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A Fresh Approach to Remote IoT Connectivity

The IoT market has changed in many ways throughout the years, and since it’s a growing industry, there’s an estimated 32.6% CAGR increase in the next five years.

 

As an industry predicted to spend trillions in solutions, IoT’s trends need to be carefully observed and examined in order for implications and applications to be future-proofed.

 

How do you go about doing this? By simply analyzing how IoT is being used, as well as identifying which sectors are showing potential growth. Right now, a lot of focus is given to consumer applications such as Amazon’s dash buttons and smart home appliances. However, there are many opportunities in remote IoT. This covers industries like industrial, transportation, healthcare, etc.

 

One challenge that needs to be dealt with is how connectivity is approached right now. As more IoT and M2M devices would be deployed in rural areas and places with limited connectivity, applications and machines would need an improved infrastructure in order to carry out their purpose in areas with little connectivity.

 

Additionally, the increase of transportation and emergency-related applications would require not only ways to deals with low connectivity but also call for a system that can access multiple networks depending on availability and location.

 

Another challenge is how current devices will handle the developments in IoT and M2M technologies in the next five years. The 2G sunset is just one-way communication companies are affecting the industry.

 

Don’t fret, though, as there are several ways to resolve this and many opportunities left to explore to get ready for IoT’s evolution in the coming years.

 

Want to learn more about the possibilities remote IoT connectivity presents and how you can prepare for them? Check out the following infographic from Communications Solutions Company, Podsystem, and start future-proofing your IoT and M2M applications.

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6 Videos That Will Get You Up to Speed on Blockchain

I have to admit that I've been late to truly understanding blockchain. Blockchain is making inroads in the financial sector, but will also be an important part of the IoT.  I've been wanting to dive deep for a few months now but have never gotten around to it...until today. If you're like me, you have some technical depth, but blockchain and Bitcoin have been more buzzwords to know than technologies and tools that you truly grasp. You can change that today by watching these six videos.

Added bonus: all videos are less than 30 minutes in length!

What is Blockchain? <-- Two minute starter video put together by the World Economic Forum.

Security Implications of Non-Financial Uses of Blockchain Technology <-- Recorded at RSA Security Conference 2017, Dr. Tom Keenan gets it done in 10 minutes.

Genius of Things: Blockchain and Food Safety with IBM and Walmart  <-- Practical implications and use cases from two big names.

DisrupTV Featuring Steve Wilson, Constellation Research 2.10.17 <-- Great overview from a smart group of analysts. 

TED Talk: How the blockchain is changing money and business <-- by Don Tapscott

Blockchain 101 - A Visual Dem <-- This video by Anders Brownworth gets deeper and is a great primer for the mathematically inclined. Brownworth co-taught the blockchain class at MIT.

If you don't have time to watch the videos, but want the skinny right now, Constellation Research Analyst Steve Wilson breaks it down here in 500 words, with no graphics, and no analogies.

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IoT - The Revolution Started

THE SMART CITY: HOW OUR COLLECTIVE LIVES ARE BECOMING TECHNOLOGICALLY INTERCONNECTED. 

The smart city is still a work in progress both when it comes to defining exactly what we mean by the term as well as its implementation.

At the highest level, a smart city is one in which various ‘public goods’ the city provides to its citizens become interconnected. This relates generally to the use and dissemination of energy, the transportation system, the infrastructure, and the healthcare systems. Though the details are still being hammered out, some analysts are already predicting that the Smart City is a $1.5 Trillion market opportunity.

Let’s start with an obvious example, our ability to get an Uber or a Lyft with the touch of a button. The ride-sharing industry helps decrease the number of cars on the road and as such help reduce gas emission levels. Ridesharing is the most well-known example of an IoT invention wherein our smartphones connect us to a service, on the go, by using the geolocation function of our mobile devices.

If we just scratch beneath the surface of smart city IoT innovations, we discover so much more….

Notably, the issue of sensors that are being installed on street lights and traffic signals (Amsterdam is one city which has implemented this at scale). Rather than keeping the street lights on throughout the night, wasting energy, all street lights are interconnected and turn on as they detect movement on the streets. The mass adoption of this technology alone could save cities billions of dollars in energy bills.

And there is another sensor based IoT invention that has been around for a while now; every time I visit the Fashion Outlet Mall in Chicago, as soon as I enter the parking lot, I see small screens informing me how many parking spaces are available on each floor of the parking lot. The entire complex has small sensors installed near each parking space and as a car is parked in a spot it sends a signal which updates the count of available parking spaces for each floor.

Imagine being able to optimize and monitor the delivery of water to every household in a city and automatically inform the authorities when an issue requires attention. Or reflect on the Smart Meters that ComEd has been installing all over the nation so that there’s no need to estimate the electrical bill of each customer every month or send technicians to collect meter reads. Expect to see more and more innovations in this field because cities and private companies alike are desperate to reduce their operational costs.

Source: https://ymedialabs.com/

Post was originally published here.

 

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Regulating the Internet of Things

Last week I attended the RSA Security conference in San Francisco. It's the premier conference for security professionals, and more than ever, vendors. Lots and lots of vendors.  

In any case, I was there to learn more about security and IoT. One of the speeches I wanted to catch is now available and I encourage you to take time to watch it. It's from Bruce Schneier who we wrote about here and here.

Bruce used the platform to continue his call to the industry to get involved with policy when it comes to security and IoT, arguing that the real world consequences of doing nothing should not be ignored. He stated, "The more we connect things to each other, the more the vulnerabilities affect each other." The Dyn attack, the Mirai botnet and video cameras are a great example of this. Bruce describes this as a cascade of failures, where no one system is at fault, leading to a connected world of residual insecurity.

He believes that a lot of people in the industry are working on it and they are doing good work on IoT security, but as he argued in the past, when it comes to low-cost Internet connected devices (cameras, consumer electronics and other far-flung sensors) neither the buyer or the seller are interested in getting the latest security patch. In short, the cost of failure and the cost to fix does not favor security updates or investment. 

Free market idealists hate regulation, but they are becoming necessary, Schneier says. “Governments are going to get involved, regardless. The stakes are too high.”

