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Archive for the ‘Internet of Things’ Category

Internet of Things:security is everything

27 Jul

The future of the Internet of Things: security is everything
IOT
Internet of things Summit (IOT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is counted among emerging technologies that promise to transform the South African market.

While the opportunity for IoT is young in South Africa, its potential influence is far-reaching. For example, in the mining industry, devices monitor air quality, seismic activity, shaft stability, equipment wear, and energy usage. In the logistics industry, sensors track and monitor vehicles and routes for efficiency and safety. The possibilities are endless.

With all of these benefits comes risk, as the increase in connected devices gives hackers and cyber criminals more entry points.
A recent study by Ernst & Young in cooperation with Bitkom Research states that security concerns are the biggest obstacle in the industry when it comes to implementing IoT projects.

This is not at all surprising; after all, the networking of machines involves highly sensitive data.

Adding more devices, sensors, and things to your network also has the potential to increase your attack surface. This is because the IoT is intimately linked to business-critical processes and because the IoT significantly broadens the surface of attack of business intelligence systems.

The launch of SqwidNet, an open-access IoT network operator in South Africa, is a welcome enabler in the country. SqwidNet provides listening posts for messages from various objects to store, manage, track, and operate communication signals for different purposes to connect the physical world and the digital world.

SqwidNet, based on Sigfox technology, addresses these security challenges through a systematic process. The communications between the base stations and the Sigfox cloud and the within the Sigfox cloud are secure, robust, trusted, and scalable.

SqwidNet and Sigfox’s focus on low-power, low-bandwidth communications makes network deployment fast, simple, and secure. Devices don’t actually stay connected to the Internet or any network, for that matter. They transmit signals without any session, handshaking, or waiting for a response between a network and the device.
Sigfox security features enabled through SqwidNet include the following:

A signalling chip will only be active when it needs to send a message.
A private key is used to send messages, and only a Sigfox platform understands the unique ID of the device.
The network provides encryption from device to the Sigfox cloud.
The cloud itself is protected by a firewall with restricted access.
The protocol allows limited two-way communication within very specific communication windows.
Extra security features of the protocol include anti-replay measures and strong encryption at multiple levels.
The downlink process of the SqwidNet network brings additional security robustness. When a device sends a signal, there is a small, 30-second window in which a response can be sent back to the device.

If that window is missed, the response will have to wait for the next time a signal is sent from the device. The fact that the objects choose when to communicate, at which frequency, and with a security key, offers multiple layers of protection against hackers sending them malicious commands.
How organizations embrace the IoT varies widely from industry to industry. What these industries and solutions have in common is the challenge of securely navigating the very complex technology involved in getting the insights that drive successful outcomes.

How secure is your network of choice? Great food for thought as we eagerly await solutions that will come with the growth of the South African IoT market, which is estimated to reach in excess of $2 billion by 2020 and is set to revolutionise all sectors, stimulating industry growth and economic development. Security is everything!

Link:http://www.unicomlearning.com/conferences.html

 

Will you be the Agile Champion of 2015?

17 Apr

Agile Olympiad is an initiative of India Agile Week (IAW 2015) June 12-17 and UNICOM Agile Thoughtleaders to run India’s most prestigious Corporate Quiz on Agile Methodology. This contest also gets participation from several other countries, making it a global contest.

Every year hundreds of Agile Enthusiasts participate and enjoy this experience and bring laurels to themselves as well as to their companies, whose contribution in building an Agile champion cannot be denied.

Visit our website to learn about Agile Olympiad‘s past winners

What makes this corporate contest unique is that almost every company, that is running an Agile project, encourage their employees to participate. Participants then form a team within the organization to do group preparation on the topics provided by the Olympiad committee. Several HR’s of reputed organization have confirmed to me that they have found this active learning more effective than any training they have given on Agile. This sounds as music to our ears as UNICOM’s core belief is to Develop professionals into a global though leader and minimize the learning cost via maximizing the skills gained.

Additional bonus to the contestants is to attend India Agile Week conference @ their city. India Agile Week runs across 6 cities every year in 2nd week of June. In this conference, we share the best practices followed by Indian companies where they are innovating to run Agile suiting their culture and employees temperaments. While other Agile conferences suggest their delegates to change themselves, India Agile Week encourages them to focus on innovation. Our patrons understand this difference and join us all over India to share their stories and learn from their peers.

