iot (278)

Tibbo announced the release 5.4 of AggreGate IoT Integration Platform.

We've achieved great results in optimizing AggreGate server performance, especially event and value update storage performance. From now on, a single server can process and persistently store up to a hundred thousand events/updates per second, which is almost equal to 10 billion events per day. Such performance figures don't even require any high-end server hardware.

A new chapter has been opened by this release, presenting AggreGate's graphical and textual programming languages inspired by IEC 61131-3 standard, also known as "SoftPLC". Millions of engineers are now able to use AggreGate as a process control logic development environment.

One innovative feature of AggreGate's automation languages is tight integration of runtime with the Tibbo Project System hardware. Your programmed logic can access and control all Tibbit modules of a Linux-based TPS board/box. Currently available languages are: Function Block Diagram (graphical), Structured Text (graphical), Sequential Function Chart (textual).

Widget capabilities are no longer limited by the standard set of components. Now it can be easily extended. New Widget Component SDK allows to implement custom visual components in Java and use them in AggreGate widgets. Extend AggreGate's wide component palette with UI controls best suited to your needs!

We continue making our UI interface clearer and more user-friendly. The next step is lightweight icons. We redesigned them to be up-to-date with modern flat paradigm. New color coding assists users to navigate over various available toolbar actions.

Other major improvements include:

  • Built-in timestamps and quality for data tables.
  • Component connectors that allow to visually link UI components with each other.
  • Secure and reliable Agent communications. Agent-Server communications now can be SSL-protected. When transferred data amount is critical, data compression can be enabled in parallel to encryption.
  • Granulation, a brand-new highly customizable data aggregation and consolidation tool. The granulation engine allows to combine datasets into compact representation that contains all important aspects of original information in virtually any form suitable for later processing. This allows to reduce memory and storage consumption along with boosting data processing performance.
  • Server remote upgrading. To reduce company's expenses, a remote AggreGate server upgrade operation is now supported. You can use our Unified Console application to connect to a remote server, upload a server upgrade bundle file and wait while the upgrade process is finished. That's it! All operations, including database backup, stopping server, upgrading and restarting will be performed at the server side automatically.

We are bringing our IT & Network Management solution (AggreGate Network Manager) to a new level by turning it into a full-fledged IT Service Management System. In this release, we introduce several essential instruments for that: Configuration Management Database (CMDB), metrics engine and topology-based root-cause analysis tools. Another ITSM functionality - IP address management module - is now available and you can use it out-of-the-box.

AggreGate 5.4 includes new device drivers: CoAP, MQTT, IEC 104, DLMS/COSEM, SMI-S.

You can get detailed information on the new 5.4 release, download and try the updated AggreGate IoT Platform on our website: http://aggregate.tibbo.com/news/release-54.html

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Data quality is one of the few fundamental truths to consider when architecting an IoT solution. Adopting a "pull" model for data sharing makes it easier to keep dirty data from infecting other systems and jeopardizing data quality across your enterprise environment.
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A few weeks ago, when I returned from the MWC and I wrote about “The wandering souls Network”, I wondered if it would not have been better for my career if I had specialized in a very specific area instead of being a generalist. I think there are decisions in our life that in spite every of us can analyse many times, the final decision will be always the same, because each person is the way he is.

“I define myself today as “A Generalist specialized in Internet of Things (IoT)”

Although the rest of this article can possibly be applied to all White Collar professionals, I'm going to focus on how will affect your decision of being an IoT specialist or an IoT generalist in a futuristic world dominate maybe by Robots.

Defining IoT Generalist and IoT Specialist

Before start examining the pros and cons of becoming an IoT generalist or a IoT specialist in this competitive and unfair world, it’s important to understand the distinction of these two approaches and how they relate to our future career path.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary’s simple definition of a generalist states a generalist is “a person who knows something about a lot of subjects”. A specialist is defined as “a person who has special knowledge and skill relating to a particular job, area of study”.

An IoT Generalist is a professional that understand a bit of everything. The IoT Generalist can speak about new business models enabled by IoT, the value of ecosystems, all kind of networks connectivity, protocols, sensors, devices, Gateways, Architecture, Cloud Platforms, Edge Analytics or Predictive Maintenance. And of course, he must be up to date of standards and security. Such a professional should be able to present to C-Level but also to maintain an intelligent conversation with different technical people. A value added of an IoT Generalist is his/her social network reputation, industry expertise recognition and strategic relationship with IoT/IIOT vendors, Telcos, Analyst, System Integrators. 

Being an IoT generalist also require a skill-set of project management, effective communication and good people skills.

Do you have anyone in mind?

An IoT Specialist is a professional that is a subject matter expert in at least one of the core IoT tracks. Since the IoT is very complex even though we try to simplify it with concepts such as  IoT in a Box, an IoT Specialist should offer at least expertise in one of the following 6 distinct tracks:

  • IoT Devices (IoT Hardware Engineer or IoT SW Embedded Engineer)
  • IoT Connectivity (5G, LTE, NB-IOT, 3GLoRA, SigFox, WiFI, Bluetooth) (IoT Telco Engineer)
  • IoT Platforms (IoT Architects)
  • IoT Edge/Cloud Analytics (IoT Data Scientists)
  • IoT Enterprise Integration (IoT Business Process)
  • IoT Development and DevOps. Take a look “IoT Skills For Developers”

Do you have anyone in mind?

But possibly to survive the future era of robots, it may matter little to be an IoT Generalist or Specialist and you will need a mix of a (someone who starts out as a generalist, but also has in-depth knowledge over a particular area) or specializing-generalist (someone who is specialized in a particular field, but also has a broader understanding of other aspects of the business) as Lev Kaye, the founder and CEO of CredSpark, wrote.