Full video here

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Internet of Things (IoT) began as an emerging trend and has now become one of the key element ofDigital Transformationthat is driving the world in many respects.
If your thermostat or refrigerator is connected to the Internet, then it is part of the consumer IoT.  If your factory equipment have sensors connected to internet, then it is part of Industrial IoT(IIoT).
IoT has an impact on end consumers, while IIoT has an impact on industries like Manufacturing, Aviation, Utility, Agriculture, Oil & Gas, Transportation, Energy and Healthcare.
IoT refers to the use of "smart" objects, which are everyday things from cars and home appliances to athletic shoes and light switches that can connect to the Internet, transmitting and receiving data and connecting the physical world to the digital world.
IoT is mostly about human interaction with objects. Devices can alert users when certain events or situations occur or monitor activities:
·       Google Nest sends an alert when temperature in the house dropped below 68 degrees
·       Garage door sensors alert when open
·       Turn up the heat and turn on the driveway lights a half hour before you arrive at your home
·       Meeting room that turns off lights when no one is using it
·       A/C switch off when windows are open
IIoT on the other hand, focus more workers safety, productivity & monitors activities and conditions with remote control functions ability:
·       Drones to monitor oil pipelines
·       Sensors to monitor Chemical factories, drilling equipment, excavators, earth movers
·       Tractors and sprayers in agriculture
·       Smart cities might be a mix of commercial and IIoT.
IoT is important but not critical while IIoT failure often results in life-threatening or other emergency situations.
IIoT provides an unprecedented level of visibility throughout the supply chain. Individual items, cases, pallets, containers and vehicles can be equipped with auto identification tags and tied to GPS-enabled connections to continuously update location and movement.
IoT generates medium or high volume of data while IIoT generates very huge amounts of data (A single turbine compressor blade can generate more than 500GB of data per day) so includes Big Data,Cloud computingmachine learning as necessary computing requirements.
In future, IoT will continue to enhance our lives as consumers while IIoT will enable efficient management of entire supply chain.
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How many times you have listened to the advice of your friend/colleague or someone you know, to invest in stock market? Many people have gained and lost their fortune with this guess work and now younger generation is more scared to hand over their hard earned money to someone for investing.
Until recently, you had 2 options for investments - either hire a human financial advisor or do it yourself. Human advisors charge substantial fees starting minimum 1% of value of assets to manage your portfolios. Do it yourself option requires lot of time and energy and you may lose your money due to result of overtrading, panic-selling during downturns, and trying to time the market as the issue for many individuals is they aren’t cut out to go it alone
This is where robo-advisors have scored more over humans.
A robo-advisor is an online, automated wealth management service based on data science algorithms with no or minimal human interventions that allocate, deploy and rebalance(spreading your money in stocks, mutual funds, bonds to balance risks) your investments.
The robo-advisor industry is in its infancy. Online life is migrating from persona desktop computing to laptops to tablets and finally to mobile.
Here are some of the advantages of using a robo-advisor:
·       Cheaper fees or free compared to traditional financial advisors
·       Automatic diversification into various options
·       Easy online access as we all are accustomed to shiny apps on mobile
·       Safer than picking your own stocks
·       You don’t need a degree in finance to understand the recommendations.
Big data and advanced analytics can help broaden the scope of robo-advice dramatically, incorporating financial planning into broader retirement planning, tax planning, vacation savings, higher education planning.
Robo-Advisors have typically targeted millennials segment because these young investors want to save & multiple money faster and often don't have enough patience & wealth to warrant the attention and interest of a human advisor.
High Net worth Individuals also think, online and automated investment tools can positively affect their wealth manager's advice and decision-making.
Overall, robo-advisors provide a good user experience with latest digital technologies such as slick apps and fancy interfaces. These platforms make sure that they fit right in with your daily online browsing,  and are great options for novice investors who are just starting out and want to dip their toes in the world of investments, or for people with a simple financial plan who just need an affordable, straightforward place to start their retirement plans
Wealthfront & Betterment are two popular commercial fee based robo-advisors available today. In the Free category WiseBanyan & CharlesSchwab are making the ground.
But it won’t be long before Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple get in on the robo-advisor industry.
Robo advice is certainly here to stay, and it has its place in the wealth management landscape of tomorrow. But what's missing most, with robo-advisers is the personal touch.  In this age of hyper-personalization, the lack of a human element is one area where robo-advisors may fall short.
The robo-advisor can't replace a trusted age old adviser, your elders have worked with, who lives nearby and can rush right over in case of need, who knows you and your family.

With the pace of improvement that Artificial Intelligence and machine learning bringing up, robo-advice has the potential to become highly personalized and specific over time.
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Here's a quick list of the 6 Best Online Resources for Embedded Firmware. Enjoy!

  1. Reverse Engineering Stack Exchange: "Reverse Engineering Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for researchers and developers who explore the principles of a system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation."
  2. The Ganssle Group: We love Jack Ganssle! He writes, "I'm on a mission to help embedded developers produce better products faster. My newsletter, seminars and the 1200+ articles on this site all give better ways to build embedded products, while maximizing the fun of engineering hardware and firmware."
  3. The Embedded Systems Conference: "Experience the industry's largest, most comprehensive technical conference for embedded systems professionals. Connect with top-level engineers, developers, and decision makers at the forefront of driving embedded systems design. Showcase your latest software design innovation, hardware breakthroughs, hottest IoT solutions, and demo your services in-person to hundreds of attendees with active projects."
  4. Embedded Computing Design: "For the past 30+ years OpenSystems Media (formerly OpenSystems Publishing) has focused solely on the embedded computing market. OpenSystems Media offers balance: taking not only a broad, encompassing look at trends and technologies, but also focusing on certain solutions in-depth."
  5. Embedded.fm Podcast: "Embedded.fm is a site dedicated to the many aspects of engineering. We talk about the how, why, and what of engineering, usually devices. The site includes a weekly audio show created and hosted by Elecia White and Christopher White. Our guests include makers, entrepreneurs, educators, and normal, traditional engineers. The site also includes a blog written by Elecia White, Christopher White, Andrei Chichak, and Chris Svec."
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A few years ago, the idea of a “Telco in a Box” was very usual among the Telecommunication industry. Basically, it was a pre-integrated, turnkey real-time billing and customer care solution that enabled communications service providers (CSPs) to accelerate their growth strategies and increase profitability.

Companies like Accenture, Oracle, Redknee or Tech Mahindra used this concept addressed to Mobile Virtual Network Operators or MVNOs, Tier 3 Operators and Tier 1 sub brands. The benefits of this solution were clear:

  • A low-risk, quick to launch turnkey solution
  • Go to market faster than competitors

It was a matter of time that this marketing slogan reached the Internet of Things (IoT). And so it has been, at the moment with little noise, but it is certain that we will see much more "IoT in a Box" in the next months.

What is IoT in a Box and What's in the box

Today we could say that IoT in a Box is:

  • A pre-configured, fully integrated, enterprise-enabled IoT bundle optimized for IoT processing (Telco view)
  • All the required building blocks to develop a wireless IoT system (IoT Vendor view)

In the first case, the IoT in a Box must include some of the following components depending of the application:

  • ·         Hardware / Hardware as a Service
    • ·         1 o more battery powered modules with sensors for monitoring for instance temperature, humidity, geo-location, movement, vibration, battery level or signal strength
    • ·         1 or more Relay switch or actuators
    • ·         1 GSM chip (SIM) per module with a data plan
    • ·         IoT gateway
  • ·         Software / Software as a Service
    • ·         Device management
    • ·         Enterprise database with storage plan
    • ·         Security Connectivity
    • ·         Pre-configured dashboards
    • ·         Pre-configured thresholds and alerts
    • ·         Mobile app
  • ·         Services / Services as a Service
    • ·         Professional Services (optional)
    • ·         Support (basic included, premium optional)

When you receive your IoT in a Box.  All you must do is:

  1. charge your modules
  2. place them on (or in) things,
  3. login to your own org to name your modules, and then
  4. turn on your modules. As soon as you activate a module, it starts to send sensor data, and you can start monitoring your things in near-time - online or using the mobile app.

“The concept behind a basic “IoT in a box” is that It takes you less than 1 hour to set up your own IoT system.”

In the second case, the IoT in a Box must include a Development Kit and all required building blocks to develop a wireless IoT system. We will see some examples later.

What if I want to expand the capabilities of my IoT application?

Although IoT in a Box is aimed at solving a simple business need, in certain scenarios or industries it may be necessary to extend the capabilities included in the Box. In this regard, vendors must provide accessories, expansion modules, I/Os and peripherals, Multi-standard connectivity options  and additional Pre-configured dashboards and alerts depending of the industry and application.

Selling IoT in a Box

When I wrote Welcome to the first “Selling IoT” Master Class!, I did not emphasize in selling IoT to Small and Medium Business (SMB) and Consumer market.  Precisely, the main objective that vendors pursue with the “IoT in a box” is increase sales in SMB market. This is a huge market and vendors need a way to escalate by channel partners, but as I do not consider myself an expert selling to SMB, so I look forward for your advices.

