The Internet of Things (IoT) wasted no time spreading across the world and connecting a huge number of individuals. Apart from, we have seen almost every major industry put lots of resources into IoT, and foremost industries are rapidly moving to implement IoT solutions that drive the primary concern. Despite the huge gains in connectivity, the truth is, 2018 will be more of a steady growth period for the IoT. Using IoT, successful organizations will create a self-learning environment.
These five innovations will be the top IoT trends in 2018 and could be an essence of the world yet to come.
IoT future shaped by wearables
While 1 out of every 3 smartphone users trusts they will have at least 5 wearables by 2020. So, high demand towards wearable devices such as smartwatch, health & fitness band etc. In this manner, a setback in wearable adoption may delay the overall adoption of the IoT among consumers.
Roll out voice-based services to consumers
Google Assistant, Google Virtual Assistant that lives on devices like smart speakers and gaining enormous fame. An ever-increasing number of devices will open marketers’ eyes to better approaches for interacting with customers. Industries like financial and some other businesses that request authentication for much else, besides a simple task, will slack. The complexity, broadness and quality of voice-based services will grow in 2018 with accessible services.
Security is still the weak link in the internet of things, so security remains a prime challenge for IoT. Blockchain will play a vital role in improving security for financial transactions in 2018. Watson IoT Blockchain enables devices to participate in Blockchain transactions as a trusted party. IoT and Blockchain empower more transactions overall because they eliminate centralization.
Big Data, Machine learning and AI
The amount of processed data will grow, and due to more number of smart devices, we will use IoT much more than we do now. So, we should work with Big Data in order to consider assets that would empower us to process and analyse problems accurately. Here, Machine Learning is the most demonstrated AI innovation that can process data based on predictive analytics, without the need of manual programming and activate real-time tasks in the IoT channel.
Connected devices will double
In 2018, Internet of Things will have considerably more interconnected devices, like a digital nervous system with interfacing devices together and be exchanging data. It is not only laptops and mobile phones also there will be more smart devices that we use daily, like smart doors, smart jar, smart locks, smart fork and more. The number of connected devices grew exponentially from 4.9 million in 2015 to 6.1 billion in 2016. It is expected to 46 billion by 2021.
From smart devices and home automation systems to smart cars and smart buildings, the Internet of Things brings important innovations in our life. In the next years, IoT solutions will continue to take the center stage in the tech environment.
With huge investment in this technology, the global IoT spending is expected to reach $1.29 trillion by 2020 and $1.4 trillion by 2021 (IDC report).
For now, manufacturing industry is still the main investor in the Internet of Things. According to recent surveys, 66% of manufacturers say that the use of IoT solutions is essential for staying competitive and resolving various issues.
Capgemini research reported that smart factories are going to add $500 billion to $1.5 trillion in value added to the global economy in 5 years. By now, 56% of manufacturing companies have already invested $100M in smart factory initiatives.
Today the creation of smart factories with the Internet of Things is gaining momentum and so far, only 6% of manufacturers can be designated to “Digital Masters”, an advanced stage in digitizing various production operations with a strong foundation of smart management, process automation, and employee skills.
Analysts expect smart factories to revolutionize the industry by providing a 7X increase in overall productivity by 2022. Among the most interesting findings, Capgemini reports smart factories will be able to speed up on-time delivery of finished products by 13 times, with the enhancement of quality indicators at more than 12 times the rate of improvement since 1990.
Also, Capital Expense & inventory costs will be rationalized 12 times and material, logistics and transportation costs are predicted to be optimized at 11 times the rate of improvement since 1990.
On the graphic below you can see a comparison of manufacturer’s annual gains since 1990 versus expected annual gains referred to smart factory technologies in the next 5 years.
Besides the Internet of Things, contributing technologies to smart factories also involve Big Data Analytics, machine learning, advanced robotics, and 3D printing, while cloud computing platforms unify all of these technologies together, leading to more rapid smart factory adaptation and bringing revolution in the industry.
IoT use cases in manufacturing
With smart connections of multiple devices, equipment, and production processes, manufacturers get such benefits as minimized human intervention, remote machinery maintenance, employee safety, production automation, and reduced operational costs.
The main IoT applications include:
- Production flow monitoring - leads to flow optimization, minimize waste, and reduced labor and operational costs.
- Remote equipment monitoring & management - Results in saved energy and reduced costs. Predictive analytics allows repairs and replacements to be automatically ordered even before something breaks.
- Condition-based maintenance notifications - enables to successfully maintain machinery health and increase throughput.
Supply chain management -with the help of vehicle and asset tracking, you improve the efficiency of manufacturing and supply chain operations.
There is a plenty of other successful IoT use cases in manufacturing: equipment predictive maintenance, vehicle and asset tracking, temperature/energy conservation/air quality control, facility management, smart ventilation, production flow monitoring, and smart radiation monitoring and measurement.
By integrating a smart factory initiative, you can connect all production stages, accelerate production, enhance various management processes, ensure working safety, reduce operational costs, and improve the entire company performance.
Cloud computing allows companies to store and manage data over cloud platforms, providing scalability in the delivery of applications and software as a service. Cloud computing also allows data transfer and storage through the internet or with a direct link that enables uninterrupted data transfer between devices, applications, and cloud.
Role of Cloud Computing in IoT:
We know that the Internet of Things (sensors, machines, and devices) generate a huge amount of data per second. Cloud computing helps in the storage and analysis of this data so that enterprise can get the maximum benefit of an IoT infrastructure. IoT solution should connect and allow communication between things, people, and process, and cloud computing plays a very important role in this collaboration to create a high visibility.
IoT is just not restricted to functions of systems connectivity, data gathering, storage, and analytics alone. It helps in modernizing the operations by connecting the legacy and smart devices, machines to the internet, and reducing the barriers between IT and OT teams with a unified view of the systems and data. With cloud computing, organizations do not have to deploy extensive hardware, configure and manage networks & infrastructure in IoT deployments. Cloud computing also enables enterprises to scale up the infrastructure, depending on their needs, without setting up an additional hardware and infrastructure. This not only helps speed up the development process, but can also cut down on development costs. Enterprises won’t have to spend money to purchase and provision servers and other infrastructure since they only pay for the consumed resources.
How Cloud Services Benefit an IoT Ecosystem:
There are several cloud services and platforms that play different roles in the IoT ecosystem. Some of the platforms also come with inbuilt capabilities like machine learning, business intelligence tools, and SQL query engines to perform complex analytics. Let us understand how these cloud services and platforms benefit an IoT ecosystem.
Cloud Platform for Device Lifecycle Management:
Enterprises create applications and software through cloud services (SaaS), which can connect devices and enable device registration, on-boarding, remote device updates, and remote device diagnosis in minimal time with a reduction in the operational and support costs. Cloud introduces DevOps within the IoT ecosystem, which helps organizations automate many processes remotely. As more and more devices get connected, the challenges with data security, control, and management become critical. Cloud services enable IoT remote device lifecycle management that plays a key role in enabling a 360-degree data view of the device infrastructure. Certain cloud providers offer multiple IoT device lifecycle tools that can ease the update and setup of firmware and software over the air (FOTA).
Application Enablement Cloud Platform:
Cloud enables application development with portability and interoperability, across the network of different cloud setups. In other words, these are the intercloud benefits that businesses can take advantage of. Intercloud solutions possess SDKs (Software development Kits) on which enterprises can create their application and software without worrying about the backend processes.
Enterprises can run and update applications remotely, for example, Cisco is providing the application enablement platform for application hosting, update, and deployment through the cloud. Enterprises can move their applications between cloud and fog nodes to host the applications and analyze & monitor the data near the critical systems.