Remember that moving between both extremes can be extremely difficult once a career path has been embarked upon, so the mix is always good to have. There is, of course, opportunity to move between general and special IoT roles. But the more experience a professional gain in one area or the other, the more difficult it becomes to make a transition, at least without suffering from a dramatic salary loss.

Advantages and Disadvantages of being an IoT Generalists vs an IoT Specialist

There are benefits and downsides to both career routes. In the following table I have included some upsides and downsides of becoming an IoT generalist versus becoming an IoT specialist.

 

IoT Generalist

IoT Specialist

Advantages

  • Having a good understanding of a wider selection of IoT topics can help make better decisions and find solutions that a specialist might not be able to see.
  • In a fast-changing workplace, IoT generalist transferable skills will become increasingly important and will be less restricted with their career opportunities.
  • The salaries tend to be higher, even at the starting point and can also provide more internal power.
  • You can become a widely recognized leader in your field.

 

Disadvantages

  • By simply knowing the surface you can easily be replaced by another generalist.
  • Become a widely recognized leader will require specialization.
  • The narrowed focus and expert skills in an area mean IoT Specialist can only find work in this narrow field.
  • ·   The opinion on other issues might not be as valid if the topic at hand not involve your area of expertise directly.

 

“The good news is that IoT job market is likely going to require both”

Age does matter - Which path is right for you?

If you are at the start of your career, you are probably pondering which route you should take: IoT Generalist or IoT Specialist

When you start, selling yourself as an IoT generalist could be complicate to justify in a job interview, so will be better become a subject matter expert and then progressively move into a specializing-generalist

My Opinion: If you are under 30 you need to stay on top of your areas of IoT expertise and be willing to move when your expertise becomes a commodity or obsolete. This requires vigilance and the willingness to move with industry trends. You must be aware of disruptive trends in IoT technologies. Take into account that in the future, the IoT Specialists will be also under threat from software and robots. 

But if you have already passed the barrier of 45 years and suddenly you want to use your background and experience to sell yourself as an IoT Generalist, remember that you have 6 months to demonstrate your added value (most of the time you will be required for selling) or you will be fired without any leniency.

My Opinion: As an IoT Generalist over 45 you will find harder and harder to get hired. You need to be creative and become at least in spirit an entrepreneur. You must continue creating your own brand and reputation and extending your network with key people in the industry. Opportunities for IoT Generalist will not be forever but they must fight project by project. It would not hurt to start specializing in any of the IoT tracks.

And Enterprise size matters too. What are you looking for?

IoT Startups

Governments insist to sell us the importance of entrepreneurs for the well-being and sustainable development of countries and encourage us to create startups. Of course, there is no work for life except for Government employees. And it is known that the big multinationals are rewarded in stock market by the number of employees that are fired out each quarter.

Even so, startups are possibly the only way out for IoT Specialist under 25 or IoT Generalist over 45.

My Opinion

  • ·         If you are an IoT Generalist over 45, find a job in IoT startups will be a chimera, except as Sales roles. Launching your own startup with other partners can be a better option.
  • ·         If you are an IoT Specialist under 25 you can try to convince other colleagues to create a Startup and enter in the dynamic of find investors, win awards and pray for a stroke of luck. If you decide to work in an existing startup to get experience and you are not a Founder or Co-Founder, you must be prepared to be exploited, and then move to a Big company.

SMB (Small and Medium Enterprises)

IoT Generalists add value specially to medium to big international companies. Knowing the details about the complex ecosystem and can handle a vast array of technical concerns is becoming critical for SMBs. There is little need for IoT specialist as there are not enough technical needs in any one specific area to warrant a full-time staff member dedicating themselves to them.

This does not mean that if you are an IoT Specialist you should not try to work for a SMB. Other consideration like industry knowledge, proximity or quality of life will compensate the promises of more money and relevance in Big International companies.

My Opinion:

  • ·         IoT Generalist over 45 are typically more valued in smaller organizations. Small organizations typically cannot afford to hire a lot of IoT specialists. You will be more valued in smaller organizations who need their employees to wear a lot of hats. In a SMB the transition to a generalizing-specialist will be natural-
  • ·         If you are an IoT Specialist under 25 and you do not pursue the fame of being a number in a Big international company, you can enjoy more in a SMB because you will have more probability to become more quickly a specializing-generalist.

Big International companies / Top IoT companies

Here we must separate into two types of companies: Top IoT companies including Big IT and OT vendors and End Customers.

There are many lists of Top IoT companies. Almost always these lists include the habitual suspects, and as usual they have notable absences and without forget that the ranks leave much to be desired. But at least such type of list provide the names of companies that either IoT Specialists of IoT Generalists should be searching for a job.

End Customer will need help from both IoT Generalist and IoT Specialist, the question is when and who are them?

My Opinion:

  • ·         The desire of an IoT Generalist over 45, that used to work on Big Companies, is return to a Top IoT Company or Big Enterprise. Although it would seem easy, it is by no means a road of roses. You must create your own strong personal brand and be a well-known and influencer of the industry.
  • ·         If you are an IoT Specialist under 25 with experience in startups you will be hunted soon for one of IoT Top vendor.  Do not let yourself be blinded by the name of the company, but the project and the future importance of IoT within it.

Looking beyond 2025, the begin of the era of robots

Not because I attend the MWC that specifically caused me to think back on the changes that will occur in the IoT job landscape, it was this conference in addition to the many other IoT events that I attended over the past years that make me think how IoT professionals will be living the strong gravitational rift as we approach to 2025 and beyond.

