With the onslaught of new IoT devices launching into the market comes a huge wave of new data. According to Cisco’s latest research, machine-to-machine connections will increase from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 12.2 billion by 2020. That’s just four years away, people. These connections are going to go from one exabyte per month to 6.3 exabytes. So what are we going to do with all that data?

Enter cloud computing.

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Cloud computing is any kind of computing that comes through the internet (like Voltronn: Legendary Defender on Netflix and your selfies on Facebook). Data comes from sensors on connected devices that create machine-to-machine communications, eventually being directed to the cloud, where the data can be processed, measured, and analyzed. It’s not just about capturing and storing data—the real meat is in securely creating valuable knowledge and insight. Here’s why cloud computing is important to the IoT:

  1. Moving data and computing to an internet connection dramatically reduces network operating costs, allowing consumer product companies to focus on what they do best.
  2. You get what you pay for: instead of having unused storage space or not enough of it, cloud computing provides scalability to companies by offering exactly what you need, when you need it. No more wasted dollars.
  3. Devices that are connected to the cloud provide higher long-term value to customers. Customers are able to instantly update and upgrade their devices for as long as they own them. Similar to iOS updates on your iPhone, all of these connected devices will provide state-of-the-art security and technology updates.

Speaking of security, there are several important things to remember. Security needs to: 1) be well-defined and well-applied; 2) protect the privacy of customers’ personally identifiable information; 3) be reliable while also providing superior and robust analysis. It’s important to note that it’s not a “set it and forget it” deal. The rules are always changing (hence the need for instant updates).

Given all of this, it just makes sense for consumer product brands to partner with companies who are committed to (and excited about) the future of the IoT. Partners who are in it for the long haul. Who are able to manage those exabytes.

Photo credit: Cisco VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast, 2015-2020 via Stacey Knows Things.