The evolution of the Internet of Things and the huge amount of data that it generates far from the data centers creates increasing pressure on long-distance network links, and may also lead to significant responsiveness issues for IoT-enabled services. In view of that, fog computing is emerging as an approach to make IoT-enabled services more responsive and efficient, by moving data processing closer to IoT devices and users.
Giants in the ICT sector (Cisco, Huawei, IBM etc.) are heavily investing into this innovation line, which is expected to have a major impact on several application domains and to reach a worldwide market value of around $750 billion by 2025, after growing at a rate of 55.5%.
Fueled by these promising statistics, in 2017 the European Commission approved and funded, under the H2020 MSCA programme, the FogGuru project whose aim is to deliver a 3-year industrial doctorate programme for training the next generation of European fog computing experts. The project involves eight early-stage researchers (ESRs), coordinated by a consortium composed by two prestigious universities (University of Rennes 1 and the Technical University of Berlin), a leading education organisation (EIT Digital Rennes) the innovation center of the municipality of València (Las Naves) and two deep-tech SMEs, U-Hopper in Trento and the Umeå based Elastisys.
Over the last two years, the researchers have been designing and prototyping generic fog computing platforms and fog-enabled services for a wide range of application scenarios.
The opportunity for ESRs to apply their research in a real-life setting arrived in November 2019. The Spanish project partner and innovation hub, Las Naves, and the company in charge of water management in the city of València, EMIVASA, welcomed the FogGuru researchers onboard a 1-year experiment for testing their technology and allowing both citizens and local businesses to experience firsthand the benefits of fog computing. The problem tackled consisted in the application of fog technologies for smart water management; specifically, for the detection of abnormal water consumption patterns (which may well indicate a leak or a potential fraud).
As Prof. Guillaume Pierre, coordinator of the project, says “The greatest achievement for a researcher is when her studies turns into valuable applications for the economy and the citizens. Therefore, it was of utmost importance for us to allow our ESRs to deploy and test their technologies and demonstrate their usefulness to address real-world problems. Las Naves and EMIVASA have been great partners in supporting us with this”.
On September 29, 2020, the FogGuru project will officially present the experiment results by organizing a free event open to the whole community and calling on the stage, alongside the protagonists of the research, a few representatives of EMIVASA. “This has been an excellent opportunity for us to experiment how fog computing technologies may bring tangible ecological and economic benefits thanks to improved management of our precious water resources” – says Mr. Carlos Galiana, Councilor of Innovation of the València City Council of the Valencia Integral Water Cycle.
But that’s not all: a new batch of experiments will be announced during the event, to be launched in the smart city of Valencia, in collaboration with Las Naves and La Marina de València, the complex of companies and activities composing the city’s yacht dock area. The objective of the new experiment is to develop an open space where anyone can learn how to process IoT data, while supporting La Marina in measuring and analysing a number of relevant parameters, such as the level of the sea, the height of waves within the harbor area, the wind speed and other weather-related conditions.