Unemployment is one of the main problems in today consumer owned society. The unemployment is especially cruel to young people in search of their first job. But also for those who have passed the barrier of 45 (IF $your age is >45 THEN "sorry you are overqualified”).

When I wrote “Your job will be in our special metal hands” I imagined a near future in which companies will use Recruitment Robots to search, identify, select and manage candidates and employees more efficiently. Although it is crucial you follow your heart and your passion when making the decision you should consider the requirements of future employers will be robots.

If today, what matters is knowing a little of everything in the Internet of Things, an IoT Generalist, cross-trained and energetic. Fast forward a few years, and the IoT profession will took a different turn. IoT Specialists must emerge, particularly in larger organizations.  IoT Specialist should also be aware of the way IoT jobs will change. Several traditional IoT specialist jobs today will be facing the threat of automatization and will not have an easy time beyond 2025.

THE BOTTOM LINE

When deciding between IoT generalist and IoT specialist career paths, you need to carefully consider the type of person you are. Ultimately, the advantages and disadvantages of either path depend on your personality and drive. If you work hard towards achieving your career goals, you can do so as an IoT specialist and as an IoT generalist and remember you need to be passionate and your attitude will matter today and beyond 2025.

IoT Specialist or IoT Generalist? Choose your own destiny.

Thanks for your Comments and Likes

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It was a matter of time to end up writing an article to talk about the connection between Internet of Things (IoT) and the technology (arguably still in the infancy of its development) that may have the greatest power to transform our world, Blockchain.

In a future planet interconnected not just by devices, but by the events taking place across it, with billions of devices talking to one another in real time, the Internet of Things will require a secure and efficient way to track all interactions, transactions, and activities of every “thing” in the network.

Blockchain’s role could be a coordination layer across devices and the enabler of the IoT to securely facilitate interactions and transactions between devices, and may also support certain processes related to architecture scalability, data sharing, and advancements in encryption and private key technology, enhanced security, and potentially even privacy.

With blockchain, the Achilles’ heel of the IoT of heterogeneous OEM devices world now becomes viable. I wonder however, if is feasible that this decentralized IoT network may co-exist IoT sub-networks or centralized cloud based IoT models.

But let's face it, blockchain is still a nascent and controversial technology (experts estimate that it might take 5 -10 years for the mainstream adoption of blockchain technologies). Therefore, we must consider that blockchain’s applications within the Internet of Things is still a matter of conjecture and trial, and that it will take more time to determine whether and how blockchain might be implemented to secure IoT ecosystems.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain, the technology that constitutes the backbone of the famous bitcoin, 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.

If you want to know more about blockchain you can read:

Fascinating opportunities ahead with IoT and Blockchain

The possibilities of IoT are virtually countless, especially when the power of IoT is combined with that of other technologies, such as machine learning. But some major hurdles will surface as billions of smart devices will want to interact among themselves and with their owners.

While these challenges cannot be met with the current models that are supporting IoT communications, tech firms and researchers are hoping to deal with them through blockchain.

Applying the blockchain concept to the world of IoT offers fascinating possibilities. Is yet to be seen if blockchain is bound to expedite the revolution, simply by being the backbone for most of the future IoT systems.

An example -  Right from the time a product completes final assembly, it can be registered by the manufacturer into a universal blockchain representing its beginning of life. Once sold, a dealer or end customer can register it to a regional blockchain (a community, city or state).  But, this is only the beginning for the blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT). A washing machine could become a semi-autonomous device capable of managing its own consumables supply. It can perform self-service and maintenance, and even negotiating with other peer devices.

Challenges of Blockchain and IoT ecosystems

The chaotic growth of IoT will introduce several challenges, including identifying, connecting, securing, and managing so many devices. It will be very challenging for the current infrastructure and architecture underlying the Internet and online services to support huge IoT ecosystems of the future.

Forrester analyst Martha Bennett in the report “Disentangle Hype From Reality: Blockchain’s Potential For IoT Solutions defines three categories of challenges that Internet of Things and blockchain ecosystems participants must address: Technology, Operational challenges and Legal and compliance issues.

According with the report, the result of multiple surveys indicates that what the IoT requires more than any technological or architectural advancement is trust: trust between stakeholders and the devices interacting with them, their customers, or on their behalf.

 “As technology and commercial firms look for ways to deploy and secure Internet of Things technologies at scale, blockchain has emerged as a clear favorite for managing issues like identity and transaction security”

Blockchain, a strategic ally to Democratize the IoT

The big advantage of blockchain is that it’s public, so there is no single authority that can approve the transactions or set specific rules to have transactions accepted. Thus, the primary utility the blockchain is a censorship resistant way to exchange value without intermediaries.

Will blockchain disrupt the disrupters?.  In my post “Is it possible to democratize the Internet of Things? How to avoid that a handful of companies can dominate the IoT” I already suggested the use of blockchain to avoid that data-hungry businesses and governments collect data on the behaviour of people and the performance of objects. Blockchain could avoid that Multinational and governments deepening tracking and control of citizen behaviour and attitudes. 

Are IoT Business Models at risks with Blockchain?

IoT Service Providers hope not. There is a risk that the combo of blockchain and the sharing economy trashes some new IoT business models.  Same way that, successful or not as successful platform, companies like Uber and Airbnb, are worried today.

Just think, the success of these and some other platform companies is largely due to people trading assets they own and are paid for, but from which new value could be derived, And they release this value by using platforms to match up sellers of the extra capacity – whatever it may be – with buyers. Further, they collect data about transactions “for further commercial gain”.

