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IoT Central Digest, February 22, 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of the IoT Central Digest. This issue asks us to think about IoT-in-a-box, the differences between IoT and IIoT, and why we must regulate the IoT. As always we include more technical views such as help in really understanding blockchain technology, resources for embedded firmware and more. 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.

Is it the time for Internet of Things in a Box (IoT in a Box)?

What is the difference between Consumer IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT)?

6 Videos That Will Get You Up to Speed on Blockchain

5 Rules for Manufacturers in Securing the Internet of Things


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IoT and Agriculture Industry

IoT (Internet of Things) is everywhere; there is not a single industry left which is untouched by the magic of Internet of Things. After smart fitness, smart entertainment, smart corporate world, it is the turn for smart farming to make a substantial difference in the life of farmers and how the traditional farming is done. The agriculture industry is going to the be one of the most important industries in coming future due to the rising population worldwide and it is only right that innovation in farming is not taken lightly. There have been a few groundbreaking inventions in the past that has helped agriculture industry but with the invention of IoT technologies, the face of the agriculture industry is going to change forever.

Smart and high-tech equipment to help farmers remotely monitor the crops are already in existence. Large and small farms can, with the help of IoT technology, monitor various factors involved in optimum productivity. Moisture and nutrition of soil, the growth of the crop, rainfall, and pest infestation are some very valuable information and can be used by farms to ensure the high productivity and to improve farming techniques.

The real-time analysis of the data collected by IoT sensors can prove to be extremely beneficial for future yields. Also, this data collected about climate can be used to create the indoor farming environment (Indoor farming is steadily picking up because of the increasing shortage of the land available for farming). Indoor farming with the help of IoT technology can be a thing for the future.

Whatever the industry, the importance of IoT technology cannot be underestimated. If not so popular, industries like agriculture are going to be dependent on IoT imagine the impact of IoT in popular industries. If there is any doubt in your mind about the future, it should now be clear. The future is IoT and there cannot be a better time for you to get involved in the industry (IoT industry – estimated to be a trillion dollar industry in next couple of years) right now. IoT training, for various levels, provided by Collabera TACT is one of the best training available in the country and this training will put you on the path to a successful career in IoT.

This article originally appeared here.

Get Connected on the professional network @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/nilax-pandya-88090a3b/
If you need more information about IoT courses or any other course offered by Collabera TACT, please drop a line to [email protected]

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Internet of Things: Healthcare & Medical

Guest post by Vinay Solanki

Application of "IoT", the latest buzz word as many would like to call it, are numerous and have been covered under the topics below. If you would like to go through - IoT for smart villages, IoT for managing road accidents, IoT in retail sector, IoT for smart home, use case for smart clothes and what IoT really means to a layman.

Health industry is one the largest in any country both in terms of the required reach to the masses and in terms of per capita budget. Human being save money to live comfortably, to get their child married, to buy a house and last but not the least to pay for medical bills. As per the latest reports on USA health stats only 21 out of 100 people (< 65 age) have medical coverage. But the spend on prescription drugs is rapidly increasing from 2004 ($192 B) to 2014 ($297) however maximum of this spend is funded by private savings. Scenario is not much different in other developed countries.

On the other end if we look at developing countries like India, then as per WHO the top 10 reason of deaths in India includes hearth diseases, obstructive pulmonary, stroke and so on.

Other emerging and under developed nations will have similar stats or even worse. So why do I think IoT based solutions can improve these stats in a positive way? Let's see some of the health and medical related IoT apps, devices, solutions and monitoring systems that can have a cost effective impact on these issues. Additionally I think if Government increase its spend on R&D it can immensely help to make the solutions more scalable and deployable.

Proactive Health SolutionsYolo Health ATM is an integrated health screening kiosk with integrated medical devices such as Glucometer, BP monitor, BMI calculator, etc, and also staffed by a medical attendant. This can be next generation kiosk that will help people, short on time, to be more proactive about their health. This also holds potential to be deployed in rural areas where primary healthcare penetration is limited. Wearables such as FitBit, Apple Watch and various health bands are not new to us and they help a great deal in tracking your activities in real time.

Remote Patient Monitoring: Healthcare providers and family members always wish to monitor the health of the patient in real time. Pre and Post operative measures are taken to monitor patients health and IoT can enable solution that can allow to achieve this more efficiently and economically. Real time information, published through cloud, will help caregivers to make informed decisions and diagnosis, which are more evidence based. In the current world it is a mixture of symptoms, patients reactions and doctors gut feel which sometimes leads to trial and error diagnosis. IoT can provide real time data and more accurate information at the right time, which can revolutionize the healthcare market. This will also help in preventive disease management, reduced health care cost, enhanced patient experience, reduced errors and shorter recovery cycle.

Drugs Management: From the point of improving process on the manufacturing and R&D facilities using sensor based proactive maintenance systems and real time information feeding pipes to improving the tracking of drugs from the point of distribution to the point of purchase - IoT has a big role to play. While I won't go deep as they are not directly healthcare related but I would like to mention - supply chain management, fleet management, asset tracking, temperature and humidity monitoring and inventory management are all the categories of solutions that can help in this area.

Forbes article talks about partnership between Qualcomm and Philips to focus on creating healthcare IoT solutions such as connected dispensers for medicines, biological sensors, self care glucose meters for diabetics to an integrated cloud system for health record monitoring. Connected Medical Equipment which can transmit the data captured through sensors and of course from the patient directly onto the cloud for transparency and monitoring purpose as described here is a very handy use case for IoT.