Is IoT in a Box already in the market?

Due to confidentiality agreements, I cannot include info from different vendors that will be selling IoT in a Box very soon.  But we can find already some examples of IoT in a Box in the market. See below some of them based on public information.

T- Mobile IoT in a Box - With the T-Mobile IoT Box, you can realize your individual M2M application without great effort. Connect your devices and sensors and transfer the obtained data to a cloud system via mobile radio. A data interface provides processing and integration information to other systems, websites, or apps. The T-Mobile IoT Box consists of a developer board with an integrated M2M SIM card, several inputs / outputs and Bluetooth smart interface, an online portal and a RESTful API.

T-Mobile US – IoT promotion for device makers - Building on its movement into the internet of things (IoT) market, T-Mobile US announced a new IoT-specific pricing model as part of a promotion that includes a free Cat1 LTE module along with data services.

T-Mobile US, SVP Doug Chartier said: “The wireless industry needs simpler options for IoT to take off, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering.”

Telia M2M in a Box - M2M technology easy and affordable for any business. Telia M2M in a Box gives you a set of hardware with sensors providing you with real time information about position, movement and climate, which you can monitor directly in the web portal. A versatile and user-friendly measurement tool to observe, monitor and protect your business remotely.

Capgemini IoT-in-a-Box is a rapid, low-cost, low-risk, method to pilot IoT strategy to test and define business cases and provides a pre-configured, enterprise-ready IoT system for monitoring up to 25 devices. It simplifies the task of aligning integrating and configuring all IoT components to provide rapid time to value.

IBM - The Intelligent Building – IoT Starter Kit (Enterprise Edition) is an out–of-the-box IoT solution for Intelligent Buildings. The kit provides seamless integration of the EnOcean Smart Gateway with the Watson IoT Platform.

Relayr- Relayr -Industrial Grade Starter Kit for IoT Acceleration powered by relayr, Intel, Dell and Bosch.

Microsoft – Solair IoT in a Box was an IoT plug&play kit to connect things, sensors, machines to a gateway and then, in a few clicks, instantly visualize data on the Solair application. After acquisition of Solair probably Microsoft had discontinued this offer.

Bosch - Bosch IoT Starter kits that come with pre-configured XDK devices + cloud connectivity. It is as out of the box as it could be!

HPE - HPE Uncorks IoT In A Box - Called (at least by Hewlett Packard Enterprise) the ‘industry’s first converged systems for the IoT’, the Edgeline EL1000 and Edgeline EL4000 systems ‘integrate data capture, control, compute and storage to deliver heavy-duty analytics and insights at the edge to enable real-time decision making.’

Electric Imp - IoT QuickStart by Electric Imp - Electric Imp’s IoT QuickStart Family is designed to help you cut the time to build, test and prototype complex IoT solutions all while maintaining industrial-strength security, scalability and control. Based on reference designs that Electric Imp experts have developed over the past five years, the IoT QuickStart Family appliances represent the most frequently requested secure connectivity and device prototype solutions, each delivered in a fraction of the time and cost required by custom-built solutions.

Creator Ci40 IoT Developer Kit - The Creator Ci40 board is a high-performance, low-power microcomputer that packs a cXT200 chip based on a subsystem optimized by us specifically for IoT applications. The cXT200 SoC includes a dual-core, dual-threaded MIPS CPU clocked at 550 MHz and an Ensigma connectivity engine that covers super-fast 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi and low-power Bluetooth/Bluetooth low energy (Classic and Smart). See also: Imagination Launches ‘IoT In A Box’ Kickstarter - and Build a home IoT irrigation system with 'IoT-in-a-box' kit .

Nextcloud Box – a private cloud and IoT solution for home users – from Nextcloud, Canonical and WDLabs. Nextcloud Box makes hosting a personal cloud simple and cost effective whilst maintaining a secure private environment that can be expanded with additional features via apps. The Nextcloud Box consists of a hard drive and a case, complemented by a Raspberry Pi 2 or a similar credit-card sized computer. The pre-configured, easy-to-use platform handles file storage and syncing, communication and more, requires no maintenance and enables users to install more functionality through apps like Spreed, OpenHab and Collabora Online. The box offers 1TB of storage at the price point of Eur 70. For information on where to buy please visit nextcloud.com/box.

WIKON – My M2M BOX – Our special expertise lies in the compliance with industrial standards for our product developments and the development of powerful embedded hardware and software. Special developments for explosion zones, adverse environmental conditions, IP-68 standards and extended temperature ranges are frequently in demand.

Mobica collaborates with Advantech to develop a complete IoT Solution - Mobica, a Silver member of Oracle Partner Network (OPN) and global provider of a leading-edge software engineering, testing and consultancy services, developed a solution which aggregates data from a variety of sensors and sends it to the Oracle Internet of Things Cloud Service for analysis and integration. Mobica used an Advantech UTX-3115 IoT gateway and a M2.COM based WISE-1520 Low-Power Wi-Fi IoT node for sensor input.

The ThingBox Project - Use Internet of Things technologies without any technical knowledge and for free.

Eight best IoT starter kits: The best internet of things developer kits –

Imagination Meluncurkan kit IoT –“IoT http://misteriotcom/2015/11/24/imagination-meluncurkan-kit-iot-iot-in-a-box/

There are many IoT Vendors who offer Devices, IoT platform, Apps and Services bundled with the same purpose of IoT in a Box, democratize the IoT.

IoT in a Box and IoT Marketplaces

As we know “IoT is not only about connecting things, neither controlling things”, it is about the Things become more intelligent and therefore companies could offer new services under new business models. I believe that IoT marketplaces will play a key role in the evolution of IoT in a box. We have already some examples:

Libelium, the IoT Marketplace is a one stop click-and-buy online store. The company is helping frustrated companies with pre-integrated solutions from choosing the right hardware, cloud components to application.

Telus IoT Marketplace – Connect the things that matter to your business by leveraging connected devices provided by their partner network.

ThingWorks Marketplace – gives easy access to everything you need to build and run your ThingWorx based IoT application. All components listed on the ThingWorx Marketplace are customized, tested and guaranteed to work with the ThingWorx platform.

Intel IoT marketplace – Coming soon.

“IoT in a Box solutions that encompass infrastructure, networking, analytics, service enablement and monetization to connect devices, expose data, services and processes to applications, consumers and machines will be the foundation for IoT marketplaces”.

IoT Service in a Box, the logical evolution of IoT in a Box 

I believe that the logical evolution of IoT in a Box will be IoT Service in a Box sold through IoT marketplaces. It is a matter of time that we will see:

  • ·         Predictive Maintenance in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Loss Prevention in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Asset Location in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Predictive Intrusion in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Vending Machine Product Recommendation in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Real time micro-Inventory in a Box as a Service
  • ·         Customer Emotion in a Box as a Service
  • ·         ……  Your imagination is the limit

 

 

