We’ve all heard of cloud computing. Love it or hate it, use of cloud technology has become ubiquitous in modern business and everyday life. But now, staying along the lines of information technology paradigms named after weather, fog computing seems to be the next big thing in the forecast.

SONM, a universal fog supercomputer, announced this week that it would unveil its Minimum Viable Product (MVP) on Christmas day 2017, giving developers the chance to test their range of fog computing services and give them feedback ahead of the official release to customers next summer. It’s set to be one of the most significant stories in tech to watch out for in 2018.

So what’s all the fuss about, and what exactly is fog computing?

Fog is a step between the data source and the cloudClick To Tweet

Essentially, fog is a step between the data source and the cloud. Normally, edge sensors and devices collect and generate data before sending it to the cloud, but that doesn’t come without its problem. Businesses often hit legal restrictions, privacy issues and security questions – not to mention the fact that you might be wasting time and energy sending vast amounts of completely useless data to the cloud. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a data hub or smart device between the source and the cloud, acting as gateway and helping to send appropriate information to the cloud? Well, that’s what fog does.

‘fogging’ allows short-term analytics to be conducted at the edge

It’s basically a concept that complements cloud computing; ‘fogging’ allows short-term analytics to be conducted at the edge, allowing the cloud to carry out the more intensive, longer-term analytics on data that is actually significant.

SONM positions themselves as providing a viable and more cost-efficient alternative to cloud solutions. Powered by Ethereum blockchain, SONM runs on users’ computers, the benefits of which include an open infrastructure, and a common resource pool with unlimited computing power. The idea is that cryptocurrency miners across the globe will leverage their idle computer power to join the network, and then SONM will be able to reward them for sharing their processing power with SNM tokens.

SONM CEO Sergey Ponomarev said: “With the launch of its MVP, SONM is excited to provide our existing partners with early access to the marketplace and the ability to leverage the community’s collective computing resources. This will prove to be a critical resource for learning and tests, providing us not only with the opportunity to develop a user-friendly service with advanced capabilities but also with the ability to build valuable partnerships both now and in the future.”