To view Conference website visit our home page: Click Here

Our Sincere thanks to Tathagat Varma, Founder ThoughtLeadership for agreeing to host the Finals of Agile Olympiad 2015. His work for Agile Olympaid 2014 finale can be seen here:

These are my thoughts. Please do write to me if you think you shall like to participate or join the Olympiad committee.

 

‘Internet of Things’ poised to change the face of connectivity

06 Nov

IoT Main Banner

“India Internet of Things Week”- 2014, with the theme “Link your World” powered by UNICOM Learning was recently organized in three major metro cities viz. Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. The event also hosted the prestigious contest for startups – “IoT Tech 10” to identify select ten IoT startUps based in India. The contest was aimed to identify India’s most innovative and successful start-up company in the field of Internet of Things (IoT). EXILANT, INVENTROM, CARIQ, ALTIUX, TAGPLUG, EPSILONELECTRONICS, COOEY and INFOZECH were the 8 start-up companies that were selected and also grabbed the Certificate of Honour & Memento from the organizers and knowledge partners – IBM and Intel.

IoT week also identified and explored how the Internet of Things will re-shape interactions with the real and virtual world in the coming years. The 3 day conference brought together leading IoT companies, start-ups and the developer/ professional community to exchange their ideas with the practical application and utilization of Internet of Things under one roof. It also focused on the ways in which Machine-to-Machine technologies (M2M) and the Internet of the Things (IoT) can be utilized to vastly improve business processes, minimize risk, spur innovation, and drive revenue.

” The IoT conference was a necessity considering that it is a field that has a lot of futuristic potential. Thanks to Unicom for doing a fantastic job addressing the need of the software industry with conferences and events in such niche fields. It is always a pleasure to present at a Unicom conference and I look forward to more such events in future.” said Sujit Balan, Director Engineering from Globologic

According to the recent IoT policy in India, government aims to create an IoT industry of USD 15 billion by 2020 in India which will increase national device connectivity from the current 200 million to over 2.7 billion by that time. The number of internet-connected devices (12.5 billion) surpassed the number of human beings (7 billion) on the planet in 2011, and by 2020, Internet-connected devices are expected to be between 26 billion and 50 billion globally.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) may sound like a business buzzword, but in reality, it’s a real technological revolution that will impact everything we do. The main objective of our initiative was to stimulate and promote entrepreneurial drive in INDIA in the area of IoT and help new IoT Product Technology start-ups to emerge. This also included, extending support to the venture from the idea to the launching stage, promoting and rewarding the start-up projects and companies” said Nitesh Naveen, CEO, UNICOM Learning.

This event created a platform for potential start-ups to meet IoT experts to attend keynote presentation, participate in the interactive sessions and network with experienced Business and Technical practitioners from start-up companies involved in production/processing in the area of M2M and Internet of Things i.e. application providers, platform companies, and device manufacturers participated in the conference.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) is a gigantic wave of new possibility that is destined to change the face of technology and IoT is poised to give a whole new meaning to the adage “Work smarter, not harder” added Nitesh Naveen, CEO, UNICOM Learning.

Coverages in media-
APN News:

Link: http://www.apnnews.com/2014/11/04/internet-of-things-poised-to-change-the-face-of-connectivity/
Date: 04.11.2014
· Launch mantra:

Link: http://launchmantra.com/internet-of-things-poised-to-change-the-face-of-connectivity
Date: 04.11.2014
· Top News India:

Link: http://www.topnewsindia.com/2014/11/internet-of-things-poised-to-change.html
Date: 04.11.2014
· Surkhiyan:

Link http://surkhiyan.com/internet-of-things-poised-to-change-the-face-of-connectivity
Date: 04.11.2014

Web news wire:
Link: http://www.webnewswire.com/node/3622815
Date: 04.11.2014
· News Super-fast:

Link: http://newssuperfast.com/2014/11/04/internet-of-things-poised-to-change-the-face-of-connectivity
Date: 04.11.2014

 

IT biggies recognize India’s champions at UNICOM’s Technology Olympiad

01 Oct

winners_technology_olympiad

Bangalore : Over 500 companies from across India participated in the Tech-Olympiad organised by UNICOM Learning, a knowledge sharing forum in partnership with IBM in Bangalore. Companies like CISCO, SIEMENS, HP, KPMG, DELL, TITAN, GE HEALTH CARE and many more participated in the Olympiad and the selected teams represented their companies in the finals held on 25th of September at ‘The Atria’, Palace Road, Bangalore.