Many cloud service providers are focusing on building the cloud environment on the basis of OCF standards so that it can interoperate smoothly with the majority of applications, appliances, and platforms, that will allow D-to-D (device-to-device) M-to-M (machine-to-machine) communication. Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) standardization makes sure that the devices can securely connect and communicate in any cloud environment, which brings in the interoperability to the connected world.
Device shadowing or digital twins is another benefit that an enterprise can avail through cloud services. Developers can create a backup of the running applications and devices in the cloud to make the whole IoT system highly available for faults and failure events. Moreover, they can access these applications and device statistics when the system is offline. Organizations can also easily set up the virtual servers, launch a database, and create applications and software to help run their IoT solution.
Types of Cloud Computing Models for IoT Solutions
There are three types of cloud computing models for different types of connected environment that are being commonly offered by cloud service providers. Let’s have a look:
- It offers virtual servers and storage to the enterprises. Basically, it enables the access to the networking components like computers, data storage, network connections, load balancers, and bandwidth.
- Increasing critical data within the organization lead to the security vulnerabilities and IaaS can help in distributing the critical data at different locations virtually (or can be physical) for improving the security.
- It allows companies to create software and applications from the tools and libraries provided by the cloud service providers.
- It removes the basic needs of managing hardware and operating systems and allows enterprises to focus more on the deployment and management of the software or applications.
- It reduces the worry of maintaining the operating system, capacity planning, and any other heavy loads required for running an application.
- It provides a complete software or application that is run and maintained only by the cloud service provider.
- Users just have to worry about the use of the product, they don’t have to bother about the underlying process of development and maintenance. Best examples of SaaS applications are social media platforms and email services.
Apart from these, cloud service providers are now offering IoT as a Service (IoTaaS) that has been reducing the hardware and software development efforts in IoT deployment.
Example of implementing cloud computing set-up in a connected-factory:
There are different sensors installed at various locations of an industrial plant, which are continuously gathering the data from machines and devices. This data is important to be analyzed in real time with proper analytics tools so that the faults and failures can be resolved in minimal time, which is the core purpose of an industrial IoT ecosystem. Cloud computing helps by storing all the data from thousands of sensors (IoT) and applying the needed rule engines and analytics algorithms to provide the expected outcomes of those data points.
Now, the query is which cloud computing model is good for industrial plants? The answer cannot be specific, as every cloud computing model has its own applications according to the computing requirement.
Leading Cloud Services for IoT Deployments
Many enterprises prefer to have their own cloud platform, within the premises, for security and faster data access, but this might not be a cost-effective way as there are many cloud service providers who are providing the cloud services on demands, and enterprises just have to pay for the services which they use.
At present, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure are the leading cloud service providers. Let’s see the type of cloud platforms and services AWS and Microsoft Azure provide for IoT implementations
AWS IoT Services
AWS has come up with specific IoT services such as AWS Greengrass, AWS lambda, AWS Kinesis, AWS IoT Core, and a few other cloud computing services, which can help in IoT developments.
AWS IoT Core is a managed cloud platform that allows devices to connect easily and securely with cloud and other devices. It can connect to billions of devices, store their data, and transmit messages to edge devices, securely.
AWS Greengrass is the best example of an edge analytics setup. It enables local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and ML inference capabilities for connected devices in a secure way. Greengrass ensures quick response of IoT devices during local events, which reduces the cost of transmitting IoT data to the cloud.
AWS Kinesis enables data streaming that can continuously capture the data in terabytes per hour.
AWS Lambda is a compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. It executes code only when required and scales automatically from a few requests per day to thousands per second.
AWS DynamoDB is a fast, reliable, and flexible NoSQL database service that allows enterprises to have millisecond latency in data processing, enabling quick response from applications. It can scale up automatically due to its throughput capacity, which makes it perfect for gaming, mobile, ad tech, IoT, and many other applications.
AWS Shield is a managed Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) protection service that safeguards applications running on AWS. It provides automatic inline mitigation and always-on detection that minimize the application downtime and latency. This is why there is no need to engage AWS Support to benefit from DDoS protection. There are two tiers of AWS Shield — Standard and Advanced.
Microsoft Azure IoT Services:
Microsoft has come up with many initiatives in the field of IoT, providing industrial automation solutions, predictive maintenance, and remote device monitoring, etc. It is also providing services like Azure service bus, IoT hub, blob storage, stream analytics, and many more.
Azure Stream Analytics provides real-time analytics on the data generated from the IoT devices with the help of the Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Suite. Azure stream analytics is a part of the Azure IoT Edge that allows developers to analyze the data in real-time and closer to devices, to unleash the full value of the device generated data.
Azure IoT Hub establishes bidirectional communication between billions of IoT devices and cloud. It analyzes the device-to-cloud data to understand the state of the device and takes actions accordingly. In cloud-to-device messages, it reliably sends commands and notifications to connected devices and tracks message delivery with acknowledgment receipts. It authenticates devices with individual identities and credentials that help in maintaining the integrity of the system.
Azure Service Bus is a great example of cloud messaging as a service (MaaS). It enables on-premises communication between devices and cloud in the offline conditions also. It establishes a reliable and secure connection to the cloud, and ability to see and monitor activities. Apart from this, it protects applications from temporary spikes of traffic and distributes messages to multiple independent back-end-systems.
Azure Security Centre is a unified security management and threat protection service. It monitors security across on-premises and cloud workload, blocks malicious activities, advanced analytics system to detect threats and attacks, and also can fix vulnerabilities before any damages.
AWS and Microsoft Azure are providing a robust IoT solution to enterprises. An IoT Gateway can collaborate with multiple cloud service providers to maximize the advantages of the cloud solutions for IoT systems.
In spite the Internet of Things term was coined by Kevin Ashton executive director of the Auto-ID Center as the title of a presentation he made at Procter & Gamble (P&G) in 1999, it was only when companies like Pachube (an early leader in the burgeoning “Internet of things” field) launched a web service that enabled to store, share & discover real time sensor, energy and environment data from objects & devices around the world, when most of us believed that the time to IoT was finally had arrived.
Since its founding in 2008, Pachube pretended to be the leading open development platform for the Internet of Things. In 2011 when the company was acquired by Woburn, Massachusetts-based LogMeIn in a deal that was worth "approximately $15 million in cash that re-branded the service as Cosm, but it was still a “beta” test version, to finally launch Xively that become a division of LogMeIn. LogMeIn did not want or did not know how to incorporate the potential of Xively into its business. And in 2017 again Xively lost its charm.
Google the White Knight of Xively
On February 15, we wake up with the new that Google will acquire IoT platform Xively from LogMeIn for $50 million, according to Bloomberg, to expand in market for connected devices. Google has been the White Knight of Xively.
Another White Knights
In February 2016, Cisco Acquired Jasper Technologies for $1.4 Billion in cash. How wonderful White Knight.
In 2016, Microsoft did not disclose the sum for Italian start-up Solair acquisition. Th startup expanded Azure capabilities.
In March 2015, Amazon was taking another step into the Internet of Things acquiring 2lemetry, a startup with a system for sending, receiving, and analyzing data from Internet-connected devices. 2lemetry had raised at least $9 million. Investors included Salesforce Ventures.
We all know that the IoT Platform market need a quick consolidation
The M2M/IOT Platform market has changed in the last 10 years. The fragmentation is unsustainable and I can say that I do not see a clear IoT platform market leader yet that works as a plug-and-play fix for all kind of connected-device creators. Besides, the rush of investors for IoT platform companies trigger rumors of new acquisitions increasing significantly their actual valuation and encourages thousands of entrepreneurs and startups to create new IoT platform copies of each other. Although there is still room for new innovative IoT platform startups, the decision to trust in a company able to simplify the complexities of the IoT, with a scalable and robust infrastructure and drive real results for your business, will reduce the choice among a short list. The bad news is that the hundreds of IoT platforms startups must compete now with the platforms offered by Tech and Industrial Giant vendors.