Indeed, arguably many of new IoT companies’ main line of business will be data, but, what if blockchain enabled buyers and sellers to work peer-to-peer and cut out the middleman/data aggregator and seller? In that case the secure connectivity could be king not the data.

A question for IoT Platform vendors, if we have a secure, foolproof decentralized system, why do I need your IoT Platform if I and all the communities I belong to can do it for ourselves, without anybody collecting, analyzing and selling data about me?

The convergence of Blockchain and the Internet of Things closer

In my post “Will we be able to build the Internet of Things?” I warned about the Babel tower of Alliance & Consortiums in the Internet of Things.

A blockchain technology industry consortium is emerging from the meeting, New Horizons: Blockchain x IoT Summit,  with the objective of defining the scope and implementation of a smart contracts protocol layer across several major blockchain systems.

In December 2016, representatives from a group of industry-leading startups and innovative Fortune 500 companies met in Berkeley, CA to discuss the challenges facing blockchain and IoT innovation and the potential for a collective effort to address them.  The meeting was the first step towards a collaborative effort to explore and build a shared blockchain-based Internet of Things protocol. Participants in the discussions included blockchain companies Ambisafe, BitSE, Chronicled, ConsenSys, Distributed, Filament, Hashed Health, Ledger, Skuchain, and Slock.it, along with Fortune 500 corporations BNY Mellon, Bosch, Cisco, Gemalto, and Foxconn.

Who is using Blockchain in IoT

The IoT and blockchain combination is already gaining momentum, and is being endorsed by both startups and tech giants. Several companies are already putting blockchain to use to power IoT networks.

Filament, a startup that provides IoT hardware and software for industrial applications such as agriculture, manufacturing, and oil and gas industries. Filament’s wireless sensors, called Taps, create low-power autonomous mesh networks that enable enterprise companies to manage physical mining operations or water flows over agricultural fields without relying on centralized cloud alternatives. Device identification and intercommunication is secured by a bitcoin blockchain that holds the unique identity of each participating node in the network.

Telstra, Australian telecommunication giant Telstra is another company leveraging blockchain technology to secure smart home IoT ecosystems. Cryptographic hashes of device firmware are stored on a private blockchain to minimize verification time and obtain real-time tamper resistance and tamper detection. Since most smart home devices are controlled through mobile apps, Telstra further expands the model and adds user biometric information to the blockchain hashes in order to tie in user identity and prevent compromised mobile devices from taking over the network. This way, the blockchain will be able to verify both the identity of IoT devices and the identity of the people interacting with those devices.

IBM, allows to extend (private) blockchain into cognitive Internet of Things. To illustrate the benefits of blockchain and Internet of Things convergence, IBM gives the example of complex trade lanes and logistics whereby smart contracts can follow (and via blockchain technology register), everything that has happened to individual items and packages. The benefits: audit trails, accountability, new forms of contracts and speed, to name a few.

IBM and Samsung introduced their proof-of-concept system, ADEPT, which uses blockchain to support next-generation IoT ecosystems that will generate hundreds of billions of transactions per day.

Onename are creating the infrastructure for blockchain based identities that can be used for humans and machines. This means the blockchain can act like a phone book that lets machines find each other.

Tierion is being used to collect data from industrial medical devices to build a verifiable record of their usage and maintenance history. Tierion is thrilled to be the first partner to join Philips' Blockchain Lab. Together they are exploring how blockchain technology can be used in healthcare.

ConsenSys working with Innogy (a subsidiary of German utility RWE) are exploring how to enable an energy marketplace fed by distributed solar and other electricity-generating devices, which are run using a decentralized power grid.

21.co, Microsoft, Slock.it, and others are working directly with adopters in manufacturing, supply chain management, energy and utilities, agriculture, and construction; distributed ledgers may further automate, secure, and drive new services for these industries.

Blockchain is not the unique silver bullet for IoT security

Given the importance that Security has to fulfil the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), I wrote Do not stop asking for security in IoT although I did not talk about how blockchain can help secure the Internet of Things. Now with this post, I hope I have corrected that gap.

The existing security technologies will play a role in mitigating IoT risks but they are not enough. Cryptographic algorithms used by blockchain technologies could perhaps be a silver bullet needed by the IoT industry to create a more resilient ecosystem for devices to run on and to make consumer data more private. But blockchain should not be viewed as the unique silver bullet to all IoT security issues considering that today’s blockchain space is even more nascent than the IoT.

Manufacturers, legislators, IoT hardware and software vendors, IoT Service Providers, System Integrators, analyst, and end users, must be aware of the IoT security challenges and focus on increase security efforts to reduce the risk inherent to the fragmented Internet of Things so among all we can accelerate adoption.

In the long term, we should keep dreaming in a fully decentralized and secure IoT using a standardized secure communication model. We must trust this dream will be possible, if worldwide, engineering talent, startups, large companies, and governments increase the investment in time, energy, and money to innovate in solutions that address the IoT’s and blockchain’s shared problems.

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It's 2017 and IoT continues to be a buzz. Appearing more frequently in almost every news articles regarding technology trends, digital transformation and the next "industrial revolution". However, behind the seemingly robust industry boom, rates of IoT adoption across Southeast Asia seems to be at a more conservative level.

Enterprises and organisations are cautious of adopting IoT for various reasons, and it is important for solution providers to understand these gaps in order to address enterprises' challenges and bring IoT to a wider reach.