Mr. Sachin Malik and Nishant Pundir from Dronacharya College of Engineering, New Delhi emerged as the winner at the Students Technology Olympiad and grabbed the gold medal and also Mr. Harsh Kumar and Arun B from GE Healthcare Bangalore were announced as winners of the Technology Olympiad for Professionals.

Discussing the importance of such contests Mr. Nitesh Naveen, Co-Founder, Director & CEO of Unicom said, “Such events encourage and develop interest in emerging technologies among young professionals and provide excellent networking opportunities and encourage students for further education in the field of engineering and prepares them for future in science and technology.”

“With Unicom’s constant support, we aim to bring technology awareness to as many people as we can. Platforms like these are big opportunities for youngsters to get a recognition and stand out among the crowd” said Sugandha Shri Kanteshwaram, Program Director, Mobility & Emerging Technologies IBM. She also congratulated the winners on receiving the most prestigious and deserving award!!

The Students Technology Olympiad is an initiative taken by UNICOM with support from IBM in order to find India’s most knowledgeable student in the field of emerging technologies. 1000 colleges participated in the students Olympiad which aims to provide a global recognition to students and was supported by various technological institutes. The first round of the Olympiad was online Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) based quiz followed by the finals. Each participating team had two members taking part in the tech- quiz. Some of the topics covered in the Technology Olympiads were Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud, Big Data, Programming, Testing and IoT.

Technology Olympiad for Professionals was another big contest that UNICOM India’s Biggest Conference Organizing Company organized backed by IBM to find India’s most knowledgeable professional in the field of Emerging Technologies. The winners were selected after three rounds of stringent selection process by the jury constituting of industry experts. The final day of the conference had multiple MNCs participating from all over India. Both the semi-finals and finals, were complete pen and paper based MCQ rounds.

Source: http://www.apnnews.com/2014/09/26/it-biggies-recognize-indias-champions-at-unicoms-technology-olympiad/

 

Unicom Learning’s Plan and Invitation

22 Aug

Greetings from UNICOM Learning – India’s largest Professional conference organising company and leading player in knowledge share!!!

Last month we went back to our drawing board to plan for next year’s conference on Cloud, Big Data, Social, Media, IoT, Testing, Agile, UXUI Design, NextGen Programming and DevOps. We involved our past delegates and speakers and have been getting several suggestions since then.

Now we want to involve you to join our [1] Advisory Board [2] Conference Speaker Identification Committee [3] Core-Committee member, as we understand that we share same passion in knowledge sharing, developing professionals, creating global executives and enriching organizations. None of these roles have monetary incentives. However there are several benefits and goodwill to collect from IT community. 🙂

Following are some of our forthcoming initiative which should interest you.

[1] India Business Development Summit: A must attend event for Sr Managers, Pre-sales Consultants, Sales &Marketing Executives, and CMOs.

 Dates & Cities  Program Agenda
 22 Aug 2014 – Mumbai  Click Here
 27 Aug 2014 – Delhi  Click Here
 28 Aug 2014 – Bangalore  Click Here
 

[2] Business Development Champions League: Contest to identify India’s most knowledgeable Sales & Marketing Executive

 Dates & Cities  Program Agenda
 1st Round (online) – 12 Aug 2014  Click Here
 Semi Finals (Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore)  Click Here
 Finals(28 Aug 2014 Bangalore)  Click Here
 

[3] India Mobility Week: This conference will share the latest happening in the world of enterprise mobility

 Dates & Cities  Program Agenda
 18 Sept 2014- Delhi  Click Here
 20 Sept 2014- Pune  Click Here
 

[4] Emerging Technology Summit: A 2 day Conference where you get to know all that is emerging in Technology.

 Dates & Cities  Program Agenda
 25,26 Sept 2014 – Bangalore  Click Here
 

[5] Technology Olympiad: Contest to identify India’s most knowledgeable techie.

 Dates & Cities  Program Agenda
 1st Round (online) – 03 Sept 2014  Click Here
 Semi Finals (25 Sept 2014 – Bangalore)  Click Here
 Finals(25 Sept 2014 – Bangalore)  Click Here
 

[6] India Internet of Things: Learn how technology shall connect lives. India’s first conference and expo on IoT

 Dates & Cities  Program Agenda
 28 Oct 2014 – Bangalore  Click Here
 29 Oct 2014 – Delhi  Click Here
 30 Oct 2014 – Mumbai  Click Here
 

[7] Big Data Australia: Learn Big Data story implementations

 Dates & Cities  Program Agenda
 13 Aug 2014 – Sydney  Click Here
 15 Aug 2014 – Melbourne  Click Here
 

Oracle announces Internet of Things developer challenge to reward innovative Indian app developers

17 May
While India is under prepared to embrace Internet of Things (IoT), Oracle is giving Indian app developers a chance to be a part of the global IoT movement. The company has announced an ‘Internet of Things developer challenge’ for the same, which is open for entries until May 30, 2014.

