) to advance the adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications. The OpenFog Consortium was founded to advance edge computing using concepts and principles originally developed for cloud computing environments by addressing bandwidth, latency and communications challenges associated with IoT, 5G and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

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The two associations will formally combine operations in 2019.
While the IIC got its start primarily with backing from the IT vendor community, OpenFog has a strong complementary base of academic institutions, says Matt Vasey, OpenFog chairman, and president, and director, AI and IoT business development, Microsoft. Combining the two consortiums will create a greater critical mass to advance edge computing, says Vasey.

“It provides a center of gravity,” says Vasey.

While the concept of deploying applications at the edge of a network is hardly new, a broad range of technologies is emerging to drive deployment of more robust latency-sensitive applications at the network edge capable of accessing data stored both locally and the cloud. That transition is likely to drive billions of dollars in new opportunities for channel partners, especially as hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) platforms and unified compute, storage and networking begin to be deployed at the edge of the network. In most cases, those HCI platforms will be running instances of Kubernetes container orchestration software to create the clusters that will be deployed on those HCI platforms.

It may take a few more years for all the edge computing opportunities to fully manifest themselves. But starting with IoT and soon 5G networks, it’s already apparent that computing at the edge of the network represents the next billion-dollar opportunity for the channel.

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