Personal Health Data Security: However the concern many of us is security and safety of that sensitive private data about my health to be lost, hacked, misused by anyone. What if the data is captured and used for targeting ads at me? I think this is fine because it will only SPAM my life but not endanger it. Healthcare IoT Security Risk is a worth short article to read. LinkLabs also talks some of these use cases and concerns nicely.

#IoT, #M2M, #Healthcare, #Medicine, #Wearable, #Remote Patient Monitoring

This article originally appeared here.

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The Paradox of the Industrial Internet

Guest post by Evan Birkhead.

5 Take-Aways from EMA’s new Industrial IoT Research

As reported by Reuters last year, Marty Edwards, who runs the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (known as ICS-CERT), warned that his organization observed a significant year-over-year increase in attacks targeting industrial control systems. Edwards said ICS systems are vulnerable because they are exposed to the Internet.

“We see more and more that are gaining access to the control system layer,” he explained. “I am very dismayed at the accessibility of some of these networks… they are just hanging right off the tubes.”

 Director Edwards’ comments underscore the paradox of the Industrial Internet: The convergence of IT and Operational Technology (OT) enables the analytics of massive amounts of industrial data. On one hand, IT/OT convergence yields streamlined operations, improved safety, predictive maintenance and optimized processes. On the other hand, it is creating easily penetrable apertures that present enormous risks with potentially catastrophic outcomes. 

EMA, the IT and data management research organization, has published a new study entitled “The Promise and Risk of the Industrial Internet” that tackles this paradox head-on.  Convergence is occurring in an environment that wasn’t designed to be accessible from the outside world. Unfortunately, the problem is compounded by what EMA describes as a “tangled web of both cultural nuances and differing security standards and focus” between IT and OT. 

So what can we do about it?

Fortunately, EMA purports that successful Industrial IoT strategies will balance the needs of IT to provide protection from hackers, while simultaneously ensuring OT operators’ equipment will be reliable and safe.

Here are 5 take-aways from this seminal report that can help us get over the roadblocks:

  1. You can’t shoehorn IT security policies into OT.

    The security strategy for OT was developed decades ago, under the assumption that restricting physical access to industrial control systems and networks was enough to protect them. Even the protocols used to operate and secure OT systems were developed long before TCP/IP existed. IT/OT convergence opens ICS systems to threats they were never designed to be exposed to, let alone prevent or otherwise defend against. 

    IT cannot manage OT with traditional security technologies, and the inconvenient truth is that IT organizations need to make the effort to learn how they are different. OT requires a completely different and distinctly separate approach to cybersecurity. As the report explains, “IT needs to understand that administration standards and SLAs that work for enterprise software do not necessarily work for OT.”
  1. Hacks into OT are potentially more catastrophic than those in IT.

    While IT attacks typically focus on personal data (such as finances), hacks into OT can be life-threatening and can result in incalculable damage to critical infrastructure or bread-and-butter revenue-generating processes. The well-known German steel mill attack caused massive damage. A successful hack into an electrical grid can place millions of people without power for an extended period of time. Access to a city’s water supply can impact access to many crucial resources. 

    Further, according to the report, “While an hour of downtime may be acceptable to patch a CRM system, it is simply not possible for OT systems that manage critical infrastructure or transportation to be down for even a few minutes.” These are important considerations to make when weighing OT cybersecurity challenges.
  1. Attacks on OT are no longer “if” but “when.”

    EMA cites the accelerated pace of recent attacks, such as the state-sponsored attacks on the Ukrainian power grid. It describes a new world where it’s not hard to imagine how quickly attacks on critical assets can escalate to serious and even catastrophic consequences for millions of people. 

    With the convergence of networked applications, controls, and sensors for ICS, ensuring the security of physical assets and the safety of people who operate and rely on them is crucial for our very quality of life. Today’s technologists need to seriously consider the urgency of architecting a workable OT cybersecurity plan. 
  1. The right technology can bridge the gap.

    As described in the report, common IT firewalls are designed for IT perimeter security. They interrogate standard IP protocols and applications, blocking attacks based on standard Internet parameters. On the flip side, industrial cyberattacks are based on granular machine instructions that alter systems controls and sensor parameters, and cannot be caught by traditional firewall technology. Fortunately, the report concludes that the cybersecurity industry is making strides. Bayshore Networks IT/OT Gateway technology, for example, was designed from the ground up to address converged IT/OT security environments. 

    Specifically, the report recognizes the work of the Industrial Internet Consortium, which recently issued a landmark document called the Industrial Internet Security Framework, which establishes best practices for Industrial IOT cyber security. The framework emphasizes the importance of five Industrial IOT characteristics of safety, reliability, resilience, security, and privacy. 
  1. The right partner can clear cultural roadblocks.

    While the convergence of IT and OT has seemingly compounded the complexity of technology management overnight, the report encourages IT organizations to seek out partners with specific expertise in the area. 

    EMA concludes that successful Industrial IoT strategies will balance the needs of IT to provide protection from hackers while simultaneously ensuring OT operators’ equipment will be reliable and safe: “With the right technology partner and a champion that can help clear cultural roadblocks, organizations can ensure robust security with IT/OT convergence efforts, lending a foundation for greater cost and process efficiencies, as well as the competitive advantages that will come from harnessing the power of the industrial Internet of Things.”

This article originally appeared hereDownload the new EMA research here.

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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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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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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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