“In this connected world, the proliferation of intelligent devices has created a market for entirely new solutions based on IoT technology. With the ever-increasing amount of data that is inherent in an IoT world, the key to gaining real business value is effective communication among all elements of the architecture. Developers can showcase their creative and technology acumen by building interesting applications for a wide range of embedded M2M systems, including healthcare, gateways, aggregation managers, and industrial automation, etc,” the company said in a statement.

The challenge will reward Java developers who create outstanding applications using Oracle’s Java-embedded technologies with devices, boards and other IoT technologies. The online challenge has two categories – students and professionals. Each team can have a maximum of three members. The teams will have to make a video presentation of the application and submit the source code.

Three teams from the professional category and one team from the student’s category will win an all-expense paid trip to ‘JavaOne 2014’ that is going to be held in San Francisco, USA in September. In addition, the second and third prize-winners from the student’s category will receive a laptop and a certificate exam voucher for $1,500 and $1,300, respectively.

Java offers comprehensive functionality for resource-constrained devices, with the highest level of functionality, security, connectivity and scalability in the industry. Cisco estimates that 50 billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet by 2020. The IoT is the next technology transition where devices will allow users to sense and control the physical world.

However, IoT also has its drawbacks as it relies on technologies like Bluetooth or NFC that are not present in all budget smartphones; this tech comes only in high-end phones. That leaves only about 10 per cent of the phones used in India equipped to handle IoT products. The brighter side of being in this part of the world is that you can get a product developed at a much lower cost. And until your product sets the ball rolling, if you have an IP, some enterprises may be interested in integrating your tech in their products which can be a primary revenue generator.

Source:  http://techcircle.vccircle.com/2014/05/13/oracle-announces-internet-of-things-developer-challenge-to-reward-innovative-indian-app-developers/

 

Securing the Internet of Things in a Connected World

17 May
With the emergence of devices that connect to the Internet such as Google Glass, keeping track of devices and what information they are accessing on the network has become harder for IT staff.

According to an IDC United States report from October 2013 called Worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) 2013-2020 Forecast: Billions of Things, Trillions of Dollars, there will be approximately 212 billion IoT devices in use globally by 2020, all of which will need securing.

Cisco Australia general manager of security Glenn Welby told Computerworld Australia that as more IoT devices enter the market, this will just provide more ways for cyber criminals to attack networks.

The vendor has taken the step of testing its own networks for IoT threats. According to Welby, Cisco’s CSO introduced malware into the network by using the vendor’s own Telepresence unified communications units.

He warned it is “not possible” to stop cyber criminals getting into networks because there are only two types of organisations: one that is aware of its security problem, and the other that is not.

“Organisations must change their mindset to be looking for attacks. Once you’ve been attacked, and you will be, understand what is happening. Make sure you have visibility across your infrastructure and data storage.”

Welby also suggested that IT managers start drafting wearable device policies in anticipation of devices that connect to the Internet being released in Australia.

The policy could cover areas such as what IoT or wearable devices are allowed to access corporate networks and what data can be viewed on the device.

Five Internet of Everything gadgets

Securing your data in a BYOD world

Vehicle to vehicle communications could drive us to a safer place: Industry

“Many IT managers believe that the IoT consists of new technologies and services,” Gartner US research vice president Earl Perkins said in a statement.

“Although the business use cases being identified [for the IoT] are new, the technologies and deliver them seldom are. Each IoT risk profile has specific requirements that may result in the use of old platforms with a new technology ‘overlay’ to improve performance and control,” he said.

According to Perkins, this overlay represents an “interesting challenge” for IT and security managers when delivering secure services for the IoT.

“In some cases, it may be an exercise in evaluating mainframe, Web, cloud and mobile security options as part of an overall IoT business use case.”

Perkins suggested that IT managers look at the devices they have in the workplace. If these devices are networked for communication on private networks, public networks or the Internet, they can be classified as IoT.