Given the confusion that exists about the IoT platforms, companies need to approach experts’ advisors that will recommend which platform(s) is most suitable for your current and future business and technical requirements.
There will not be White Knights for everyone
In “Be careful of the Walking Dead of IoT, I alerted that in spite that no one has the crystal ball, it is almost sure that many IoT platforms are not going to continue within 10 years, not even within 1, 2 or 3 years in this inflated market. As show in the picture below, some Tech Giants have been looking and found some of the best pieces. What will happen to the 700+ platforms out there? There will not be White Knights for everyone. At least for Xively it has been a happy end.
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Thoughts ? Comments ?
The IoT is already shaping modern society in various ways. While many of these are positive aspects that result in streamlined communications, easier access to information and a greater quality of life, there are some major roadblocks in the push toward widespread IoT implementation.
One of the primary concerns revolves around the security of IoT-connected devices. A demonstration by Avast at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona recently uncovered a flaw in current-gen IoT infrastructure. Not only can they potentially gain control over tens of thousands of different devices, but they can also use the assembled processing power to mine $1,000 of cryptocurrency in a matter of days.
Identifying the Easiest Targets
Although Avast's demonstration didn't involve a full-scale replication, it underscores serious security flaws in the nature of current-gen IoT devices. If a widespread attack did occur, hackers would likely focus on the weakest targets.
Unsecured home networks are ideal for this sort of hack. As the average homeowner continues adding new smart-devices to the home, the hacker's job becomes even easier.
The task of hacking into thousands of unsecured home networks and taking over 15,000 or more devices might be insurmountable for a lone hacker, but a team of experts could readily pull it off and begin mining cryptocurrency without the owners' knowledge.
Some hackers might target small businesses or even larger corporations. As these networks easily contain the necessary number of IoT-connected devices, an individual could quickly gain control over thousands of different systems.
Mining, in this context, is a process of verifying transactions across a cryptocurrency-backed network. Cryptocurrency miners use various tools — including hardware and software utilities — to solve sophisticated mathematical algorithms and, as a result, generate digital monies that are tradable for real-world goods or cash.
Since coins are often used for nefarious or downright illegal activities, hackers try to use the accounts of unsuspecting victims whenever possible to maintain anonymity and cover their tracks.
Many popular coins, like Bitcoin, require advanced hardware that’s available in current-gen smart-devices. But other cryptocurrencies, like Monero, are made to harness the power of many individual machines simultaneously.
Similar Incidents in the News
A flaw like this isn't the first time that IoT-connected devices have been proven vulnerable to hacking. As reported by IBM X Force, a revised version of the Mirai botnet is programmed to take over a device and mine cryptocurrency via Linux.
Mirai is disheartening to security experts. It was the botnet responsible for a 2016 DDoS attack that caused massive service outages on sites like Netflix, Reddit, GitHub, Twitter and more.
According to a statement released by IBM X Force, the botnet gains entry into a system via the BusyBox program on Linux-based machines. Considering that Linux runs some of the largest and most popular websites, operating systems and software packages, the potential for exploitation is very serious.
Fortunately, you can take some steps to secure your network from outside threats — including the latest botnet hacks. Always make sure your devices are on a secure network and protected behind a strong password.
Update your hardware with the latest updates as soon as they're available from the manufacturer, and use software protection — like antivirus and anti-malware utilities — on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
To make the job even harder for would-be hackers, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi whenever possible. Never keep your personal devices on the same network as your primary desktop or laptop, as this makes it easier for cyber-criminals to jump from one system to another.
Finally, make sure to change the default login credentials on any new device you add to the network. Many come with generic information that is easily exploited.
How the MWC Is Protecting Our Networks
The Mobile World Congress — dubbed the "world's largest gathering for the mobile industry" — is organized by the GSM Association. Sometimes known as the Global System for Mobile Communications or simply "the GSMA," the organization began hosting events in 1987. It remains the largest conference in the mobile industry, and it continues to highlight new security flaws and solutions — including problems with IoT connectivity — to this day.
Stay up to date with the trends of these devices and activity surrounding them, and you’ll have a better shot at fighting back against hackers.
Technologists and analysts are on a path to discovery, obtaining answers on how technology and the data collected can make our cities more efficient and cost effective.
While IoT may be seen as another buzzword at the moment, companies like SAP, Cloud Sigma, Net Atlantic and Amazon Web Services are working to make sure that for businesses, IoT is a reality. It’s companies with this willingness to change, adopt and invent that will win the new economy. Mobile phones, online shopping, social networks, electronic communication, GPS and instrumented machinery all produce torrents of data as a by-product of their ordinary operations. Most companies want their platform to be the foundation of everything it does, whether it is with big data, data analytics, IoT or app development. The same rub off phenomenon was emulated in Latin American countries like Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and European countries like Brussels, Italy, Germany, Denmark , Poland and Prague in recent times.
It is important to realize that technology is exploding before our very eyes, generating unprecedented opportunities. With easy access to cheap cloud services, smarter people came up with these platforms, and it has fundamentally changed businesses and created new ways of working. Mobile cannot be an afterthought. It needs to be integrated in everything you do and positioned at the forefront of your strategy. You have no valid reason to avoid migrating to the cloud. Cloud provides a ubiquitous, on-demand, broad network with elastic resource pooling. It’s a self-configurable, cost-effective computing and measured service. On the application side, cloud computing helps in adopting new capabilities, meeting the costs to deploy, employing viable software, and maintaining and training people on enterprise software. If enterprises want to keep pace, they need to emulate the architectures, processes and practices of these exemplary cloud providers.
One of the main factors of contributing value additions is the concept of a Smart City which is described as one that uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies to enhance the quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. We will interact and get information from these smart systems using our smartphones, watches and other wearables, and crucially, the machines will also speak to each other.The idea is to embed the advances in technology and data collection which are making the Internet of Things (IoT) a reality into the infrastructures of the environments where we live. We will interact and get information from these smart systems using our smartphones, watches and other wearables, and crucially, the machines will also speak to each other. Technologists and analysts are on a path to discovery, obtaining answers on how technology and the data collected can make our cities more efficient and cost effective. The current model adopted for IoT is to attract businesses to develop software and hardware applications in this domain. The model also encourages businesses to put their creativity to use for the greater good, making cities safer, smarter and more sustainable.
A few years ago like many others I predicted that Business models will be shaped by analytics, data and the cloud. Moreover, the IoT is deeply tied in with data, analytics and cloud to enable them and to improve solutions. The key goal is to ensure there is value to both customers and businesses. You can effectively put this strategy into action and build a modern data ecosystem that will transform your data into actionable insights.
Till we meet next time...
Within the few months of its release, Internet of Things (IoT) has taken everyone by storm in numerous ways. As a result, more and more organizations, industries, and technologists catch the IoT bug. Right from Data streaming to data collection, events, decisions, processes, messaging, and integration, everything is involved in the form of developer’s activities. Now, do you think that IoT is just another opportunity for vendors to sell or update developer tools? Well, according to several resources nearly 40 billion which is approximately 30 devices for each and every active social network user in the world. In addition to this, trillions of sensors will comprise the IoT.
What is Internet of Things?
It is the network of physical objects, whether in terms of devices, vehicles, buildings or even humans, which are embedded with electronics, sensors, and software and network connectivity. And of course, these devices help us to send, transfer and collect important data anywhere and at any point in time. I strongly feel that the technology, in particular, has turned out to be a growing sensation that’s captured everyone in the technology world. And it is assumed that companies, as well as individuals, are investing $6 trillion in IoT devices within the next five years.
