According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), “Cloud Computing (CC) is an innovative technological paradigm that provides convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (for example, sensors) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
This means that Cloud Computing provides several benefits such as on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling (location independence), rapid elasticity, measured service, massive scale, homogeneity, virtualization, resilient computing, low cost software, geographic distribution, service orientation and advanced security.
The idea of integrating a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) nodes which consists of a large number of low-cost, low-power, multifunctional and resource-constrained sensor nodes with cloud computing is a thing of interest in this article; bearing in mind WSN are designed with the flexibility to withstand harsh environmental conditions in some cases while other cases it is difficult.
In the proceedings of the Information Integration and Web-based Applications & Services conference; iiWAS2009, Werner Kurschl and Wolfgang Beer presented a concept and implementation of combining Wireless Sensor Networks with Cloud computing as shown in the Figure 1.
What they did not do was to provide a suitable ontology for semantic reasoning of data analysis within the environment of the cloud computing.
V. Rajesh et al at the 2010 International Conference on Recent Trends in Information Telecommunication and Computing presented a paper on Integration of Wireless Sensor Network with Cloud, they argued as shown in Figure 2 that the real time specific sensor data must be processed and the action must be taken instantaneously when the Integration Controller modular integrates with Sensor Network.
In another development, Khandakar Ahmed and Mark Gregory at the Seventh International conference on Mobile Adhoc and Sensor Networks (2011) presented a proposed integration framework between WSN and cloud computing model as shown in Figure 3 with an objective to facilitate the shift of data from WSN to the cloud computing environment.
Meanwhile a work in progress paper presented as part of the main technical program at IFIPWMNC ‘2013 by Polakos et al on ‘A Cloud Based-Architecture for Cost Efficient Applications and Services Provisioning in Wireless Sensor Networks gives a sketchy picture as shown in Figure 4. They pinpointed the challenges, reviewed the state of the art proposals and made one stand out point of having WSN virtualization incorporated in the services.
The integration of these two key technologies WSNs and CC should provide us with a robust and scalable infrastructure for several applications such as the Smart Grid. This novel approach allows for the efficient management of millions of smart meters or sensors and other energy management systems. This infrastructure also provides the tools necessary for collecting, disseminating and storing real-time sensor data from geographically disparate sensors. The Cloud components provide a foundation for securing and providing user access to the software, middleware and hardware resources.
How feasible is this? What impact will this model have with respect to user accessibility to data? This and other questions are what the WSN designers are wandering if it will be a reality.
To understand cloud computing better: Watch a presentation by David Davis in ‘Cloud computing 101’