“IT managers will find that devices that use sensors are built with embedded systems and have a means of being identified will appear in [IoT] business use cases. Build on these use case experiences to develop common security deployment scenarios and core architectural foundations,” he said.

“The core principles of data, application, network, systems and hardware security are still applicable.”

 

Source:  http://www.computerworld.in/news/securing-the-internet-of-things-in-a-connected-world

 

Internet of Things Set to Shake up Corporate Security: Gartner

17 May
Gartner predicts that IoT (internet of things) security requirements will “reshape and expand” over half of all global enterprise IT security programmes by 2020.

IoT devices are smart and programmable devices that can be remotely controlled and linked to other devices, ranging from utility smart meters and kitchen fridges to vehicle telematics.

“The IoT is redrawing the lines of IT responsibilities for organisations,” said Earl Perkins, an analyst at Gartner. “IoT objects possess the ability to change the state of the environment around them, or even their own state. So securing the IoT expands the responsibility of the traditional IT security practice, as every new identifying, sensing and communicating device is added.”

Gartner says that although traditional IT infrastructure is capable of many IoT security tasks, it says functions that are delivered as purpose-built platforms using embedded technology, sensors and machine-to-machine (M2M) communications for specific business use, signal a change in the traditional concept of IT and the concept of securing IT.

Perkins said: “Real-time, event-driven applications and non-standard protocols will require changes to application testing, vulnerability assessments, identity and access management (IAM) and other areas.

“And handling network scale, data transfer methods and memory usage differences will also require changes. Governance, management and operations of security functions will need to change to accommodate expanded responsibilities,” said Perkins.

He said this was similar to the ways that bring your own device (BYOD), mobile and cloud computing have required changes – “but on a much larger scale and in greater breadth”, when it came to IoT.

Gartner says CISOs (certified information security officers) should not automatically assume that existing security technologies and services must be replaced when it comes to IoT. Instead, Gartner says they should evaluate the potential of integrating new security solutions with old ones.

Many traditional security product and service providers, said Gartner, are already expanding their existing portfolios to incorporate basic support for embedded systems and M2M communications, including support for communications protocols, application security and IAM requirements that are specific to the IoT.

“At this time, there is no ‘guide to securing the IoT’ available that provides CISOs with a framework for incorporating IoT principles across all industries and use cases,” said Perkins.

Gartner says CISOs should “start small” and develop initial security projects based on specific IoT interactions within specific business use cases. CISOs can then build on these use case experiences to develop common security deployment scenarios, core architectural foundations and competency centres for the future.

 

Source:  http://www.computerworld.in/news/internet-of-things-set-to-shake-up-corporate-security-says-gartner

 

The Internet of Things: Coming to a Network Near You

17 May
When people talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), the most common examples are smart cars, IP-addressable washing machines and Internet-connected refrigerators. But IoT is coming to the enterprise as well, and CIOs should already be thinking about the ways it will shake up the corporate network.“Products and services which were previously outside their (CIOs’) domain will increasingly be under their jurisdiction,” says Daniel Castro, senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a US-based research and educational institute.

So, what are these devices?

Castro says that companies increasingly will be operating in “smart buildings” with advanced HVAC systems that are connected to the rest of the corporate network.

Many utility companies will be deploying Web-connected smart meters at customers’ facilities to allow for remote monitoring.

Companies are tying their physical security to their network security, so that data from security cameras and authentication readers are coming under the purview of enterprise IT. Most of the retailers already use RFID and other tracking technologies to manage supply chain logistics, says IDC’s Michael Fauscette. IoT is therefore a natural next step.

Then there’s operational technology (OT), where enterprise assets such as manufacturing equipment, fleet trucks, rail cars, even patient monitoring equipment in hospitals become networked devices, says Hung LeHong, research vice president at Gartner.

“Those types of assets are becoming Internet-enabled,” LeHong says. And even though they are managed by field operations or hospital services, they could become end-points on the corporate network.

Other examples of OT might include companies deploying vending machines that are connected to the Internet, so that they can be automatically restocked when certain items run low.

Another key area where IoT is making an appearance is what Gartner calls the digital supply chain. That’s when a company’s end-products, such as consumer electronics or large machinery, are Internet-enabled so that the manufacturer can keep track of maintenance schedules and other such aspects.
Besides, IoT is also showing up in consumer offerings such as home automation and smart grid. IT executives in industries such as gas and electric utilities will need to stay abreast of developments such as how smart meters and other types of data-generating solutions will affect IT and the corporate network.