Bringing IoT to Developing Countries
Now you must be thinking that getting IoT technology to developing countries might be a major problem but in the actual scenario, there’s already a standard infrastructure in many countries. I am sure that you must be well aware regarding the fact that 95% of the world has basic 2G phone coverage, and while 29% of those in rural areas have 3G coverage, 89 percent who reside in urban areas are able to access 3G coverage with ease.
In addition to this, IoT is affordable with some saying that the IoT at its basic capability is already in place in developing countries, where citizens and government officials would bear little cost in tweaking it. Last but certainly not the least, IoT devices have a “plug-and-play” attribute to them, that doesn’t require proper setup from skilled laborer. This allows scalability within the devices. After all, technology grows only at the speed the city or the country wants to it.
What kind of Industries is gaining benefit from IoT?
With the increase in technology, more and more software development firms are establishing across the globe providing full-fledged IoT services among numerous industry verticals such as:
It seems like almost every year, there is an extreme health crisis in a developing nation. But what if that could be prevented? Wearable tech devices called “Sensor, technology, and analytics to monitor, predict and protect Ebola patients” are scaled and shipped to international aid offices worldwide. Such kind of devices collect all data regarding the patient, i.e. from body temperature to oxygen saturation. And once the data is complete, doctors can ship it to a central location, where people can track patient’s health over time.
In short, tracking a group of people or a city as a whole can help with disease containment as well as migrant population tracking. Over time these sensors can help predict where an outbreak is going to spread, allowing enough aid workers to get to the infected area before it's too late.
Do you know that billions of people in developing countries are going through their day-to-day lives drinking unsafe water? IoT cannot just help in monitoring both water quality, and water delivery but also alert municipalities when a water pump breaks, allowing for a quicker replacement time to ensure that an area's citizens are still getting enough, and quality water.
I am sure you must be well aware regarding the fact that there are many countries in the developing world that are still agriculturally based, where plenty of people still prefer working out in the fields. Here’s a good news for these people, around 75 million IoT devices will be agriculture-related by 2020.
Which means with the help of such devices, farmers can easily place them in soil to track acidity levels, as well as temperature, and crop growth so they can create a successful harvest.
Cities like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world are some of the densest cities in terms of population. IoT devices can help with the traffic flow, by regulating lights based on the number of vehicles on the road, sensors placed in homes can help warn residents of impending disasters like fast-moving fires, mudslides, or other disasters, helping to save lives, as well as personal property.
One of my LinkedIn contacts suggested me last year not to write more articles about MWC event. However, a couple of weeks ago talking with another contact that not attend this year told me he was expecting my article. So here it is, my fourth MWC article in a row since 2015. Am I a MWC addictYou can read previous articles here:
- 2015 - MWC 2015: Everything Connected, Tapas and Jamon
- 2016 - “GSMA need to think how to reinvent MWC”
- 2017- “MWC- The Great Illusionists Show!”
Unfortunately, the Powerful GSMA rejected my ticket request as Analyst / Press (LinkedIn please help me next year) and of course I did not pay the prohibitive prices of Silver Pass, Gold Pass and Platinum Pass. At the end, conference sessions content is very generic and I can read free the content. I cannot justify the ROI for pay these tickets. Can you?
Avoiding the politics issues between Catalonia and Spain, it was the first MWC where the snow was probably the biggest surprise of the show. The snow and the rain did not allowed visitors to spend some time outside.
A painI do not know the final numbers, but I notice this year less attendants than 2017. No doubt GSMA will try to find excuses eg, political issues, but the reality is that the cost of the show do not convince to many usual large / medium / small companies. It is a fact that some big companies did not attend or send less delegates and use less square meters
Again, visitors that attend 1 or 2 days do not have had time to move to other parallel events like 4YFN. Running from meeting to meeting, bad lunch as usual. I'm sure I've lost weight these days
The MWC18 has been an evolution of what we saw last 2 years. Not revolution. We need to wait another 5 years to see some notorious technological advances although GSMA should continue helping to create a better future
I was angry with the Search exhibitor page of the web . Please GSMA you have 1 year to improve. None exhibitor has included any product in the category of Blockchain or Internet of Things. Duplicates filters, etc. I read some LinkedIn post and articles and talked with people to plan my visit and capture their feeling this year.
- Dean Bubley posted a few days ago “7 reasons he will not go to MWC anymore”. For him, MWC is not productive, informative or fun.
- Matt Hatton, VP Research at Garner make Predictions for MWC this year: - Inappropriate use of blockchain - Inappropriate description of things as AI - Inappropriate use cases for 5G - Better focus on go-to-market for IoT - More apparent rigor applied to the whole POC process - Better specialization (rather than trying to sell "end-to-end IoT") So essentially my expectation is that vendors of all shapes and sizes are looking better on commercial than technological issues. In sharp contrast with previous years. Funny old world.
- Part I covered Analytics, AI, new radio and antennas, Part II NFV, cloud and open source news, plus the 5G delulge. and part III, The third part takes a close look at the network edge, looking at some major industry moves and at the MEC demos.
- Blockchain Makes an Appearance at Mobile World Congress 2018 - 5G will be less sizzle, more substance at MWC
- MWC is exploring Dubai or Paris as alternative to Barcelona. But, the big operators are committed to the defense of Barcelona as the headquarters of the Mobile: "It is the best place in the world".
- Ericsson launches marketplace to unlock the cellular IoT ecosystem
- IoT: Sensor-as-a-service, run by blockchain, is coming - Nokia is launching a blockchain-driven Internet of Things (IoT) sensor network for its telco equipment users to sell on.
- Que es y que no es Aura
During the #MWC18
- MWC Day 0 – Halcyon days.
- Four Highlights from MWC2018 by Nick Hum
- MWC18 Highlights Mobile World Live
- MWC 2018 – who are we trying to convince? – Share with me the idea that Mobile World Congress can feel like a geeky take on Groundhog Day.
- MWC 2018 – Reflections From An Airplane by Ingrid Wistrand, Deputy CEO of Tele2 IoT.
- Mercedes-Benz at the Mobile World Congress 2018: Focus on artificial intelligence
- Here the MWC18 Week in review
The euphoria of 5G has dropped – More info about 5G at MWC18 here “ Intel, Qualcomm Talk About Accelerating 5G Efforts at MWC 2018”
IoT - The word that describes my feeling is disappointment. Although expected, something sad because the word IoT begins to lose brightness and disappear from the stands. The Pavillion 8.0 dedicated to the IoT, was not star this year. Do you really deserve to be exhibitors at the MWC
At least it was good to pulse the evolution and transformation of the IoT / M2M market. A new impulse will be necessary before 2020
Unfortunately, I could not attend any of the Top 7 IoT Activities at Mobile World Congress. Please tell me if any of it was worth it.
It was funny to hear how Operators trying to explain the use cases of Blockchain in Telco sector.
Artificial Intelligence, Connected Vehicles and Robots the starts of MWC18. It was interesting discuss with some Operators about the practical potential of Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots in this sector. The conclusion in this article “ You Can't Teach an AI to Run a Telecom Network—Yet.
MWC18 was in my opinion the year of the Connected Intelligent Vehicle. Operators, Technology Vendors and Car Manufacturers need to cooperate to avoid a technology nightmare for future drivers/passengers.