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In very simple terms, Business model is how you plan to make money from your business. 
A refined version is how you create and deliver value to customers. Your strategy tells you where you want to go and the business model tells you how you are going to do it.
In this time of industry 4.0 with Digital Transformation, businesses are getting disrupted faster than they get established. We all know what Apple did for music, Uber did for taxis and Airbnb did for hotels.
Digital is helping them to enhance their existing products and services and helping to launch new products and services.
Companies are using various business models to be successful:
  • Freemium model : Basic products/services are provided free but       users are charged for advance features. E.g. Coursera, LinkedIn, Spotify, Dropbox, Skype
  • Pay as you go or Subscription Model : Pay only for services which are used. E.g. Netflix, Kindle, New York Times, Safari Books online
  • Customer experience model : provide the customer experience never before e.g. Tesla, Disney Land, Apple
  • On-Demand model : provide customer service on demand with speed. E.g. Uber, cloud services from Amazon, Microsoft
  • Marketplace model : provide a platform for buyer and seller interact with each other directly e.g. ebay, Alibaba
  • Free model : provide the typical services to users free and sell their behavior data to different businesses e.g. Google, Facebook, Patientslikeme
  • Crowd-sourcing model : receive money for engaging crowd for common goal, innovation, problem solving. E.g. Kaggle, CrowdAnalytix
  • Bundling model : selling similar products or services together. E.g. Microsoft Office        
  • Gamification model : use of game like feature to simplify the interaction. E.g Mint.com, Khan Academy, Nike +
 
Some of the big companies moved on from their core business model and adopted to the change embracing digital to get closer to customers in real time and grow exponentially.
Nike had moved on from a sports apparel company to fitness driven personalized wearables like FuelBand manufacturer.
Amazon started in 1995 as on online book store but went on to become leader in technologies like CloudDrones, web services. 
Philips started as Light Bulb Company and moved on to become leader in healthcare equipment’s touching millions of people lives.
GE has moved forward from its core industrial products – from jet engines and gas turbines to CT/PET scanners, locomotives with sensors that monitor various parts of the machinery. They developed their own Predix IoT platform with advanced analytics to provide real time information to improve efficiency, increase productivity, and schedule more effective preventive maintenance.
Apple adopted multiple models from PC manufacturer to selling online music, to subscription model of iCloud.
Changing the business model drastically may not work. Don’t try to boil the ocean but start with how you can deliver greater value to customers through digital technology.
Success in choosing one business model over another, will depend on how well companies understand their customers’ needs. 
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As more and more companies are drawn into the IOT bandwagon for the lure of the future business potential, the value realization from the IOT technologies continues to be more elusive than ever. If one were to take into account the enormous spends by the enterprises till date on the IOT products and solutions, and compare this with the new business opportunity generated by IOT till date, we can sum this investment with the tagline – “Chasing Million with Billions”.

While this is mostly true for most emerging technologies and usually dominating a technology market more often than not, becomes a battle of investments, as companies outbid each other for the acquisitions and market share, IOT leadership would be far more challenging than anything else seen before.

So what is the curious case about IOT? Well for starters winning the IOT leadership would determine the future existence of many companies. We would witness the demise of many companies and the rise of new giants by the time dust settles for the IOT leadership. More than 2 years have elapsed since IOT became part of every boardroom discussion and now the battle of IOT has moved on from the strategy to execution. 

With the appeal so universal which originates by adding the adjectives, “smart”, “connected” and “digital” to all the products and services we are using or would use in future, the IOT technology space has slowly morphed itself into the “battle of the platform”. So consortium of companies are aligning with each other and are positioning their bets on platform leadership.

So what is the problem with this shift? The very nature of the platform development encompassing the needs of applications hosted for smart homes, smart cities, connected vehicles and products spanning the domains across healthcare, retail, manufacturing to name a few means an enormous list of “backlog” for development of the “new” platform. So IOT platform development is hit by the bane of the trinity – development of full scope, in budget and on time for scalable market adoption. Estimates for building such a multi-purpose all-encompassing platform with full feature set would set aside any product development organization by a few billion dollars.    

Additional complexity to the platform development is the timeline for the market availability of such feature complete platform, especially considering that data ingestion from thousands of disparate devices across multiple network protocols in streaming format real-time. Above and beyond this, the cost to secure all end points and prevent the devices from the potential hacking would surely add several million dollars to the cost.

So what is challenge with the platform development?  The problem is the very nature of the IOT market – the universal appeal and low price points. Most markets which have such a universal appeal often can accommodate 2-3 players at maximum, so all the competing platforms in development now and spending big dollars can face a high potential of failure. As more announcements are made and more investments pours in, the bloodier the war for IOT supremacy would become. The very nature of the digital market which ensures “winner take all market” is both the lure and the source of agony.

What does chasing Million with Billions imply?  As the transaction volumes increases, the transaction value dramatically decrease and with smaller per capita spending by the end user, the ROI calculations moves the break-even date far out into the future. Net Present Value for the future cash flow projections with the diminished order sizes for the next few years at best could accrue in Millions, but the upfront investment required to win the IOT leadership would require investment in the order of Billion. A more detailed analysis of the IOT Economic Perspective is presented in this previous series. (http://bit.ly/2a2sfcq). Generally bigger the stakes at the end, the fierce the competition becomes and IOT would witness one of the longest standing investment war for supremacy. While the winner would definitely be taking all, the pain for the competition would be intense. While many would drop out of the race in the short term due to the lack of funding or cash crunch, a few giants with deep pockets would continue to wrestle on. 

So would your strategy be the best? Would you leapfrog the paradox of earning million with billion and come out as the eventual winner? And which side of the competition would you stand when this IOT leadership war is over?

In the next series I would be providing more recommendation to solve the curious case of IOT platform leadership. Please drop in your comments.

Note: This article is independent view and presents the IOT story from a vendor neutral perspective.

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Do you still remember our childhood story of Ali Baba and 40 thieves?
“Open Sesame” was the magical phrase that a poor woodcutter Ali Baba uttered, to open the door of a secret cave in which 40 thieves had hidden bags of gold and treasure. The power of his voice, and using the right words, gave him access to that fortune, and changed his life forever.
We are in the same cusp of open sesame to Digital Transformation and changing our lives. It’s a fact that our lives are becoming more digital. We buy, we work, we store information, and we even communicate with other people through media and digital platforms.
A laptop was not an item in my life until the age of 35, whereas for my daughters, they have always had a laptop in the house, and learned how to use it, earlier than me.
Whether we like it or not, digital transformation is creating a new era… changing how we do things, how we live … and we are already fully immersed into it. We have a great opportunity to be more effective, efficient, fast and agile.
We, as consumers expect ultra-connected experiences. Whether it’s in-store, on the web, using a mobile device or through wearables, we want every interaction to be simple, effortless, relevant and lightning fast.
The Internet of Things have already started changing our lives!! The connected car we use may know the temperature we like at home so adjust accordingly. The mobile app is connected with all Smart Home devices to alert us of anything suspicious happening while we are away. It can notify when we approach grocery store, of the items we need at home. With Drones, we can get a tour of properties listed so we can choose the right one.
To reach 50 million users, radio took 38 years, Google took 6 years, and Google+ needed just 88 days while Smartphone “Pokémon Go” game reached that count in just 19 days!!
Our lives have become a collection of mobile moments in which we pull out a mobile device as if it was a magic wand to get something done wherever and whenever we want. We use smartphones for more than just making phone calls. From online banking to posting family photos to social media, sending e-mails and text messages, searching for restaurants and booking movies.
We are alerted of our days’ appointments and meetings before even we had our breakfast. A weather app alerts us of the rain forecast. To make our commute pleasant, the built-in GPS in our car alerts us of upcoming traffic along the planned route and suggests an alternative route so we can get to work on time and keep our meetings.
All of us have become so health conscious with wearables like Apple watch & activity trackers like Fit bit and Jawbone and Google smart contact lenses etc. With wearables like Oculus Rift VR, we can enter into an exciting new realm of augmented reality, with an enhanced experience of what we see, hear and touch.
Big Data Analytics is an ideal entry point to get into digital transformation.  It is like turning the lights on in a dark room. Every interaction we have with businesses, point-of-sale transaction details, loyalty card information, surveys, and social media postings to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more.. which provides deep insight into our behavior, attitudes, and opinions that businesses are leveraging to improve relationships with hyper-personalization.
Voila! Life is simplified …..