And finally, IoT is emerging in so-called smart cities, where all kinds of devices and assets such as traffic lights, parking meters and garbage truck fleets are gradually being connected to the Internet. Municipal government IT executives will need to be aware of how these assets tie in to the network.

IT and OT Convergence

What will likely happen is a convergence of OT and IT. “As these machines go onto the corporate network, CIOs need to start talking together about what the future will look like when traditional IT and OT overlap on the network,” LeHong says.

“Who is responsible for providing security, for example,” LeHong asks. “There are existing IT skill sets that are very developed, but are at the same time, new or not a prime focus for the operations guy. There can be some synergies.”

IT executives will need to prepare themselves for situations such as when an IP-based vending machine is creating software replenishment orders for out-of-stock items using an ERP application, he believes.

“When it creates the replenishment order, does the vending machine need a user license for the ERP application?” LeHong asks. “CIOs need to get an understanding of this. Even if they are not going to own the vending machines, they need to worry about things like these. That’s what we mean by convergence. OT and IT need to discuss things like governance, security, software licensing and maintenance.”

In terms of networking technology and strategies at enterprises, IoT will have a significant impact. According to a report on IoT trends published by Gartner in 2012, things will be connected, but not necessarily in the ways most familiar to companies today. “Wi-Fi, 3G/4G cellular and Bluetooth are the wireless connectivity technologies we are most familiar with. However, they will not be the only way things connect to the Internet,” the report says.

These network technologies and protocols consume lots of power and are designed for higher-bandwidth applications, the firm says, but many things (for example, a temperature/humidity sensor in a remote agricultural setting) will require low bandwidth, long range and very low power consumption.

Looking ahead to the next few years, growth of the IoT will probably be greatest in areas such as inventory tracking and supply chain management, says Castro from ITIF. But given the way technology is developing, it’s likely that the IoT will be pervasive in many aspects of business.

Source:  http://www.connectedenterprise.in/feature/internet-things-coming-network-near-you#front

 

 

The ABCs of the Internet of Things

17 May
You’ve heard the term and probably read stories about smart homes where the toaster talks to the smoke detector. But what makes it all connect? When will it become mainstream, and will it work? These frequently asked questions help explain it all.

What is the Internet of Things?

There is no agreed-upon definition, but there is a test for determining whether something is part of the IoT: Does one vendor’s product work with another’s? Does a door lock by one vendor communicate with a light switch by another vendor, and do you want the thermostat to be part of the conversation?

Here’s the scenario: As you approach the front door of your house, a remote control built into your key unlocks the door. The door’s wireless radio messages the network, which prompts the hall light to turn on. The house thermostat, which was lowered after you left for work, returns to a comfort zone. Everything is acting in concert, which brings us to the elegant definition of IoT by Paul Williamson, director of low power wireless for semiconductor maker CSR: “A true Internet of Things is coordination between multiple devices.”

What makes the Internet of Things almost human?

In a word: Sensors. Many IoT devices have sensors that can register changes in temperature, light, pressure, sound and motion. They are your eyes and ears to what’s going on the world. Before we talk about what they do, let’s describe them. These sensors are part of a device category called a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) and are manufactured in much the same way microprocessors are manufactured, through a lithography process. These sensors can be paired with an application-specific integrated circuit or an ASIC. This is a circuit with a limited degree of programming capability and is hardwired to do something specific. It can also be paired with microprocessor and will likely be attached to a wireless radio for communications.

Can you give an example of how IoT sensors work?

Here’s the scene: You are away on vacation and the house is empty. A moisture sensor detects water on the basement floor. That sensor finding is processed by an app, which has received another report from a temperature sensor that detects the flow of water in the main water pipe. (When water flows, it takes away heat and lowers the temperature).

That both sensors are detecting anomalies is cause for concern. A high rate of flowing water may signal a burst pipe, triggering an automated valve shutoff; a slight water flow might be a running toilet, and the water on the basement floor by routine leakage from a heavy rain. In either case, you get a machine-generated message describing the findings.

Here’s how you investigate. Via a mobile app, you get two one-time codes to unlock your front door, one for your neighbor and another for a plumber. When the door is unlocked, a text alert tells you who entered. Having knowledge of the condition of your home may be a big driver of IoT adoption.

How will IoT sensors work in public spaces?