I cannot resist to compare this congress with the Groundhog Day festivities. I make no secret of my discomfort for the continuous decisions of GSMA to make this show useless for many. My unpleasantness for the prohibitive cost of the tickets, hotels in the town, and the arrogant executives who attend the event as movie stars and finally for the many parallel events that I have missed or meetings of 15 minutes because I had spent hours daily walking by the walk sides of Fira Halls and my frustration for not finding some companies in the labyrinth of the pavilions
Like Bill Murray in the movie, I discover year after year that MWC's events repeating almost exactly. I feel I am trapped in a time loop that probably most of you are aware of
I am glad if you have spent these days indulging in night parties, looking for new jobs or cheering you for the work you have in your great company. Luckily for me, I do not return depressed, but my mind do not escape for some days to the MWC loop. Am I a MWC addict?
See you next year at MWC19 Barcelona
Thanks for your Comments and Likes
The Internet of Things (IoT) enables vendors to create an entirely new line of “smart” solutions for its existing and new markets. While the decision to go “smart” is straightforward, the decision of how to do so is not. Vendors are faced with a “build, buy, partner” decision – build it themselves, buy or license it from someone, or partner with a complementary solution provider and go to market together. This article discusses some of the key considerations product managers and executives must study in order to make the most appropriate decision.
“Build, buy, partner” is a strategic decision
For many vendors, IoT means adding a technology layer to products that never had any before. Even for tech savvy vendors, IoT presents a whole new set of technologies that they are less familiar with. Equally important, IoT is not just technology, but includes data, security, user experience, and business/business model elements. Figure One shows an IoT product management framework developed by Daniel Elizalde of TechProductManagement. A company going “smart” has a lot of decisions to make, of which technology is just one component.
Figure One. IoT Product Management Stack.
The framework shows that the “build, buy, partner” decision is multi-dimensional. There are six decision areas, spread across components from the edge to the user applications. Each represents a different “build, buy, partner” decision point, and each takes the company down a different path. In today’s fragmented and dynamic IoT ecosystem, many companies will need to “build, buy, partner” simultaneously. For example, cybersecurity is a specialized field that many vendors cannot address on their own, and must buy or license for their solution. The actual proportion of “build, buy, partner” each vendor does varies based on their specific situations.
The company creates the solution themselves with the resources they own, control or contract to. Companies who choose this option, but have limited internal expertise may contract with Original Design Manufacturers (ODM). These ODMs provide a portfolio of services, from design, prototyping, test, certification, to manufacturing.
The “Build” option enables full management oversight of the development process, the solution functionality and the intellectual property. Conversely, this option may result in a longer time to market, and require additional capital and resources beyond what is scoped.
Companies consider this approach when:
- They have the requisite skill sets and resources to do it
- They can do it faster, cheaper and at lower risk
- This is a strategic competence they own or want to own
- There is strategic knowledge or critical intellectual property to protect
- They are fully committed throughout the company
The company procures all or part of the solution components from a 3rd party. This includes licensing technology and services. Companies may also acquire technology through mergers and acquisitions, as well as buying the rights to technology from companies willing to part with it. This option eliminates “reinventing the wheel”, enables faster time to market, maximizes resource efficiency with limited execution risk. One common variant of this approach is to buy technology platform from a vendor, and then build their specific solution components on top of that.
The downsides of the “Buy” option include a loss of control in the development process, and limited agility to respond in a timely manner to changes in the market and customer needs.
Companies consider this approach when:
- They don’t have the skills or resources to build, maintain and support it
- There is some or all of a solution in the marketplace and no need to “reinvent the wheel”
- Someone can do it faster, better and cheaper than they can
- They want to focus their limited resources in other areas that make more sense
- Time is critical and they want to get to market faster
- There is a solution in the market place that gives you mostly what you want.
The company allies itself with a complementary solution or service provider to integrate and offer a joint solution. This option enables both companies to enter a market neither can alone, access to specialized knowledge neither has, and a faster time to market. This option adds additional management and solution integration complexity. For some companies, reliance on partners for some aspects of the solution may be uncomfortable due to a limited loss of control.
Companies consider this approach when:
- Neither party has the full offering to get to market on their own.
- Each party brings specialized knowledge or capabilities, including technology, market access, and credibility.
- It lowers the cost, time and risk to pursue new opportunities
Management considerations for “build, buy, partner”
Before the company chooses a path to go “smart”, executives and managers must base their decision along three “build, buy, partner” dimensions – execution, strategy, and transformation.
The first dimension focuses on the company’s ability to execute successfully. Managers must audit and assess their capabilities and resources to answer the following questions:
- Do I have the necessary skills in-house to successfully develop, test, support and operate an IoT enabled “smart” solution and business (Figure One)?
- Do I have the right human, capital, financial, and management resources to do this? Is this the best use of my resources relative to other initiatives and projects?
- What am I willing to commit, sacrifice and re-prioritize to see this through? Am I willing to redeploy top management and company resources? How long am I willing to do this?
- How much budget and resources am I willing to commit?
- Is there anyone that can do it better than me? Does it make sense for me to do it? What am I willing to do and not do?
- What infrastructure (processes, policies, systems) do I have, or need to build, maintain, support and operate these new solutions?
The second dimension relates to the company’s current and future strategic needs. These are company specific as it relates to its current situation, its customer and channel, and its position within the industry. Key considerations to be addressed include:
- How does going “smart” align with the company’s vision and strategy? Which parts align and which doesn’t? Does the vision and strategy need to be updated to reflect the realities of going “smart”?
- How important is time to market? Do I need or want to be a first mover? How long will it take to execute with the resources that I have?
- Am I trying to reach existing or new markets with IoT? Do I understand their needs well enough that I can execute on meeting it?
- Do I have any critical proprietary technology, processes, and other intellectual property that I need to protect?
- What are the risks? How much risk am I willing to tolerate? What are the costs of those risks? How much risk can I mitigate with my current capabilities?
- How much control do I want or need to go “smart”? What areas do I want to control myself and how? Can I afford to control those areas?
- What is your real value to customers and your channel? Why do they buy from you, and why do they come back? What do you do well?
The third dimension is the company’s ability to manage transformation. Going “smart” doesn’t stop with the IoT technology. The entire organization, its operations, policies, systems and business models must transform to support and operate the “smart” business. Furthermore, resellers and service channels, and suppliers and partners, are also impacted.
- What is your corporate culture and how well does it support change? Do you have the right people to manage and sustain this change? Are you nimble and agile?
- What degree of disruption will there be to internal processes, channels, organization readiness, and business models? How agile are your current capabilities?
- How prepared are you to operate a “smart” business? Do you have the skills and infrastructure required? Can you support a recurring revenue business model? How willing are you to invest in order to develop and sustain these capabilities?
What should you do next?
Each company is unique, and its situation will dictate its response to these dimensions. There is no one “right” universal answer to the “build, buy, partner” decision. Equally important, what’s right today, may not be right tomorrow. Companies that want to go “smart” start by looking inward first and doing the following:
- Establish a current baseline. Audit and catalog current and planned offerings, strategy, human resources and skill sets, channel and suppliers, internal operations and policies, and culture.
- Evaluate the IoT product management stack (Figure One) against your baseline using the three “smart” dimensions. The list of questions listed are starter questions, but answering those will lead to more questions to be addressed.
- Evaluate and assess your company’s future state capabilities against the baseline using the three “smart” dimensions. Understand where the gaps are, and the extent of those gaps.
- Identify your risk tolerance level. Going “smart” is not without risk, especially if you have never done it before. The key is to identify what and how much risk you are willing to take. Once you do so, you can develop a risk management plan and incorporate the appropriate tactics to manage it.
- Update your business vision and strategy as applicable.
- Develop your “build, buy, partner” decision and strategy. This strategy must align to the broader business vision and strategy.