Was this all available to us 20 years before? Ali Baba’s “Open Sesame” was a story of childhood, but Digital Transformation is reality – and from now on nothing will be same again.

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Using Blockchain to Secure IoT

By Ahmed Banafa

IoT is creating new opportunities and providing a competitive advantage for businesses in current and new markets. It touches everything—not just the data, but how, when, where and why you collect it. The technologies that have created the Internet of Things aren’t changing the internet only, but rather change the things connected to the internet—the devices and gateways on the edge of the network that are now able to request a service or start an action without human intervention at many levels.

Because the generation and analysis of data are so essential to the IoT, consideration must be given to protecting data throughout its life cycle. Managing information at all levels is complex because data will flow across many administrative boundaries with different policies and intents.

Given the various technological and physical components that truly make up an IoT ecosystem, it is good to consider the IoT as a system-of-systems. The architecting of these systems that provide business value to organizations will often be a complex undertaking, as enterprise architects work to design integrated solutions that include edge devices, applications, transports, protocols, and analytics capabilities that make up a fully functioning IoT system. This complexity introduces challenges to keeping the IoT secure, and ensuring that a particular instance of the IoT cannot be used as a jumping off point to attack other enterprise information technology (IT) systems.

International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that 90% of organizations that implement the IoT will suffer an IoT-based breach of back-end IT systems by the year 2017.

Challenges to Secure IoT Deployments

Regardless of the role, your business has within the Internet of Things ecosystem— device manufacturer, solution provider, cloud provider, systems integrator, or service provider—you need to know how to get the greatest benefit from this new technology that offers such highly diverse and rapidly changing opportunities.

Handling the enormous volume of existing and projected data is daunting. Managing the inevitable complexities of connecting to a seemingly unlimited list of devices is complicated. And the goal of turning the deluge of data into valuable actions seems impossible because of the many challenges. The existing security technologies will play a role in mitigating IoT risks but they are not enough. The goal is to get data securely to the right place, at the right time, in the right format; it’s easier said than done for many reasons.

Dealing with the challenges and threats

Gartner predicted that more than 20% of businesses will deploy security solutions for protecting their IoT devices and services by 2017, IoT devices and services will expand the surface area for cyber-attacks on businesses, by turning physical objects that used to be offline into online assets communicating with enterprise networks. Businesses will have to respond by broadening the scope of their security strategy to include these new online devices.

Businesses will have to tailor security to each IoT deployment according to the unique capabilities of the devices involved and the risks associated with the networks connected to those devices. BI Intelligence expects spending on solutions to secure IoT devices and systems to increase five fold over the next four years.

The optimum platform

Developing solutions for the Internet of Things requires unprecedented collaboration, coordination, and connectivity for each piece in the system, and throughout the system as a whole. All devices must work together and be integrated with all other devices, and all devices must communicate and interact seamlessly with connected systems and infrastructures in a secure way. It’s possible, but it can be expensive, time-consuming, and difficult unless the new line of thinking and a new approach to IoT security emerged away from the current centralized model.

The problem with the current centralized model

The current IoT ecosystems rely on centralized, brokered communication models, otherwise known as the server/client paradigm. All devices are identified, authenticated and connected through cloud servers that sport huge processing and storage capacities. The connection between devices will have to exclusively go through the internet, even if they happen to be a few feet apart.

While this model has connected generic computing devices for decades and will continue to support small-scale IoT networks as we see them today, it will not be able to respond to the growing needs of the huge IoT ecosystems of tomorrow.

Existing IoT solutions are expensive because of the high infrastructure and maintenance cost associated with centralized clouds, large server farms, and networking equipment. The sheer amount of communications that will have to be handled when IoT devices grow to the tens of billions will increase those costs substantially.

Even if the unprecedented economical and engineering challenges are overcome, cloud servers will remain a bottleneck and point of failure that can disrupt the entire network. This is especially important as more critical tasks

Moreover, the diversity of ownership of devices and their supporting cloud infrastructure makes machine-to-machine (M2M) communications difficult. There’s no single platform that connects all devices and no guarantee that cloud services offered by different manufacturers are interoperable and compatible.

Decentralizing IoT networks

A decentralized approach to IoT networking would solve many of the questions above. Adopting a standardized peer-to-peer communication model to process the hundreds of billions of transactions between devices will significantly reduce the costs associated with installing and maintaining large centralized data centers and will distribute computation and storage needs across the billions of devices that form IoT networks. This will prevent failure in any single node in a network from bringing the entire network to a halting collapse.

However, establishing peer-to-peer communications will present its own set of challenges, chief among them the issue of security. And as we all know, IoT security is much more than just about protecting sensitive data. The proposed solution will have to maintain privacy and security in huge IoT networks and offer some form of validation and consensus for transactions to prevent spoofing and theft.

To perform the functions of traditional IoT solutions without a centralized control, any decentralized approach must support three fundamental functions:

  • Peer-to-peer messaging
  • Distributed file sharing
  • Autonomous device coordination

 

The Blockchain approach

Blockchain, the “distributed ledger” technology that underpins bitcoin, has emerged as an object of intense interest in the tech industry and beyond. #Blockchain technology offers a way of recording transactions or any digital interaction in a way that is designed to be secure, transparent, highly resistant to outages, audit-able, and efficient; as such, it carries the possibility of disrupting industries and enabling new business models. The technology is young and changing very rapidly; widespread commercialization is still a few years off. Nonetheless, to avoid disruptive surprises or missed opportunities, strategists, planners, and decision makers across industries and business functions should pay heed now and begin to investigate applications of the technology.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a database that maintains a continuously growing set of data records. It is distributed in nature, meaning that there is no master computer holding the entire chain. Rather, the participating nodes have a copy of the chain. It’s also ever-growing — data records are only added to the chain.

A blockchain consists of two types of elements:

  • Transactions are the actions created by the participants in the system.
  • Blocks record these transactions and make sure they are in the correct sequence and have not been tampered with. Blocks also record a time stamp when the transactions were added.

What are some advantages of Blockchain?

The big advantage of blockchain is that it’s public. Everyone participating can see the blocks and the transactions stored in them. This doesn’t mean everyone can see the actual content of your transaction, however; that’s protected by your private key.

A blockchain is decentralized, so there is no single authority that can approve the transactions or set specific rules to have transactions accepted. That means there’s a huge amount of trust involved since all the participants in the network have to reach a consensus to accept transactions.

Most importantly, it’s secure. The database can only be extended and previous records cannot be changed (at least, there’s a very high cost if someone wants to alter previous records).

 How does it work?

When someone wants to add a transaction to the chain, all the participants in the network will validate it. They do this by applying an algorithm to the transaction to verify its validity. What exactly is understood by “valid” is defined by the blockchain system and can differ between systems. Then it is up to a majority of the participants to agree that the transaction is valid.

A set of approved transactions is then bundled in a block, which gets sent to all the nodes in the network. They, in turn, validate the new block. Each successive block contains a hash, which is a unique fingerprint, of the previous block.

There are two main types of Blockchain:

  • In a public blockchain, everyone can read or write data. Some public blockchains limit the access to just reading or writing. Bitcoin, for example, uses an approach where anyone can write.
  • In a private blockchain, all the participants are known and trusted. This is useful when the blockchain is used between companies that belong to the same legal mother entity.

