IEEE Communications Magazine

An open ecosystem for mobile-cloud convergence

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We show how a disruptive force in mobile computing can be created by extending today's unmodified cloud to a second level consisting of self-managed data centers with no hard state called cloudlets. These are located at the edge of the Internet, just one wireless hop away from associated mobile devices. By leveraging lowlatency offload, cloudlets enable a new class of real-time cognitive assistive applications on wearable devices. By processing high data rate sensor inputs such as video close to the point of capture, cloudlets can reduce ingress bandwidth demand into the cloud. By serving as proxies for distant cloud services that are unavailable due to failures or cyberattacks, cloudlets can improve robustness and availability. We caution that proprietary software ecosytems surrounding cloudlets will lead to a fragmented marketplace that fails to realize the full business potential of mobile-cloud convergence. Instead, we urge that the software ecosystem surrounding cloudlets be based on the same principles of openness and end-to-end design that have made the Internet so successful.