Benson Chan is an innovation catalyst at Strategy of Things, helping companies transform the Internet of Things into the Innovation of Things through its innovation laboratory, research analyst, consulting and acceleration (execution) services. He has over 25 years of scaling innovative businesses and bringing innovations to market for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. Benson shares his deep experiences in strategy, business development, marketing, product management, engineering and operations management to help IoTCentral readers address strategic and practical IoT issues.
As the Internet of Things slides into Gartner’s Trough of Disillusionment, organizations all over the world are asking why they should continue their IoT journey.
Rob is here to remind you.
I recently attended one of a significant [email protected] Internet of Things event which featured keynotes, speeches and presentations from CTOs/SVPs-Tech/VPs of major IT firms. Attending these presentations sometimes give you a feeling of being in literature or a rhetoric club where instead of hearing context oriented speeches you get to listen to a bunch of fairy tales with almost every sentence including overused adjectives like “trust”, “motivation”, “responsibility” and so on. An SVP of a major IT player was asked about the measure (technical) her company takes to ensure data integrity and prevent cyber-attacks. Interestingly, her answer to this was the statement that “they maintain a culture of trust in and around the company”. To me, it is like standing in front of a hungry lion and telling him that you believe in non-violence. Today in the age of internet and IoT, we have to deal with thousands of cyber criminals (hungry lions) who are waiting to penetrate the system and make most out of it. To keep them out you need a lot more than just “trust”.
On the same event, I had an opportunity to talk to many cybersecurity experts and companies, and I confronted them with a question of mentioning at least one relevant cybersecurity norm/standard/certificate pertinent for each major component in an IoT stack. Unfortunately, most of these discussions turned into some sales pitch. The question one can raise at this point is that is it so challenging to mention at least one “state of the art” cybersecurity measure for every IoT component? Or just that the topic is underestimated?
This blog is just an attempt to name a relevant security standard/certificate or measure for every major element in IoT stack (see below) without going deep into the details of each and very standard/norm or certification.
For this sake, we will assume a simple IoT stack as illustrated below :
Fig.1: IoT stack of a simple use case
In this use case, an industry sensor collects the physical parameters (temperature, pressure, humidity etc.) and transmit the values via Bluetooth/Wifi/wired connection to the gateway or edge device. The gateway device, depending on the type (simple or edge) perform a certain minimal calculation on the received data and push it into the cloud via a Wifi/4G connection. The cloud collects the data and uses this data to feed desired micro-services like analytics, anomaly detection etc. Cloud also offers an interface to the existing enterprise and resource planning (ERP) system to synchronize the running process with the current one as well to provide product /service related information over the IoT platform to the end user. What the user sees on his screen is then the dashboard of IoT use case which is a graphical representation of the micro-services running in the background.
As we can see, there are four to five main stages and at least three interfaces (sensor-gateway, gateway-cloud, cloud-user) in a typical IoT use case. These stages and interfaces are on the target of cybercriminals who try to hack into the system with the intention of either manipulating or hi-jacking the system. Safeguarding just the components is not adequate. The underlying IoT communication layer (Bluetooth/Wifi/4G etc.) need to be secured as well. Also, organisations running or involved in such IoT use cases must ensure safety and integrity of the process, technical as well as user data through a certain information security management system (ISMS) in place.
To sum up, we need security measures at a component, communication-interface and organisational levels. Now if I have to write state of the art or “best in class” security measure (excluding cryptography) next to each stage, communication type and interfaces in the diagram above, then the resulting picture might look like the one below.
What, in your opinion, could be included/excluded or replaced in this diagram? Feel free to share your opinion.
With so many companies and people on the search for the "IoT killer app” for a decade, and nobody has found it yet ☹. You can be sure that I do not either, otherwise I would not be writing this article and I will be furiously developing it.
Most companies are anxiously looking for the killer IoT app/solution, which their IoT reps could sell in volume to their enterprise customers. The bad news for them: “ there’s no true “killer app” for IoT and that any company can create the right killer app to solves a business need of a customer or a whole industry.
Nevertheles we can not avoid that some people think pet care or fitness could be the "killer app" for IoT, while others instead think that the killer IoT app winners will be in Verticals like predictive maintenance in manufacturing, smart home or smart city solutions and also I had read funny opinions that considers measuring Temperature and Humidity seem the killer application for most of the IoT industry. The comment is comical but at the same time ironic. In the absence of bright or innovative ideas it seems that we would have discovered the fire when we install sensors and we are able to visualize temperature and humidity in real time on the screen of our smartphone.
Instead of continuing to dream of finding the Holy Grail of the IoT, I think it will be more productive to analyse by categories what are the possible IoT applications that exist and if I am enlightened try to guess which application would be the milk to launch myself to develop it without fearThese are the 5 categories to search for the IoT horizontal Killer app:
Search for the killer IoT horizontal application is a chimera given the definition of the IoT. However, the challenges that the IoT has to achieve that 50 billion machines can be found, communicate safely through various networks, socialize and favour the monetization of its services, open great opportunities for hardware and software engineers to develop different killer applications. And I'm sure some will find it. I wish I could be part of one of them.
Thanks for your Likes, Comments and Shares
“I talk to a dozen or more companies involved in IoT every week. One thing they all have in common is their desire for the projected IoT volumes and revenues to come to fruition...the sooner the better”.
Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy covering the Internet of Things, Forbes.
Internet of things has always been functioning in a context of business transformation.
If you’re in business, just read on, as we are to have several working IIoT solutions to consider right now.
To be successful today you need to:
- really love what you do;
- move with the times;
- make the IIoT technology a part of your business development plan;
- and find an Industrial IoT company for you to cooperate with.
Here I gathered 5 IIoT solutions implemented by global industry leaders and the key examples of their efficient cooperation with IoT developers:
#1 Predictive Maintenance for Wind Energy
The IIoT solution is projected to be implemented into the maintenance of wind energy. The smart wind turbines will be applied to reveal how employees can get additional insights by using ML about the equipment performance in different conditions. Thus, smart sensors are supposed to give the information in a real-life regime.
The system can give reliable statistics for the future planning and help to replace vital parts of the engines during the less windy periods:
#2 Health Detectors for Caterpillar Equipments
Recently, the American machinery and equipment giant, Caterpillar implemented a new IIoT solution to help its customers better understand the workability and health of the equipment. It should also be said that the company uses IoT solutions for tracking fuel efficiency, idle times, location, and many more. The new project lets clients directly address the company maintenance service and timely repair the sensitive spots by using the IoT platform.
The end-to-end platform for predictive diagnostics allows for better monitoring and timely replacement of the interchangeable parts. The Caterpillar CEO, Doug Oberhelman supposes the IIoT, which is primarily applied to the fleet and fuel monitoring, will take the clients offering to the next level.
#3 Airbus Smart Manufacturing
You know the biggest European aircraft manufacturer has already applied the IoT solutions to its products. Today Airbus is working at implementing the IIoT to the tools its workers use during the manufacturing process.
For this reason, Airbus opts to involve its employees and the factory floor. The workers will manage to use smart tablets or glasses to evaluate a task and then send the data to a robotic tool that will finish it.
Jean-Bernard Henz, the head of PLM R&T Innovation at Airbus ICT, says the IoT platform manufacturing will speed up the processes and improve the reliability of the production.
#4 Siemens -- a 75% automated plant
You know the Siemens AG plant is a part of a concerted effort by the German government to develop fully automated factories. Guess what? Siemens is claimed to be 75% automated with 1,150+ employees on board.
