Why the cloud should be part of your Internet of Things (most of the time)

Does the IoT need the cloud? What can the cloud add to your IoT project? And what's the alternative? Find out answers to these, and more.

George Barnes

Content Marketing Manager
·3 min read (668 words)
IoT planet

Over the past few years we’ve created apps that underpin a variety of exciting IoT projects (keep an eye on our case studies to find out more). 

And although each project is vastly different, with varying goals, technologies, environments and more — one thing does remain the same. The cloud. 

Access to cloud hosting has made a huge difference to every project we’ve worked on.  

The cloud and the IoT have, in a way, grown hand in hand over the years. It’s not that the IoT is completely reliant on the cloud — and we’ll take a look at the benefits on on-premises later on in this blog too — but the cloud has become a real enabler for bigger, better IoT projects. 

What is it about the cloud that makes it such a great tool for companies looking to build IoT solutions? Let’s take a look.  

Why the cloud is impotant to your IoT project

Hosting data in the cloud obviously has many benefits, from reducing hassle to increasing efficiency and security. But what about the benefits specifically for the IoT? Let’s take a look…

#1 - Scalability and flexibility

The ability to scale quickly and safely is hugely important to many IoT projects. It could be because the amount of data you’re generating and processing varies wildly over time. Or it could be that you have planned expansions of your IoT infrastructure. Either way, the ability to simply purchase more computing power and storage, without having to set up new hardware, is a big boon for anyone working with the IoT. 

#2 - Geographical spread 

Not all IoT projects require a wide geographical spread. But for those that do — i.e. agricultural IoT projects with sensors situated across large swathes of land — the cloud is a must. With the cloud you can link up, compare and analyse data from these separate devices without the need for on site servers.

#3 - Cost

It’ll come as no surprise that the upfront costs of setting up a new IoT infrastructure can be very high. You’ll want to look at reducing this cost where possible, and the cloud is a great place to start for that. The upfront cost of setting up large-scale on-premises servers could be high enough to put the brakes on your project. But a small monthly cost that comes with the cloud is much easier for cash-flow, plus you’ll only pay for what you’re using, giving the flexibility to scale up or down when needed. 

These are 3 great reasons to look at the cloud as an important part of your IoT infrastructure. But what about the other side of the coin? There are situations in an IoT project where on-premesis servers might be a better option. These are…

#1 - Data control and compliance

If your IoT system is handling sensitive or mission critical data, then hosting that data in a multi-tenant public cloud environment might feel like a security risk. It’s not that these environments aren’t secure, but they are potentially not as secure as an on-premise physical server. 

#2 - System Uptime

If elements of your IoT are in extreme or particularly remote locations, there is a chance that your internet connection could be patchy. And obviously that isn’t great for a cloud solution. In these circumstances — and especially if uninterrupted service is important to your business. It’s important to note, however, that with technology such as 5g and Skylink, it’s likely that internet connectivity won’t be an issue anywhere in the world in the not-too-distant future. 

Have any questions about an IoT project?

If there’s one thing to take away from this blog, it’s that each IoT project is different. The cloud is always worth considering, even with the limitations we mentioned above in mind. And on-premises is worth considering too, given certain circumstances. 

We can help you figure out the best way forward with your IoT project, and build any apps, platforms, or software solutions you need. Just get in touch today with any questions you have. We’re always happy to have a no-obligation chat about an exciting project!  


I'm George Barnes

Content Marketing Manager at Newicon

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