The Blockchain and IoT

Blockchain technology is the missing link to settle scalability, privacy, and reliability concerns in the Internet of Things. Blockchain technologies could perhaps be the silver bullet needed by the IoT industry. Blockchain technology can be used in tracking billions of connected devices, enable the processing of transactions and coordination between devices; allow for significant savings to IoT industry manufacturers. This decentralized approach would eliminate single points of failure, creating a more resilient ecosystem for devices to run on. The cryptographic algorithms used by blockchains would make consumer data more private.

The ledger is tamper-proof and cannot be manipulated by malicious actors because it doesn’t exist in any single location, and man-in-the-middle attacks cannot be staged because there is no single thread of communication that can be intercepted. Blockchain makes trustless, peer-to-peer messaging possible and has already proven its worth in the world of financial services through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, providing guaranteed peer-to-peer payment services without the need for third-party brokers.

The decentralized, autonomous, and trustless capabilities of the blockchain make it an ideal component to become a fundamental element of IoT solutions. It is not a surprise that enterprise IoT technologies have quickly become one of the early adopters of blockchain technologies.

In an IoT network, the blockchain can keep an immutable record of the history of smart devices. This feature enables the autonomous functioning of smart devices without the need for centralized authority. As a result, the blockchain opens the door to a series of IoT scenarios that were remarkably difficult, or even impossible to implement without it.

By leveraging the blockchain, IoT solutions can enable secure, trustless messaging between devices in an IoT network. In this model, the blockchain will treat message exchanges between devices similar to financial transactions in a bitcoin network. To enable message exchanges, devices will leverage smart contracts which then model the agreement between the two parties.

In this scenario, we can sensor from afar, communicating directly with the irrigation system in order to control the flow of water based on conditions detected on the crops. Similarly, smart devices in an oil platform can exchange data to adjust functioning based on weather conditions.

Using the blockchain will enable true autonomous smart devices that can exchange data, or even execute financial transactions, without the need of a centralized broker. This type of autonomy is possible because the nodes in the blockchain network will verify the validity of the transaction without relying on a centralized authority.

In this scenario, we can envision smart devices in a manufacturing plant that can place orders for repairing some of its parts without the need of human or centralized intervention. Similarly, smart vehicles in a truck fleet will be able to provide a complete report of the most important parts needing replacement after arriving at a workshop.

One of the most exciting capabilities of the blockchain is the ability to maintain a duly decentralized, trusted ledger of all transactions occurring in a network. This capability is essential to enable the many compliances and regulatory requirements of industrial IoT applications without the need to rely on a centralized model.

 This article originally appeared here. Header photo has been modified, credit here.

References

http://www.cio.com/article/3027522/internet-of-things/beyond-bitcoin-can-the-blockchain-power-industrial-iot.html

http://dupress.com/articles/trends-blockchain-bitcoin-security-transparency/

https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/28/decentralizing-iot-networks-through-blockchain/

http://www.blockchaintechnologies.com/blockchain-internet-of-things-iot

https://postscapes.com/blockchains-and-the-internet-of-things/

http://www-935.ibm.com/services/multimedia/GBE03662USEN.pdf

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Harvard Business Review, with the sponsorship of Verizon, just published a new report on IoT. This time the focus is on big data strategy.

The report shows that most companies are taking a largely ad hoc approach to big data today, according to a September 2016 survey of 306 business leaders conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. Nearly half of respondents said they pursue big data initiatives on a per-project basis, with just 18 percent saying they have an enterprise big data strategy and approach. Some findings:

  • 44% aim to use IoT to transform their business model.
  • 78% are acting on only a limited amount of IoT data—or aren’t using any at all.
  • 42% say lack of skills/capabilities is preventing them from acting on more big data.
  • 51% are struggling with big data variety and complexity.
  • 78% say that new networking technologies are important to their big data strategies.

Many of the other findings in the report are pretty dour, but also notes that business leaders have high hopes for IoT technology and that their expectations for the business benefits of IoT implementation are significant. Still worth a read. 

Get the full report here

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What will this market bring us in the next few years? Are there reasons for optimism?

During the last three years, I have had the opportunity to discover, know and analyse more than 50 Spanish companies in the exciting sector of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Some of these companies are globally recognized as pioneers of IoT. Others less known but very innovative, with great talent in their ranks. All of them have been weathering the storm and far from being discouraged, because the reality is being tougher than all the hype announced by analysts, are more excited than ever before future expectations.

As I wrote in my post “5 PROVERBS TO SAVE MY STARTUP”, nobody is a prophet in their land, but even so, I can not resist providing a few tips that I believe can help us use IoT as an enabler that drives the ICT sector. Would not it be fantastic if we finally met our desire to have a strong, dynamic, competitive and innovative ICT sector in our society?

Accept reality

And the stark reality is: "Spain is not a technological country, it is a service country". I think that the lapidary expression of Miguel de Unamuno, that “they invent it”, also applies to the IoT. But it is one thing not to invent and another is to become sellers of products, solutions or services of multinationals by all known.

We must use our ingenuity, talent, creativity, and customer orientation to design and develop quality, easy-to-use global IoT solutions.

If we are good sellers of foreign products, the language should be the problem. Our objective market should not be our City, our Community or our Country, our market must be the world.

Focus, Focus and Focus

I have insisted on many forums that in Spain we can not do everything on IoT. For example, we can be leaders in Smart Cities, but we will have little chance of success in Connected Cars, we must fight to find a gap in Industry 4.0 (also known as Industrial Internet or IIOT) but I fear we will not be number 1 in Wearables, although we could be innovative in Health services.

We must analyse our strengths and weaknesses to recognize where our opportunities are and what our threats are. Let us be references in our focus areas.

Trusted Ecosystems

We know that there is not a single company in the world that can do everything in IoT, much less leading the IoT, so it is obvious that our companies and Startups have no other choice than to create or be part of reliable ecosystems and Collaborative projects in the focus areas to meet the challenges posed by IoT projects.

We must design new sustainable business models with our local partners, it is time to trust if we want to survive in this competitive and fragmented sector until the magic 2020.

It's time to real collaboration, put a logo on our presentations and our website is absurd if there is something else behind.

Specialization

Given the size of IoT Spanish companies it is not possible to do everything and get it right.

We must specialize, whether manufacturing specific hardware, developing software or offering services in our focus areas.

Scalability

To succeed in IoT, Spanish companies must be able to offer global and scalable solutions. We will need startup talent to focus on companies of a larger size than without giving up innovation and agility, being able to cope with large national and international IoT projects.

Expect to be outsourced by other subcontractors of a company that works for an end customer is not acceptable if we really want to change. It is a pending subject of our business model not only in technology, it is a deep-seated problem of corporate culture.

We should be able to have at least one unicorn in IoT. And I'm not talking about Telefonica, Banco Santander, BBVA, Iberdrola, Inditex, ACS, Ferrovial or Indra, but a company that provides a new IoTaaS model based on our strengths (which all or almost all know) Services and HW / SW IoT products from Spanish manufacturers. That is, we must think about having our Uber, Airbnb or why not our Spanish Tesla.

We must look for concentration of companies in the focus areas to achieve the size that allows the scalability that the IoT business needs.

Invest in Education and Training

The IoT is complex, although many try to make it simple. We will need many types of profiles and not just theoretical knowledge.

It is vital at both, the private and public levels, that the Public Administrations and Companies dedicate funds to continuously educate students and train employees in the IoT technologies.

 “Investing now in IoT training will be key to ensuring a sustainable future for our companies, our country and our professionals.”

 Start Now

This advice goes to both Enterprises and Public Administrations.

In the case of Enterprises, it would be highly desirable to lose for once the fear of being the first to implement technology solutions. You must consider IoT a key element in the digitization process of your company.

Public Administrations, stop using your budgets as always, and think about investing in a more sustainable, intelligent and connected citizen.