All the employees are mainly operating computers and monitoring the process of manufacturing by using the IIoT solutions. Sinalytics, which is a critical component of the IIoT Platform was implemented in 2015. Today Siemens continues developing the Web of System, which directly connects devices to the open Internet and with each other. Besides, Siemens launched a new company in 2016 that is named Innovations AG. The company is dedicated to the search and support of the emerging start-ups that can be a good technological investment for Siemens. This has influenced the factory efficiency, opened the new technological opportunities and reduced costs.
#5 ThyssenKrupp Elevates IIoT Implementation
The CGI global tech firm claims ‘that thing is an elevator’ for the company. Well, let’s see it. Having joined forces with Microsoft and CGI, the ThyssenKrupp Elevator company has now obtained a predictive maintenance for elevators manufacturing.
The IIoT solution securely connects tens of thousands of sensors and elevators systems across the plant. The technology allows for monitoring every stage of production starting from motor temperature and finishing with shaft alignment. The real-life IIoT gathered data lets the company identify vulnerabilities and repair them before an actual breakdown occurs:
What’s the bottom line?
IIoT solutions undoubtedly contribute to production efficiency. The predictive maintenance and pre-emptive repair, manufacturing automation and further spending cuts are just a tiny bit of what I recorded here.
I am almost done here...
Feel like you have something to tell about your IIoT use case?
Drop me a line below!
The Internet of Things — or IoT — is taking the IT sector by storm. Although it only boasted two billion systems in 2006, it's set to reach 200 billion connected devices by 2020 — and even more beyond that.
As companies and consumers all continue to explore the benefits of the IoT, one thing has become clear: the IoT needs proper encryption.
Given the sheer amount of online and network-oriented threats today — including everything from traditional viruses to advanced malware and malicious computer coding — data encryption is necessary to ensure the long-term success of the IoT.
Establishing these protocols while the IoT is still in its infancy will provide additional integrity to IoT-fueled projects and generate increased interest in the platform as a whole.
Overcoming the Roadblocks to Success
Modern society is well on its way to embracing the IoT for everything from industrial automation to in-home convenience, but there are two significant roadblocks to the platform's success.
1. Power Consumption
Today's IoT networks, which contain servers, access points and peripheral devices, consume enormous amounts of power altogether, but some tools require more power than others.
While traditional network-level encryption tools are optimized for larger systems and infrastructure, they don't always scale down to smaller formats in an efficient or viable manner.
Developing a chip with higher energy efficiency and the ability to scale down minimizes the strain on current and local power grids and makes it easier to secure individual devices via existing encryption methods.
2. Data Security
Consumers have received an enormous dose of reality in the 21st century. Those who haven't fallen victim to a cyber attack or hack probably know someone who has. The number of data breaches involving consumer information is troubling.
There are even rumors of foreign entities interfering with U.S. elections, including the 2016 election of President Donald Trump. Data security is in the spotlight now more than ever before, and it's a tremendous obstacle for the IoT to overcome.
However, a new chip manufactured by the team at MIT solves both of these problems. Not only does it focus specifically on public-key encryption — a straightforward and user-friendly method of modern encryption — but it also consumes 1/400 of the power of comparable chips.
It also uses 90% less memory than current chips, which lets researchers execute commands and complete processes up to 500 times faster.
Encrypting Consumer Data via Mathematics
The newest chip utilizes elliptic-curve encryption. It's a highly sophisticated, dominant form of data security often used in HTTPS connections. MIT's latest advancement efficiently breaks this system down for use on the individual devices that comprise the IoT.
As noted by the team at MIT, "cryptographers are coming up with curves with different properties."
The new chip is flexible enough to support all the known curves in use today, giving it maximum compatibility with different organizational and governmental standards. The team hopes to implement additional support for any future curves, as well.
Making Advancements in Artificial Intelligence
The team at MIT is also making headlines in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). Between self-driving cars and increased automation both in the factory and the home, AI is a hotbed of debate. Whether consumers are in favor of automation or against the idea altogether, one thing is for sure: AI-driven robots must operate by an acceptable set of ethical standards.
Just like encryption, it's a subject that invites multiple interpretation and solutions.
To spur development into the future of AI ethics and programming, MIT recently took a poll of the online public. By seeking the input of the average consumer, the school hopes to play an essential role in how next-gen robotics make decisions, prioritize tasks and interact with their human counterparts on a daily basis.
How MIT Is Safeguarding Our Future
Between the increased need for data security and sophisticated AI, IT experts have their work cut out for them.
The work of individuals and groups like the team at MIT is already making headway into these areas, but society is only at the beginning of what will likely become a long-term, complicated relationship with technology.
Image by Kevin Ku
IoT security challenges
IoT is a complex network of billions of Internet-connected devices that collect and transmit huge amounts of data across of a wide range of devices (sensors, robots, machinery, mobile apps, digital assistants, etc.) and integrated systems. Also, the data have to pass different administrative boundaries with different policies. Certainly, all of it creates challenges for protecting the IoT ecosystem.
First, companies and organizations have to ensure privacy and confidentiality of user data. Second, data communications should be protected at all levels. So, when building an IoT solution, take care of the “right” data delivery including the right place, time, and form. Third, make all interactions traced and monitored so that suspicious activities will be instantly detected.
There are many IoT security risks and challenges you should know and prevent when developing an IoT project. In terms of increased worry about cyber attacks and data privacy, companies have to establish new security models and integrate innovative technologies. In the IoT world, the use of Blockchain is an emerging trend promising to solve most or even all of IoT security issues.
What is Blockchain
Blockchain is a technology of the distributed ledger that maintains a continuously increasing number of transactions. Representing an immutable and inconvertible record and being based on cryptographic algorithms, Blockchain provides data security and protects data.
As Blockchain is decentralized, there is no central authority or regulatory body required for transaction approval and management. A distributed technology nature makes computer servers to come to a consensus, allowing transactions to be carried out anonymously and without intermediaries.
Blockchain is also about trust: cryptography is used to prevent technical data forge and distortion. In the chain of blocks, each block contains a hash serving as a link to the previous one. Thus, it’s impossible to substitute an intermediate block in the finished chain.
So, Blockchain provides a high-security level. While the tool is the same, it has many successful applications in a variety of business industries. Mika Lammi, Kinno’s Head of IoT Business Development, Kouvola Innovation Ltd, said: “I believe Blockchain to be one of the truly disruptive and innovative application areas in the world now, and that it will create huge waves across all imaginable business sectors”.
Blockchain and IoT
Coming up with decentralized, autonomous, and data protection capabilities, Blockchain has a great potential to secure the IoT ecosystem. In the Internet of Things, Blockchain can keep an immutable record of connected devices’ activities and automatically maintain the history of their communications.
What’s more, by integrating the technology, companies and organizations can allow trustless safe message exchanges between IoT devices. In this case, Blockchain will work like in financial transactions: data is transmitted between multiple devices and delivered to the places required. To enable peer-to-peer messaging, businesses can integrate Ethereum smart contracts serving as the agreement between two parties.
For example, let’s take Blockchain and IoT linked together to improve manufacturing operations. Here the use of Blockchain can enable smart devices to not only exchange data, but even automatically execute financial transactions. IoT devices monitor machinery and equipment health, alert managers about problems, and order repairs when required.
In the agriculture industry, farmers can place IoT devices to collect data about crops in order to ensure an efficient functioning of the irrigation system. Smart contracts describe how the solution parts (analytics system, sensors, etc.) should behave based on the conditions defined. This approach helps provide automatic water management.
Blockchain advantages for IoT security:
- Immutable record of all data communications
- Monitoring of suspicious activities
- Prevention of data forge and distortion
- Peer-to-peer messaging between IoT devices
- Autonomous functioning of smart devices
Today, Blockchain is one of the most promising trends in IoT security field. Decentralized and data protection capabilities make Blockchain a perfect part of IoT solutions. Understanding the technology prospects, many companies have already integrated Blockchain to solve IoT security challenges.