1. Security

Arguably the second-most popular buzzword, security issues have been the top concerns of any digital, connected projects out there. 2016 was a "year of hack" around the world, from the (alleged) hacking of the US electionsUS $81 million stolen from Bangladesh Bank, and hacking of airports and banks in Vietnam. All these issues raise the concern of the security of enterprises putting up sensitive information about their business in the cloud, where IoT devices without basic security functions can be hacked within minutes.

Ensuring cyber security is crucial for businesses when they decide whether or not to migrate into the cloud and rely on technologies for operations and sensitive information.

2. Co$t

Cost is another big concern for enterprise IoT adoption, especially in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Southeast Asia. Many of the IoT product offerings currently pose a challenge for SMEs to adopt, especially when the benefits are usually seen in the long run rather than short-term. This is especially apparent in emerging economies like Myanmar, where despite the high potential for enterprise ICT/IoT adoption, the high cost of digital products still poses a challenge to the local companies, prompting them to either seek foreign investments, collaborate, or find localised products that are more affordable - prompting local system integrators and distributors to be active in helping to grow the local markets.

This also prompts another important issue of having a strategic planning when it comes to digitisation and using IoT, in order to cut upfront costs while still benefiting from the new technologies.

3. Sustainable investments & developments

As the IoT buzz continues to ride the waves of publicity, especially from big names like Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and Google, enterprises should avoid jumping on the bandwagon without understanding the actual benefits and what IoT can bring to the table. A Bain & Company survey found that 59% of global companies believe they lack the capabilities to generate meaningful business insights from data, while another survey had 85% of respondents saying that they will require substantial investments to update their existing data platform - which can be costly and time-consuming.

Understanding the challenges that the businesses and enterprises face will be crucial for solution providers to offer not only products for the sake of having products, but also be able to offer their clients advice on strategies and plans of how to apply IoT successfully and strategically - depending on each company's needs and requirements.

Businesses in Southeast Asia comprise of many young, robust and innovative enterprises hoping to use technologies to differentiate, expand and produce with high efficiency and productivity. Addressing the pain points and challenges of technologies will allow solution providers and businesses to have better understandings of each other, and help the Southeast Asian IoT market reach new heights.

What is the top challenge that your company is facing with regards to technologies/IoT adoption? Let me know in the comments section.

If you are interested in learning more about Southeast Asia's enterprise IoT markets and connect with businesses across the region about your solutions, drop me a note at [email protected] Looking forward to speaking with you!

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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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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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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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What is Going on with Residential IoT

Cyber Security?

 

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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

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

 

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The government has been heard repeatedly to complain that they simply cannot do their job intelligence wise because of all these encrypted programs by US tech companies. They desire that encryption not be permitted with the reason being that they simply cannot keep you safe.

If you're looking for proof positive that encryption by our tech companies is not jeopardizing your safety and security, you don't have to go any further to find it than the 2016 testimony of our own Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.

Clapper lauded the many devices currently being used and made it abundantly clear that those devices, things such as cameras, thermostats, hot water heaters,televisions, even your toaster--the IoT that we're all so pleased and proud to be a part of--will be used to spy on you. 

These devices, connected to the internet and reporting back to companies around the globe, are proving to be a remarkably good way for intelligence communities to spy on their targets. Given the many collected phone and instant messenger conversations, are you willing to believe this is not a danger for you or someone you know? Moreover, it's a danger that most of those who buy the connected products simply don't think about.

Clapper stated that "In the future, intelligence services might use the [internet of things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.” Clapper was speaking to a Senate panel. (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/09/internet-of-things-smart-home-devices-government-surveillance-james-clapper)

He actually stated something markedly similar to a study done at Harvard last year, which study concluded that " the FBI’s recent claim that they are “going dark” – losing the ability to spy on suspects because of encryption – is largely overblown, mainly because federal agencies have so many more avenues for spying. This echoes comments by many surveillance experts, who have made clear that, rather than “going dark”, we are actually in the “golden age of surveillance”.

According to the Guardian, "Privacy advocates have known about the potential for government to exploit the internet of things for years. Law enforcement agencies have taken notice too, increasingly serving court orders on companies for data they keep that citizens might not even know they are transmitting."

Google has been asked to present footage from their Dropcam, while Fitbit data has been used in court multiple times against defendents. More recently Amazon has been asked to present data to the authorities in a murder trial but so far they have refused.

Your best option is that you ensure you know the stance of each company from which you buy IoT devices and whether or not they are a guardian of your privacy and rights ,or whether they will be happy to provide any information requested any time they are asked.

The potential for violation of your privacy is quite large but have you ever considered that you may be wrongfully accused or convicted of a crime, based on something that your television or toaster may have overheard?

Is there an up side to all of this? Police say yes, there is. That same data that can be used to accuse you may also be used to exonerate you OR possibly to find a killer or the perpetrator of a crime. Read more about that here. . .

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6 IOT Companies to Watch in 2017

Who are Some of the Most Powerful IoT Companies Going into 2017?

IoT is no small thing any longer. With smart phones, smart tablets, smart refrigerators, smart buildings and smart cities, it’s a given that there is a lot of money to be made in the IoT industry. With IoT growing by leaps and bounds and predictions being that it will grow to a trillion and a half dollars by 2020, everyone wants a piece of that pie. 

The IoT companies that have the most to offer and are taking away most of the consumers at this point in time—the heavy hitters in IoT are the companies that should all be watching. The question is—who are they? 

The top IoT movers and shakers for 2017 –based on those who did the most with IoT in 2016 appear to be these: ( listed in alphabetical order, not necessarily by order of importance)

Amazon. With tools like Echo and Amazon AWS and Kinesis, Amazon scores big on the IoT scene by offering increasingly powerful services and tools for users.