To conclude, pulling on the proverb I think:

"We have the wicker, so we must have confidence that we can make a great basket in IoT".

You can read the Spanish version here.

Thanks in advance for your Likes and Shares

Thoughts ? Comments ?

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Today, with Digitization of everything, 80 percent the data being created is unstructured. 
Audio, Video, our social footprints, the data generated from conversations between customer service reps, tons of legal document’s texts processed in financial sectors are examples of unstructured data stored in Big Data.
Organizations are turning to natural language processing (NLP) technology to derive understanding from the myriad of these unstructured data available online and in call-logs.
Natural language processing (NLP) is the ability of computers to understand human speech as it is spoken. NLP is a branch of artificial intelligence that has many important implications on the ways that computers and humans interact. Machine Learning has helped computers parse the ambiguity of human language.
Apache OpenNLP, Natural Language Toolkit(NLTK), Stanford NLP are various open source NLP libraries used in real world application below.
Here are multiple ways NLP is used today:
The most basic and well known application of NLP is Microsoft Word spell checking.
Text analysis, also known as sentiment analytics is a key use of NLP. Businesses are most concerned with comprehending how their customers feel emotionally adn use that data for betterment of their service.
Email filters are another important application of NLP. By analyzing the emails that flow through the servers, email providers can calculate the likelihood that an email is spam based its content by using Bayesian or Naive based spam filtering.
Call centers representatives engage with customers to hear list of specific complaints and problems. Mining this data for sentiment can lead to incredibly actionable intelligence that can be applied to product placement, messaging, design, or a range of other use cases.
Google and Bing and other search systems use NLP to extract terms from text to populate their indexes and to parse search queries.
Google Translate applies machine translation technologies in not only translating words, but in understanding the meaning of sentences to provide a true translation.
Many important decisions in financial markets use NLP by taking plain text announcements, and extracting the relevant info in a format that can be factored into algorithmic trading decisions. E.g. news of a merger between companies can have a big impact on trading decisions, and the speed at which the particulars of the merger, players, prices, who acquires who, can be incorporated into a trading algorithm can have profit implications in the millions of dollars.
Since the invention of the typewriter, the keyboard has been the king of human-computer interface. But today with voice recognition via virtual assistants, like Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Now, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana respond to vocal prompts and do everything from finding a coffee shop to getting directions to our office and also tasks like turning on the lights in home, switching the heat on etc. depending on how digitized and wired-up our life is.
Question Answering - IBM Watson is the most prominent example of question answering via information retrieval that helps guide in various areas like healthcare, weather, insurance etc.
Therefore it is clear that Natural Language Processing takes a very important role in new machine human interfaces. It’s an essential tool for leading-edge analytics & is the near future.
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What is Going on with Residential IoT

Cyber Security?

For sure you have heard about the recent DDoS attacks that occurred last October 21st on Dyn’s DNS service. The news broke out reporting that many well-known Internet services were not available. According to Hacker News Twitter, Etsy, Spotify and other sites were affected. Up to this point, there’s nothing new, just another DDoS attack. Large company outage means big news, but there is still a point that is key in this equation and that has not been addressed. 

  • Was Residential or Consumer IoT affected?

According to Dyn’s report, “the attack come from 100,000 malicious endpoints”. 

On the second last paragraph they quote: “Not only has it highlighted vulnerabilities in the security of “Internet of Things” (IOT) devices that need to be addressed, but it has also sparked further dialogue in the internet infrastructure community about the future of the internet.

Put both quotes together: 100,000 IoT devices have been Hacked. This is astonishing and outstanding!

There has been no news about how the 100,000 IoT device customers have been affected or supported:

  • Do they still have the Bot inside their device? 
  • Do the devices work correctly? 
  • Do they know they have been hacked? 
  • Do they know they are at risk? 
  • Will the Bots change and do other things? 
  • Will the Bots leave backdoors in their home networks?
  • How long will it take for another Bot to hack their IoT device?
  • What are Consumer Protection Agencies doing about this?
  • What are Governments doing?

This is no joke, we are talking about 100,000 devices (IoT Customers), and therefore, has to be addressed very seriously.

Dyn and the Internet community will address the issue. That’s fine! But how and when will they solve the Residential IoT vulnerability problem. Residential IoT needs to be Secured, Monitored and its software Updated. Enterprise IoT already contemplates this, but Residential IoT does not. Individual devices are sold with no security, and in the best case, if they are well developed and secured they still need to be monitored because software always has vulnerabilities, no matter how well and secure it has been developed.

All the questions, above cannot be solved using secure policies inside IoT or in the Internet itself. More has to be done! This is a Game Changer; Home Networks have to be monitored and secured to prevent Malware and Attacks. If not, the Internet will soon be like Hell.

The Residential IoT Avalanche

Gartner estimates that by 2020 there will be 25 billion IoT devices, of these, 13 billion will be Residential Home Devices, more than 50% of the total. Imagine if only 1% of these devices are vulnerable, there will be 13 million devices to hack.

  • Are the Internet Home Users aware of the risk they are taking?
  • Are their Home Networks and GateWays (GW/Router) secure?
  • Will the Internet itself be reliable and secure?

How to Secure Home Networks

Twenty years ago, Home Networks only had PCs, with well-developed software, for examples Windows, but many vulnerabilities were used to Hack Residential and Enterprise PCs. This problem brought up many Anti Malware (AM) Software Companies to safeguard Windows PCs. The same is happening right now with Residential IoT.

IoT devices don’t have the possibility or suppliers are not interested in incorporating AM software to their IoT. They are generally too small and only have specific dedicated software, i.e.: they cannot be easily protected with AM Software embedded in their devices:

  • This is a big problem. How can it be solved?
  • Where and how can AM software safeguard Home Networks, GWs and IoT?

Every Home Network connects to the Internet through the GW, which is the main door into our Home. As with Houses, shouldn’t an armored door be used to prevent thieves from coming in? The GW is the door to the Internet and it is also another device with CPU and Memory, a processing unit that can do the job. Why not use it to block hackers before they even get in? Thanks to FTTH and IoT itself, Gateways have become more powerful. If a GW does not have the power to cope with AM Security, then a security appliance should be connected to it. Using a secure GW, the entire Home Network will be protected from Malware and Attacks.

Many Security Providers and new startups have already foreseen the Secure GW solution.

Current Residential IoT/GW Security Innovation Trends

As described before, the most effective scenario to protect your Home IoT is to Safeguard the Home Network using the GW, this is currently being done with two innovative solutions:

Solution #1.              Attach a physical AM Security Appliance to the Home GW.

Solution #2.              Embedding AM Security software directly into the Home GW.

Solution #1 Is an interesting and effective approach, another device with more CPU and Memory means more processing power, but it adds another gadget to the end-user and it has to be physically connect to the Home GW’s 1Gbit Port.

The Pros: The Appliance adds an extra device to manage security, leaving the GW as it is. The customers will manage alerts and/or security configurations through a simple app on their smartphones. 

The Cons: All the traffic will bypass the appliance through a 1Gbit port, which needs a cable connected to the GW. Customers want to reduce physical gadgets, they already have many, such as the GW itself, IPTV DVB Decoder, the ONT, Game Station, Printers, cables, etc. Another device is not a bad solution but the current trend is to reduce home devices and cables, this solution will work but in a few years Solution #2 will make Solution #1 obsolete.

Solution #2. The Security Software will come within the GW device or it will remotely be installed.

The Pros: The customer will only manage alerts and/or security configurations, with a simple mobile app, that’s all. Simple, no physical appliance, no wires. 