Those who follow my articles know that I like to make comparisons between the IoT and TV shows and movies. For this article, I have selected the famous show "The Walking Dead" (TWD).
When preparing this article, I read this piece “The Real Walking Dead: Surviving the Software-Defined Zombie Apocalypse” by Scott Noteboom and I thought, well, I am not alone. As Scott, I see a lot of similarities between IoT technology and biology.
Many companies are thinking about their survival after the apocalypse that will be produced by the mix of IoT, AI and Blockchain. CEOs, must make decisions that prevent their companies from disappearing or worse becoming walking dead. And one of the most important will be choose their travel companions well, in order to build a strong ecosystem capable of resist the most adverse scenarios one might think.
IoT solutions that companies need to implement to survive the apocalypse are composed of many apparently simple blocks (devices, protocols, edge computing, fog computing, communication networks, platforms, cloud, analytics, AI, Machine Learning, blockchain, security, applications). But the selection of the vendors and the integration of all of them in the business processes, systems and organizations of companies is complex and there are few companies who can boast of having achieved it.
You probably are tired of hearing that the IoT is very complicated and the ecosystem is very fragmented. You feel that many will become walking dead. But, no one has the crystal ball to know who will be the IoT companies are going to continue within 10 years, not even within 1, 2 or 3 years. Some of them are perhaps in the phase of becoming, when just a couple of years ago they were in good health and of they enjoyed the sympathy of the analysts.
If you have been living in a sanctuary, isolated, it will not last for a long time. You will receive soon the visit of survivors and walking dead. You have to decide to accept or fight the survivors and you must protect your community against the zombies.
The good news is that you are not alone. During the last 5 years I have lived 24x7 by and for the IoT. I have been monitoring and analyzing the IoT landscape. I have seen many IoT start-ups appear and some disappear. We have seen large companies make absurd purchases, or sell IoT businesses when they have not been able to obtain the expected return.
That´s why I am able to provide wise advice and recommendation to avoid from being trapped by partnerships with potentials Walking Dead of the IoT and help you build robust and scalable IoT solutions.
Do not walk blind alone among The Walking Dead of IoT
The Internet of Things plays an important role in today’s life, affecting a plenty of businesses and changing the way we work, live, and entertain. Coming up with workflow automation, remote equipment monitoring, inventory tracking, and real-time data collection, IoT promises to bring innovation in various industries.
Understanding high IoT potential, companies and corporations invest in IoT projects, startups, and initiatives. According to New IDC Spending Guide, the worldwide IoT spending is predicted to reach nearly $1.4 trillion in 2021. What’s more, Gartner research expects the number of IoT-enabled devices will be about 21 billion by 2020.
Though IoT provides many advantages and opportunities, there remain IoT security risks and challenges, that now are of the highest concern. Since today almost everything can be hacked, businesses have to look for and integrate new security mechanisms allowing to ensure data and device protection.
The main IoT security risks
1. Data Leaks
Smart devices collect and transmit various data that may involve such important information as credit card numbers, zip codes, customer locations, camera images, IP addresses, and much more. A leakage of private/personal/business/financial data can lead a company to money and reputation losses, and harm people’s lives.
2. User verification
Misconfiguration and default passwords use are common reasons for the appearance of device/data vulnerabilities. That’s why engineers should implement the ability for customers to create their own passwords while establishing the highest level of password reliability that all users have to follow.
3. Lack of regulations
Unfortunately, there are often no regulations for IoT devices. The creation of a standards-based approach to security should be a top-priority task for companies, organizations, and even governments.
4. Unknown surveillance
Often unprotected IoT devices can be accessed by any remote user or at least can be easily hacked. The consequences can be poor: for instance, streaming and selling private videos and images (including those from stores, shopping centers, etc.).
IoT security recommendations
1. Focus on data traffic monitoring. Imagine a cloud IoT solution, that monitors both inbound and outbound traffic, traces all suspicious activities, blocks unsafe communications, instantly alerts users and the central system about potential problems, and prevents data leaks.
2. Implement end-to-end encryption in your application, the most reliable way to protect user data. Famous mobile messengers WhatsApp and Viber added the support of e2e encryption long ago. If your project implies many data/user communications, you can use this approach too.
3. Use reliable tools that help ensure data confidentiality and privacy as well as build a secure and scalable data storage. Integrate a feature of suspicious activity and malicious code monitoring. For example, today we can see an increasing use of AI technology for real-time security monitoring.
4. Focus on testing activities. When developing an IoT solution, pay a lot of attention to the testing/QA process. It’s much better to prevent any security issues at the pre-release stage than waste time for bug fixing after.
5. Integrate a Blockchain decentralized approach. Since Blockchain is based on cryptographic algorithms, it helps protect and manage data. Blockchain has all transactions (interactions) recorded, so the history of smart devices will be also recorded. At the moment, the use of Blockchain for securing the Internet of Things is one of the emerging and most promising trends.
As you see, there are really good ways to minimize IoT security vulnerabilities. Here I should note that one of the best recommendations for developing a successful IoT project is to apply to a reliable IT company that would focus on security and data privacy issues. Also, when choosing the company, pay attention whether it meets the GDPR requirements, which will be especially important from the regulation enforcement on May 25, 2018.
Consider the normal hospital or home care scenario today. A patient—your patient—is receiving different therapy intravenously. That IV fluid is being administered using a pump known as an infusion pump.
Today those infusion pumps are connected to a network of devices on a hospital’s internet network.
Now consider the ramifications of an outsider hacking into the network and controlling all of the devices on that network, as well as being able to access all of the medical records on the network and to create a serious danger to the hospital and all of the connected patients. It’s a threat that is invisible and one that you don’t really think about but the potential is there.
It’s a scenario that is more than plausible, it’s actually taken place. There have been insulin pumps hacked multiple times. Johnson & Johnson became the first company to warn their users about the potential for hacks in their insulin pumps.
Billy Rios wrote about it for Bloomberg and even the FDA has taken notice, very recently stating that they knew that there were problems with medical devices and that sufficient security in those devices was probably not in place. They said that the current regulations and the current controls were not enough.
Recently the FDA released a set of guidelines that were designed to assist in this conundrum. They are encouraging all medical device manufacturers to make their cyber-security stronger and to ensure that clients and patients could not be damaged by hacks to products.
This was in response to Executive Order 13636 and Presidential Policy Directive 21,but it was also a response to the many cyber-security experts who have written directives and voiced their concerns about the problems inherent in connected medical devices.
There are dozens of problems with IoT medical devices and their ability to be hacked, but it isn’t just medical devices that are used directly for patient treatment. Other problems have been found in devices such as x-ray machines and MRI machines that allow them to be breached and require a fix in order to ensure patient safety.
Despite actual white hat hacks and security concerns voiced by experts, many legal experts say that the harm caused or the potential to harm is pure speculation. Reed Smith partner Steven Bornian believes that no medical device will ever be completely secure and that no IoT or medical device risk may be completely eradicated. That means legislating the security for them simple is not feasible, but still that seems to be the way that governments are heading.
The FDA has, for now, focused their approach to this problem on encouraging companies to offer workarounds for the user and temporary fixes if there is a breach. They believe this may be better than trying to regulate or legislate companies to prevent the breaches entirely, which many experts say may be impossible.
That isn’t going to be a long lasting solution because even as we discuss it, things are changing. Countries are seeking the right legislation for use in protecting the data and the patients who use medical devices. Having an on-board cybersecurity specialist is going to be imperative for any company offering connected devices in the near future. Is your company ready?
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