AT&T with their broadband network is slated to be a key enabler of the IoT forces. The M2X will also play an important role in that along with Data Flow, the development portal for IoT.

Bosch—the German wizards of home appliances also make enterprise software. They say that their range of appliances and products will now be connected to IoT to make monitoring and maintenance easier. This will make them one of the key companies in IoT.

Cisco, which company terms the IoT the Internet of Everything is slated to be one of the main companies that will be enablers of Iot in every form. Cisco is creating a whole new niche for themselves by their provision of switching, routing, wireless access points and network hardware for connecting and communicating with IoT devices.

Google—Always in the lead in nearly anything they undertake, Google has made it a point to take hold of the IoT reins and put themselves at least in the top ten companies by the purchase of smart thermostat maker NEST, that could expand to bring in all manner of smart home systems. 

IBM—The Watson smart products will be what lands IBM as a mover and shaker in the IOT space if they have anything to say about it. A combination of cloud development and production arenas for apps, IBM has a little of everything to offer the cloud development community.

Joined by Hitachi, Huawei, Intel, Oracle and yes, even Microsoft, these are the companies to watch—and to beat if you’re looking at it as a competition. The question is not whether they will give us great products and services—we already know the answer to that one. The bigger question is, with the race to market we’ve been seeing from a lot of these companies, in their haste, can we depend on them to secure the IoT space as well?

For More IOT Information Check out our new website ; InternetofThingsRecruiting

To schedule a call about your next IOT search click here

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IoT Future – 34 Billion new Devices in 4 Years?

Many industry experts and consumers are pointing the Internet of Things (IoT) as an upcoming Industrial Revolution or an upcoming Internet.

Why this? Simple, because IoT will consist of the future form of interaction of businesses, governments and consumers with the physical world.

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.

BI - IoT - Evolution Graph - IoT FutureSource: BI Intelligence

The business sector will be responsible for the biggest use part of this devices, since the IoT can reduce the Operational Costs, Increase the Production, expand the business for new market niches.

Government will take the second biggest part of the devices connected, in smart cities, fasting up the public process, increasing the quality life of the citizens.

At last but not less important, the home user, will have a lot of IoT Devices, Smart Houses, Wearable Devices.

So the future we can really specify in some words: "The future is Data".

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The recent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) IoT attack against DNS is a wake up call to how fragile the Internet can be.

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. While staying secure is a never-ending journey, here’s a list of twelve actions you can take to get started:

  1. Change the default usernames and passwords on your IoT devices and edge gateways to something strong.
  2. Device telemetry connections must be outbound-only. Never listen for incoming commands or you’ll get hacked.
  3. Devices should support secure boot with cryptographically signed code by the manufacturer to ensure firmware is unaltered.
  4. Devices must have enough compute power and RAM to create a transport layer security (TLS) tunnel to secure data in transit.
  5. Use devices and edge gateways that include a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip to securely store keys, connection strings and passwords in hardware.
  6. IoT platforms must maintain a list of authorized devices, edge gateways, associated keys and expiration dates/times to authenticate each device.
  7. The telemetry ingestion component of IoT platforms must limit IP address ranges to just those used by managed devices and edge gateways.
  8. Since embedded IoT devices and edge gateways are only secure at a single point in time, IoT platforms must be able to remotely update their firmware to keep them secure.
  9. When telemetry arrives in an IoT platform, the queue, bus or storage where data comes to rest must be encrypted.
  10. Devices and edge gateways managed by an IoT platform must update/rotate their security access tokens prior to expiration.
  11. Field gateways in the fog layer must authenticate connected IoT devices, encrypt their data at rest and then authenticate with upstream IoT platforms.
  12. IoT platforms must authenticate each device sending telemetry and blacklist compromised devices to prevent attacks.

Keeping the various components that make up the IoT value chain secure requires constant vigilance. In addition to doing your part, it’s important to hold the vendors of the IoT devices, gateways and platforms accountable for delivering technology that’s secure today and in the future.

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Police are Seeking Amazon Echo Data for Use in Murder Trial

Amazon Echo and other virtual devices are now part of the legal landscape. As of last week, police are seeking access to Amazon Echo information to see if the Amazon data has something that will help them with a murder case.

According to The Information the police and the attorneys involved in the case from Bentonville Arkansas have issued a warrant to Amazon asking them to hiand over any and all audio or records from Echo that belong to James Andrew Bates. Bates will go to trial for the murder of Victor Collins in 2017.

While Amazon has declined to give any of the recorded information from the Echo that it has on its servers, the company did give the account details and the account purchases from the account to the police. The police state that they could pull some data from the speaker but what they could get was unclear.

The Echo device is always on and can be awoken so police want information that may be stored on the device of an audio nature. According to Gabe Guttierez the police want to see what the device recordings may tell them. “We know Amazon has a copy because consumers can actually listen to all their Alexa requests and they can delete them, so that's an option that's available in a lot of these technologies--something that's good for consumers to know," stated privacy expert Bob Sullivan.

According to WHO TV the prosecutors say 32-year-old James Bates murdered his co-worker Victor Collins, who was found strangled in Bates' hot tub.”

Bates, who called 9-1-1 when he found Collins, has pleaded not guilty to the crime and of course isn’t thrilled with the Amazon data being called into play. He had multiple other smart devices attached to his home at the time, including a water meter. The water meter showed that more than 140 gallons of water were used between 1 and 3 am when Collins was murdered.

Investigators state that he used that water to clean up a crime scene. The Echo and other devices like it are supposed to find answers for you by listening to what you tell it to do, but the police in Bentonville believe that it can help with the case by telling them what it heard.

