NYC Fog Computing Meetup — A Recap

On a humid Tuesday night near Bryant Park in New York City, the ActiveAether office hosted the inaugural NYC Fog Computing Meetup, in what is hopefully the first of many.

The goal of the meetup is to provide an opportunity for folks around NYC to congregate and get to know people interested in the burgeoning field of fog computing. Attendees at the kickoff event included a healthy mix of engineers and other professionals working in technology sectors like cloud and blockchain. Others touch technology in a more tangential way, including cryptocurrency investors and even a law enforcement individual specializing in crypto. There were even attendees with no professional connection to technology, who came out of curiosity and an opportunity to learn more (or perhaps also for the free beer and pizza).

The night began with a bit of time for people to arrive, get situated, grab some refreshments, and meet their fellow meetup-goers. Once the decibel level reached a moderate consistency, folks settled into their seats and Allan Boyd, COO and co-founder of ActiveAether, kicked off the formal proceedings with an introduction to the meetup group. The hope was to continue meeting on a semi-regular basis and try to continually attract new members from a diverse background. The ActiveAether office managed to fit 50 or so members comfortably for the inaugural meeting and welcome the challenge of fitting even more in the future.

Allan then introduced Dr. Robert F. MacInnis, CEO and co-founder of ActiveAether. Rob gave a brief presentation on the ideas behind fog computing. The central theme of Rob’s speech was that we are surrounded by tremendous computing opportunity; this is true everywhere but particularly evident somewhere like New York City. The phones in our pockets are more powerful than the computers some of us took to college. Thousands of desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and other devices sit idle or mostly idle in both commercial and residential buildings all around us. Fog computing allows us to harness this latent resource and turn it into something productive. ActiveAether does exactly that.

Rob then introduced Conrad and Jason, two of the engineers working on ActiveAether, for a brief demonstration. They showed the straightforward process by which anyone can write a simple service to the network (we refer to these folks as Software Publishers within the ActiveAether ecosystem). They also demonstrated how to register a Host in the ActiveAether network in order to rent out processing power, which is as simple as sharing a few details about the capabilities of your computer(s). The engineering team concocted a board of sixteen connected Raspberry Pi’s to act as Hosts in the “fog,” a step that certainly wouldn’t be necessary in the real world where the devices all around us will take that role. But the Pi board (or “fleet” as it’s affectionately called in the office), helped provide a visual of ActiveAether in action, and, as you can see, looks really cool:

A view of the Pi fleet pre-meetup

Conrad and Jason deployed a service to display a simple line of text to the audience. In reality, this could have been any bit of software, but was kept simple for the benefit of the live demo. Next, they called the service to prove its successful deployment and, having just executed the rare feat of a totally functional live demo, fielded a multitude of insightful questions from the folks in attendance.

ActiveAether Marketing and Communications Director Shannon Cody then spoke for a few minutes on how everyone can stay connected, including sharing links for the Open Fog Consortium, an organization to which ActiveAether belongs that is driving industry and academic leadership in the development of fog computing. Shannon also discussed Fog World Congress, a conference scheduled for October 1–3 this year in Santa Clara, that brings industry and research together to explore all things fog.

Overall, the first ever gathering of the NYC Fog Computing Meetup was a success. Many different people were able to come together and make new connections. While not everyone may have been an expert in fog or technology in general, great discussions were had throughout the evening, whether formally or otherwise. Everyone here at ActiveAether is looking forward at continuing to engage with the community and see it grow and thrive.

Were you lucky enough to attend the first ever NYC Fog Computing meetup? Let us know what you thought below and don’t forget to register for the group if you haven’t already!

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