The 3 Biggest IoT Announcements from Google Next 2018

August 16, 2018 - 7 minutes read

Google’s always cooking up something. And we get to hear a bit about their plans at their annual Next conference, which is centered around their cloud business. With the cloud becoming more ubiquitous among both businesses and consumers, it’s interesting to see where Google, a historically strong leader in advancing the cloud, wants to take it.

At this year’s Next conference, Google executives presented plans for cloud security, collaboration, and developing the Internet of Things (IoT). Held in San Francisco, the three-day conference centered around Google Maps, Google’s Cloud Platform (GCP), its Cloud IoT Core, and G Suite. Here are three of the biggest announcements in IoT at Next 2018.

Cloud IoT Edge and the Edge TPU

Edge computing is the next frontier in improving processing speed and generating insights without taxing your device. With edge computing, your device can perform the final calculations on the device itself, while keeping the software and tools in the cloud. The application possibilities in IoT are endless with edge computing, and the Cloud IoT Edge and Edge TPU are two tools highly customized for IoT.

Cloud IoT Edge provides support for Android and Linux-based devices. The platform features data management on the edge. It also provides easier device connectivity to Google Cloud.

Google wants to help pave the way in edge-based IoT tools, and the Edge TPU (tensor processing unit) is robust enough to handle machine learning (ML) computations on the edge. The TPU will lower costs and power used, and it was created to run ML models created in Google’s TensorFlow platform.

Google’s a little late to the game, though: With Microsoft’s enterprise-level IoT solution, Azure IoT Edge, developers can use the technology on any device, from Raspberry Pis to industrial hardware.

Microsoft’s been working hard to create a product that nearly anyone can use for custom IoT solutions, and the company made sure that a warehouse or industrial plant doesn’t need a strong Wi-Fi connection for cloud computing.

Additionally, since the Azure IoT Edge product is globally available right now, Google has to catch up quickly to make a dent. Google can only hope that its edge computing software and hardware will become a complete package for enterprise-level applications.

Google Kubernetes Engine

If you’ve read our recent article about Docker, you know all about containerization in computers. As a quick review, containers (known otherwise as sandbox environments) make it really easy to pull down a codebase from the web and begin work on it right away. The software runs the container in a Linux kernel.

You might be thinking that containers sound incredibly reminiscent of another wildly-popular type of software that’s also used to test and deploy software: virtual machines.

Unfortunately, virtual machines take up a lot of memory on your computer, and most developers aren’t working on a project that needs that robust of a setup.

As a result, each sandbox environment is low-memory and lightweight, enabling developers to create multiple containers in one sitting. For this reason, containerization has become the go-to tool for most developers these days, taking over the need for a virtual machine.

Google’s a big fan of Docker; in 2014, Google itself was running two billion Docker containers per week. They probably needed an in-house solution to bring down costs, and since their containerization software is stable now, it’s good enough to sell to enterprises.

Google’s Kubernetes Engine (GKE) On-Prem is a containerization option for developers, and it could be extremely valuable in IoT applications. GKE On-Prem offers strong security benefits that protect consumer data and company liability, and you can manage it from the cloud.

GCP Marketplace

As more enterprises begin implementing IoT solutions in their daily operations, having a GCP Marketplace will help keep applications consistent and stable. One example of what the applications marketplace can offer includes pre-configured Kubernetes clusters.

This will greatly lower the financial and training barrier that employers inevitably have to go through when upgrading company-wide technology.

And Google’s not making the same mistake as Docker, the biggest containerization company on the market today.

In April this year, the Docker team removed 17 container templates from Docker Hub, the company’s official repository of ready-made Docker templates. Upon installation, these containers opened a backdoor to the machine without alerting the computer admin. The malware-infected containers installed cryptocurrency miners and reverse shells on unsuspecting servers for 12 months before being removed.

And, unlike Docker, Google explicitly plans to vet their marketplace for backdoors and malicious code. This additional security layer creates a stronger trust between Google and enterprises.

The IoT Boom

IoT hasn’t hit its peak yet, so that leaves a lot of room for tech giants and startups alike to make a big impact. These days, IoT solutions are complex, and there are a lot of moving parts from different tools. Google’s offering a comprehensive suite for testing, deployment, edge computing, and rapid setup with Cloud IoT Edge, Kubernetes, and the GCP Marketplace.

What’s next for IoT, cloud and edge computing, and the intersection of these technologies and concepts? We can’t wait to see how tech innovators flex their creativity in the next five to ten years as IoT ramps up.

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