"Did anybody think when this was being created that information you gave to Alexis or you gave to the amazon echo would be used outside your home, and then be used to have you arrested for a crime you didn't commit?" asked Bates' defense attorney Kim Weber.

Amazon told WHO TV.com -- NBC News that it "will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course."

"When we give companies data, the big problem is not only how will it be used today, but how could it be combined with other data in the future and then used against us," remarked privacy expert Sullivan.

How it all plays out remains to be seen but based on the Echo and the hot water meter, it appears that your smart devices may be the best witnesses against you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all and here is looking forward to a prosperous 2017 - From all of us at IOT Recruiting

IOT, Internet of Things, Home Automation, Amazon Echo

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What’s inside the Internet of Things?

The Internet evolution has achieved the level when it is simply here for us at all times. We don’t even think of how we connect to a network, nor analyze the connection technical details, as well as we don’t care about who our communications service provider is. All-round Wi-Fi penetration and gradual IPv6 extension enable thousands of simple devices and trackers to interoperate continuously and send data “to the cloud”. Fast infrastructure advancement resulted in substituting the older Machine-to-Machine (M2M) term for more up-to-date Internet of Things (IoT) one.

Building up sort of distributed intelligence, IoT devices yet need centralized management, a system or service able to fine-tune the devices, provide storage and interpret collected data. Being the “brain” of the device cloud infrastructure, the management system also enlarges machine knowledge bases and updates device software.

Operators study data aggregated by groups or time periods and visualize it. This data is then delivered to various Business Intelligence Systems for more detailed analysis. Curiously enough, even if we speak about personal devices (e.g. fitness trackers), almost every cloud service operator analyses the collected data usage statistics anonymously for further device/service development.

Development of IoT devices becomes simpler and cheaper enabling small companies to enter the market. Plenty of businesses realize the need of building a management system, but they underestimate its development complexity and ignore the need of using industrial server technologies (such as failover clustering and multi-server distributed architecture). Typically, such a development starts in house. IoT devices successfully introduced in the market lead to rapid growth of users, causing long-term problems with service scaling and performance.

Anticipating further problems and being unable to form a server-based software development team quickly, IoT operators usually outsource the central system development focusing on devices only. Yet, it doesn’t solve the problem as third-party developers start building the system from scratch with lack of time and resources to apply serious technologies.

AggreGate Platform was born in 2002. At that time we were producing serial-over-IP converters and needed a central server that would transmit data between converters hidden by firewalls or NAT and having no chance to communicate directly. The first product version called LinkServer was written in C++ and was available only as a service simply transmitting data flows without any processing.

Short while later our converters developed into freely programmable controllers. They “understood” data flowing through them, thus we wanted the central server to do the same thing. At about the same time we realized that 90% of time spent for developing a monitoring and device management system was reinventing the wheel with very little effort put into solving certain business problems.

Since 2004 the system ported on Java has evolved as a framework for device management. For quite a few years we worked without clear understanding of the result we want to achieve. Fortunately, we have avoided work with a single customer or in a single industry by keeping our system flexible.

Now AggreGate Platform is applied to a great variety of industries, including Remote Monitoring and Service, IT Infrastructure and Network Monitoring, SCADA/HMI and Process Automation, Access Control, Building Automation, Fleet Management, Vending Machine and Self-service Kiosk Management, Sensor Network Monitoring, People and Vehicle Counting, Centralized Event and Incident Management, Digital Signage and Mobile Device Management.

 

Major Platform Tasks

Figuratively speaking, AggreGate is a LEGO constructor for prompt device cloud interface development. Allowing IoT solution architects to focus mainly on hardware and business logic, it solves the following infrastructure tasks:

  • Maintaining communication between servers and devices connected via unreliable cellular and satellite links
  • Unified approach to device data regardless of its physical meaning
  • Storing large volumes of collected events and historical data in various databases (relational, round-robin, NoSQL)
  • Visual building of complex source data analysis and event correlation chains
  • Modeling multiple device data integration and all infrastructure KPIs calculation processes
  • Fast operator and system engineer interface building using out-of-the-box “bricks” without any coding
  • Implementing integration scenarios via ready-to-use universal connectors (SQL, HTTP/HTTPS, SOAP, CORBA, SNMP, etc.)

 

System Unification

Being universal, AggreGate Platform unites various monitoring and management systems. It helps avoid extra integration points and decreases the number of integration scenarios. For example, the integrated monitoring system has a single integration point with Service Desk/ITSM/Maintenance Management systems for incident (alert) delivery. It also integrates with Inventory/Asset Management systems for collecting information on available physical assets and their influence on business services.

In such cases, role-based access control provides various departments with customized system scenarios and unique operator interfaces.

Platform Architecture

The Platform includes the following essential components:

  • Server is a Java-based application providing communication with devices, data storage and its automated processing. Servers can group into clusters for high availability and keep peer-to-peer relations in distributed installations. AggreGate Server manages an embedded web server which in its turn supports web interfaces.
  • Unified Console is a crossplatform desktop client software ensuring simultaneous work with one or several servers in administrator, system engineer or operator mode.
  • Agent is a library that can be integrated into an IoT device firmware to ensure communication with servers, device setup unification, performing operations with a device and asynchronous event sending. There are a lot of libraries (Java, .NET, C/C++, Android Java, etc.). No need to deploy an agent if communications with the server are performed using standard or proprietary protocols. In the latter case a separate device driver is developed for the server. The agent can be also implemented as a separate hardware device (gateway).
  • Open-source API for extending functionality of all other components and implementing complex integration scenarios.