Take parking. Cities are embedding sensors in on-street parking spaces from a company called Streetline that can detect if a car is parked in one. Drivers looking for a parking space use the company’s mobile app, which lets them know when a space becomes available. Streetline has also added sound level and surface temperature sensors to help cities determine the best times to apply salt and use noise sensors to ensure compliance with ordinances.

In the public arena, a smartphone can double as a sensor. In Boston, as people drive down a road, the phone’s accelerometer sensor will keep track of bumps. An accelerometer can tell up from down, but more precisely it measures acceleration. All it took to turn a smartphone into a road condition monitoring tool, was an app that used its existing sensor in a new way.

Do you want your bathroom scale to talk to your refrigerator?

The IoT opens up a lot of opportunity for creative app writers. Let’s start with a smart refrigerator. You buy your groceries online and have them delivered to your home. It has now become advantageous for grocers and food product makers to add RFID tags to their products. The refrigerator knows what is inside via weight-sensitive shelves and expiration dates. It can also help you keep a grocery list, automate orders and provide nutritional information.

For instance, let’s say you decide to take a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream out of the freezer. When that happens, a connected wireless speaker announces, loudly: “Please reconsider this selection. As requested, here is your most recent weight and BMI.” The wireless speaker is reporting data collected from your bathroom scale. The scale was never designed to communicate with a refrigerator, but an app writer made it so by linking data from the scale and fridge. This scale-fridge-speaker combination may seem silly, but here’s the point: In the IoT, app writers now have the ability to connect seemingly disparate things to create new types of functionality.

How do IoT devices communicate?

An IoT device will have a radio that can send and receive wireless communications. IoT wireless protocols are designed to accomplish some basic services: Operate on low power, use low bandwidth and work on a mesh network. Some work on the 2.4 GHz band, which is also used by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and the sub-GHz range. The sub-GHz frequencies, including 868 and 915 MHz bands, may have the advantage of less interference.

Why is low power and low bandwidth important in IoT?

Some IoT devices will get power from electrical systems, but many, such as door locks and standalone sensors, will use batteries. These devices send and receive small amounts of information intermittently or periodically. Consequently, the battery life of an IoT device can range from 1.5 years to a decade, if the battery lasts that long. One IoT maker, Insteon, uses both radio and powerline communication, which can send data over existing electrical wiring as well as via a radio, which it says will offer an increased measure of reliability.

What is a mesh network?

Devices in a mesh network connect directly with one another, and pass signals like runners in a relay race. It is the opposite of a centralized network. The transmission range of an IoT device on a mesh network is anywhere from 30 feet to more than 300 feet.

Since mesh network devices can hand-off signals, they have an ability to connect thousands of sensors over a wide area, such as a city, and operate in concert. Mesh networks have the added ability of working around the failure of any individual device. Wireless mesh IoT protocols include the Z-Wave Alliance, the Zigbee Alliance, and Insteon, which also has an alliance of vendors. These protocols aren’t directly interoperable, although there are workarounds via hubs (more on this later).

ZigBee is an open protocol, but its critics say that not all of its implementations are necessarily the same. ZigBee runs a certification to ensure standard deployments. Insteon and Z-Wave are proprietary, which may ensure standardization of implementation.

What’s the best wireless network for the IoT?

Today, no wireless technology has a dominant market share in IoT applications. Nick Jones, an analyst at research firm Gartner, said more than 10 IoT wireless technologies will “get significant traction” in IoT applications. These wireless technologies include cellular, satellites and new communications such as Weightless, which uses “white space,” or unoccupied TV channels. More importantly, no one wireless technology will meet every need and circumstance. A connected car, for instance, will use a cellular network to contact your home network.

Will I need a gateway or hub in the IoT?

A gateway, bridge or hub provides a connection point between your home network and other devices. The hub works with your home router and provides communications to the machines, devices and sensors that are part of your IoT universe. You will want, by default, your Zigbee smart meter to communicate with your Z-Wave or Insteon thermostat. This will also be true for the washing machine that is connected to a smart metering system and starts a wash only when electric rates are at their lowest point. These connections will be established through hubs that support multiple wireless technologies.

SmartThings, for instance, makes a hub that supports both Zigbee and Z-Wave, as well as a platform to build connecting applications. Eventually, these wireless technologies may be included in home routers, set-top boxes from your cable companies, or even devices such as a Google Chromecast.

Won’t Bluetooth win in the end?