The Cons: Many of the current GW hardware devices don’t have sufficient physical CPU and/or Memory capacity to manage security software, but with the FTTH and the IoT boom, Gateways are becoming more and more powerful and in a few years, most of them, if not all, will have the power to manage AM software.

Make it Simple, Intelligent and Economically Viable for Retail

Both solutions have their pros and cons, and both should, at least, address basic security surveillance. There are many threats that can be addressed using Cloud Intelligent Processing, analyzing Home Network Metadata (GW CPU will be liberated from many security tasks). But, most important of all is the combined Residential Cloud Intelligence, for example; if a new threat is detected and blocked on a provider’s vulnerable IoT device, the solution will automatically be propagated to all of the security providers’ customers, avoiding mass propagation and hacking damage. 

Residential Device “Internet Use Patterns” will be supervised and any mismatch will be reported to the customer or automatically be blocked if a malicious attacker is detected.

Customers don’t or cannot give proper maintenance to their Home IoT. The solution should or will control possible problems like vulnerable firmware, recommend changing easy or default passwords, block dangerous port access, grant or deny access, etc. Most of these simple actions will be prompted on the users’ smartphone, and the problem will easily be solved using a simple one click menu.

And finally, and probably most important, customers don’t want and can’t pay for a highly sophisticated solution. A next generation firewall type solution is way out of scope and expensive, the solution has to be smart and economically viable or sales will draw back.

There is no need to drill down into what can be done and what cannot, both solutions are effective. Solution #1 is good but #2 is in the core of the Home Network, the GW, and simpler for the end user, but it may take some time before all the GWs have sufficient power and capacity. 

Conclusions

  • There are millions of Residential IoT Devices being hacked, but most users are unaware and the press doesn’t really talk about it.
  • Residential IoT is in general insecure and with the predicted IoT Avalanche, hackers will take advantage of the situation to make the Internet be like Hell.
  • Residential IoT must be Secured, Monitored and its software Updated using the Home GW Router.
  • Make it Simple, Intelligent and Economically Viable for Retail.
  • IoT Residential Customers must be 100% aware of the Security risks, this must be strongly driven by Consumer Agencies, Governments, The Press, IoT Suppliers and Security Vendors.

If the security actions described in this publication are not addressed correctly, the Internet and all of us will have to learn the hard way. 

Juan Mora Zamorano

Independent Security Contractor

https://es.linkedin.com/in/morajuan

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Securing the Internet of Everything

The introduction of connected devices is complicating an already incredibly complex security environment for infosec professionals. In just two decades, the enterprise has gone from a controlled scenario of one device per user to a situation in which users may have five or more devices connected to sensitive systems and applications. As the IoT becomes more popular it will soon be impossible to quantify just how many internet-enabled, vulnerable points exist within an organization. So what can companies do to secure the IoT?
Read more…

IoT Central Digest, January 17, 2017

Happy New Year to all our members old, new, near and far!

If you want to look ahead into 2017, make sure to read the 50 predictions we put together. With input from vendors large and small, including AT&T, Autodesk, Hitachi, Intel, Salesforce and many others, these predictions cover a lot of ground including security, buildings, big data, ecosystems, and standards. Be sure to check them out.

This issue also looks at cars and IoT, security and stopping IoT attacks, health and big data analytics, and the ongoing IoT standards discussion. Enjoy!

Reminder: All members are free to post on IoT Central. We feature the best content and share across our social networks and other channels. Consider contributing today. Our guidelines are here.

50 Predictions for the Internet of Things in 2017
Posted by David Oro


For 2017, we asked our members, industry contacts and friends for their predictions around the Internet of Things. What new technologies will appear? Which companies will succeed or fail? What platforms will take off? What security challenges will the industry face? Will enterprises finally realize the benefits of IoT?

12 Steps to Stop the Next IoT Attack in its Tracks
Posted by Rob Tiffany

The IoT attack against Domain Name Servers from a botnet of thousands of devices means it’s way past time to take IoT security seriously. The bad actors around the world who previously used PCs, servers and smartphones to carry out attacks have now set their sights on the growing tidal wave of IoT devices. It’s time for consumers and enterprises to protect themselves and others by locking down their devices, gateways and platforms.

IoT Future – 34 Billion new Devices in 4 Years?
Posted by Joao Lopes


The most recent studies indicate that in 2020 more than 34 billion devices will be connected to the internet, in many sectors (Industrial, Agriculture, Transportation, Wearable Devices, Smart Cities, Smart Houses, etc). Of these 34 billion, the IoT will be responsible for 23 billion devices, the others 11 billion will be represented by the regular devices, such as, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.

Internet of Health: Is medicine ready to Big Data Analytics?
Guest blog post by Olga Kolesnichenko

What is Big Data: data, process of analysis or concept? There are many definitions that describe Big Data as big amount of data or as some methods of analytics of big amount of data. But more applicable is the approach that Big Data is the concept that includes: data with specific characteristics (V3 - volume, velocity, variety, or V5 - plus value and veracity), methods of analytics (the number of different software is growing), and devices, infrastructure, and most important - the ideas how to configure all into needed solution.

This is how Analytics is changing the game of Sports!!
Posted by Sandeep raut

Today, every major professional sports team either has an analytics department or an analytics expert on staff.  From coaches and players to front offices and businesses, analytics can make a difference in scoring touchdowns, signing contracts or preventing injuries. This article highlights the use of devices and analytics for sports.

Cars and Car Transportation in The Internet of Things Era
Posted by Nate Vickery

Whenever we read about, or hear about, people confidently presenting their vision of any kind of future trends, we, of course, need to take it with a grain of salt. However, as a business technology expert, I know where to look for indications on the direction technology is taking, and for the fun of it, I will try to make some educated guesses.
Let’s see what some of the trends that could change the way we travel are.

How to secure your smarthome gadgets
By Ben Dickson

The holiday season is a big time for consumer electronics and smart home gadget sales. With so many advances and innovations that we saw in the Internet of Things in 2016, there’s a likely chance that one of those connected devices has found its way into your home, or that of one of your loved ones, this Christmas.

But while IoT devices make our homes more efficient, drive energy saving and reduce costs, you should also take note that IoT devices are a source of security headaches. A huge number of smarthome gadgets are developed without sound development practices and end up being used for evil purposes.

NB-IoT is Dead. Long Live NB-IoT.
Guest post by Nick Hunn

As the old adage goes, “while the cat’s away, the mice will play”. In the case of NB-IOT, “when the spec’s delayed, LPWAN will play”, which is exactly what’s happening in the Internet of Things market today. The problem is that 3GPP (the 3rd Generation Partnership Project), the standards body which has been responsible for the 3G, 4G and 5G mobile standards, dropped the ball as far as the Internet of Things is concerned. Seduced by the slabs of black glass which suck up both our attention and the mobile networks’ spectrum, the 3GPP engineers totally forgot to design something to replace the old 2G workhorse of GPRS, which is responsible for most of today’s machine to machine communications. Instead, they spent all of their time designing high power, high speed, expensive variants of 4G to support an ongoing dynasty of iPhones, Galaxys and Pixels, none of which were any use for the Internet of Things.


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6 things to avoid in transactional emails

transactional man typing

  You might think that once a sale has been made, or an email subscription confirmed, that your job is done. You’ve made the virtual handshake, you can have a well-earned coffee and sit down now right? Wrong! (You knew we were…

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IDG Contributor Network: 20 awesome Apple websites

Apple is one of the richest, best known companies on the planet. Apple’s products generate reams of news, reviews, discussions and opinion columns everyday around the web.

But the company’s very prominence can make it hard to know which…

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