The Server supervises device data reading and writing changes. This process is called bidirectional synchronization. The server creates a device snapshot containing last values of device metrics and changes carried out by operators or system modules and not written to a device due to communication downtime. Configuration changes are delivered to devices on the “best effort” basis enabling to configure device groups, even if some devices are offline.

The Server also provides receiving and processing incoming device connections that have no white static IP addresses.

Device data and events merge into a unified data model. Within this model, each device is represented as a so-called context in a hierarchical context structure. Each context includes a set of formalized data elements of three types: variables (properties, settings, attributes), functions (methods, operations), and events (notifications). A context also contains metadata describing all available elements. Therefore, all context data and metadata are entirely stored in the current context. This technology is called device normalization. Device drivers and agents create a normalized presentation of various device types.

There are some parallels with object-oriented programming, where objects typically have properties, events and methods. Properties are internal device variables, methods are operations performed by a device, and events describe how a device notifies the server of internal data or environment changes.

Virtually any device can be described as a set of properties, methods and events. For example, a remotely controlled water tank can have a “water level” property to show the current amount of water in the tank and “turn valve on/off” methods to control the valve letting the water into/out of the tank. This smart water tank may also generate a number of notifications, such as “nearly empty”, “nearly full” and “overflow”. We have developed more than 100 Java-based drivers, and the normalization concept has also proved to be an advantage. Moreover, a lot of current “universal” protocols (such as OPC UA, JMX or WMI) use similar data models.

All Server contexts are a part of a hierarchical structure called context tree. Though the contexts match diverse objects (devices, users, reports, alerts, etc.), they have a unified interface and can interoperate within the server context tree, offering a high level of flexibility. The same principle enables various servers to interact in a distributed installation.


Every connected device allows operators to perform direct configuration (device configuration reading and modification), direct management (forcing device operation performance manually), and direct monitoring (viewing the device event log in near-real-time mode).

Events and changes of device metric values are stored in the server storage. Depending on the system task, the storage type can vary. For example, if it’s the Raspberry Pi microserver, the simplest file storage is used, while the central server of a distributed installation can use NoSQL-based Apache Cassandra cluster storing dozens of thousands events per second out of original stream with hundreds of thousands events per second.

However, in most cases a regular relational database is used as storage. Using ORM layer (Hibernate) provides compatibility with MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and other DBMS.

Device data and events affect the life cycle of active server objects allowing the server to react to environmental condition changes. These active objects include:

  • Alerts converting a particular seamless object state or event chain to a new event type called incident
  • Models converting source events and values into user-defined events and value types by using business rules
  • Scheduler assuring task performance on schedule even when the server is shut off
  • Sensors and several other object types


Active objects are able to add new types of variables, functions and events in the unified data model, send custom variables and event changes to storage, and invoke device and other object operations in automated mode.

You can use widgets for building data entry forms, tables, dynamic maps, charts and HMIs. They can be combined in dashboards, both global (based on aggregated KPIs and showing the whole infrastructure state) and object-oriented (displaying a single device or infrastructure component state).


Widgets and report templates are built in specialized visual editors seamlessly integrated in the Aggregate Platform ecosystem. The GUI Builder helps design complex interfaces consisting of multiple nested containers with visual components. In addition to absolute layout typical for editors, you can use grid layout familiar to those who came across table editing in HTML page. The grid layout makes it possible to build scalable multi-size data entry forms and tables.

As a result, first-line or second-line operator interfaces developed by using data visualization tools include dashboards with widgets, forms, tables, diagrams, reports, HMIs, and navigation between them.

The GUI Builder supports dozens of out-of-the-box components, such as captions, text fields, buttons, checkboxes, sliders as well as spinners, lists, date/time selectors, scales, and pointers. Among more complex components are trees, video windows, dynamic vector SVG images, geographical maps based on Google Maps/Bing/Yandex/OpenStreetMap. The list of supported diagrams includes classic charts, statistics charts, Gantt charts, and polar charts.

All widgets designed in the GUI Builder operate via web interface, including non-Java browsers, i.e. on mobile devices. You only need HTML5 and JavaScript support.

Properties related to server objects (devices, models, alerts) and UI components are linked together using bindings. Such bindings define when and where data should be taken, how to process it and where to place the results. While processing data, the bindings use expression and query languages.

A binding using an expression resembles Microsoft Excel formula. Such a formula takes data from several cells, applies mathematical operations or data processing functions to it, and places the result into the current cell. An expression is also a formula describing where data should be taken from and what sort of changes to apply to it.

The query language is very similar to regular SQL. It also aggregates data from various tables into one by using filtering, sorting, grouping, etc. The difference between the classic SQL and the embedded query language is that the latter uses virtual tables built on-the-fly from diverse unified model data as a source. Every query checks operator/system object access permissions automatically. With this in mind, the query language has an obvious advantage over direct SQL queries to the server database.

To solve more challenging data processing tasks, you can easily write a script in Java or even a dedicated plugin. However, every script written for data processing by any of our partners is a warning for us: why does one need A platform if classic development out of familiar environment (such as Eclipse or Idea) is still required?

And finally, a few words about the distributed architecture technology. Our concept implies customization of peering relationships between servers so that a server (provider) links a part of its unified data model to the other server (consumer). This allows the consumer server objects to equally interact with the provider server objects. A single server can have unlimited links, moreover, such a server can be both a provider and a consumer towards neighboring servers.

 Distributed architecture ensures solving various large-scale system tasks:

  • Horizontal system scaling.
  • Distributed monitoring with local monitoring server installations and intermediate data storage at remote sites.

Vertical scaling, dividing functions between servers into several logic levels.

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