Bluetooth Low Energy was originally aimed at wearable technology, not the broad IoT market. But in early 2014, CSR, a semiconductor maker, announced a mesh network for Bluetooth, meaning it could now connect to thousands of things.

Bluetooth’s ubiquity in mobile devices means that a Bluetooth mesh network as a broad IoT platform will have some advantages. Because Bluetooth is already a feature on smartphones, a smartphone could act as a management hub inside a home. But it’s not perfect. A hub will be needed if someone wants to connect with the home network remotely, such as from work.

Do the big consumer product vendors really want an Internet of Things?

Skeptics say it’s unlikely that all the big vendors will embrace open standards. A more likely outcome for the IoT are technological islands defined by proprietary data interchanges.

Without open standards or open communication protocols, devices on the network won’t be able to share data and work in concert. Will Apple develop products that can connect with Samsung products? Will Bosch products communicate with those from Samsung or Sears? Maybe not.

Consumers will be frustrated and will be told that they need to buy into a particular vendor’s product partner network to get a full IoT experience.

Can open source force the big vendors to play nice?

Open source advocates are hoping they can avert a fracturing of the IoT. The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit consortium, created the AllSeen Aliance and released a code stack in late 2013 that can be used by any electronics or appliance maker to connect to another product. The alliance hopes that the sheer weight of adoption of this stack, called AllJoyn, will help to push the IoT toward open standards. AllJoyn is agnostic about wireless protocols, and support for Bluetooth LE, ZigBee and Z-Wave can be added easily by the community.

Will the IoT destroy what little privacy you have left?

Privacy advocates are plenty worried about the IoT’s impact on consumers. Part of this is due to the arrival of IPv6 addresses, the next generation Internet protocol. It replaces IPv4, which assigned 32-bit addresses, with a total limit of 4.3 billion; IPv6 is 128-bit, and allows for 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses or 340,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. This makes it possible to assign a unique identifier to anything that’s part of the IoT (although not everything needs to be IP addressable, such as light switches). This may enable deep insights into a home. Smart metering systems, for instance, will be able to track individual appliance use.

“Information about a power consumer’s schedule can reveal intimate, personal details about their lives, such as their medical needs, interactions with others, and personal habits,” warned the Electronic Privacy Information Center, in testimony in late 2013 at a Federal Trade Commission workshop. This is information that may be shared with third parties. At this same FTC workshop, another leading privacy group, the Center for Democracy and Technology, outlined its nightmare scenario.

Light sensors in a home can tell how often certain rooms are occupied, and temperature sensors may be able to tell when one bathes, exercises or leaves the house; microphones can easily pick up the content of conversations. The message is clear: Courts, regulators and lawmakers will be fighting over IoT privacy safeguards for years to come.

Will my smart washer attack me?

Security experts are worried that consumers won’t be able to tell the difference between secure and insecure devices on their home network. It will be a threat to enterprise networks as well. These devices, many of which will be cheap and junky and made by who-knows-who overseas, may not have any security of their own.

Security researchers imagine problems, such as the connected toilet, demonstrated at a recent Black Hat conference, which flushed and closed its lid repeatedly. Hackers could create havoc by turning appliances and HVAC systems on and off. Baby monitors have been successfully taken over by outsiders. One advantage that IoT security may have is it’s still in its early stages, and the security community has a chance to build IoT systems with a strong measure of protection. Cisco is fishing around for ideas. The company is running a contest (with a June 17 submission deadline) with $300,000 in prize money for ideas for securing the IoT.

When will the Internet of Things be ready for prime time?

Vendors will be sorting out the various protocols and technologies for years. Consumers are curious, perhaps, but sensors and hubs for the home aren’t flying off the shelves. There are real IoT uses today, especially for home monitoring and security. For now, the big users of sensor networks and remote intelligence gathering are businesses and governments.

Governments are deploying sensors to alert them to failed street lights, leaks in water systems and full trash cans. Sensors will likely have a major role in traffic control, forest fire and landslide detection. Remote sensing is already mainstream in many industries, office buildings and in the energy supply.

It’s the consumer applications that get the most attention because they involve almost every industry and platform: health systems, home energy use, hardware, home building, electronics and the entire category of wearables, including clothing. Even plumbers will have to be aware of the IoT because of connected shut-off valves. But no one is going to stand in line for the latest smart refrigerator. It isn’t the next iPad. The IoT rollout will be slow and will occur over many years, as appliances are replaced and home electrical systems are upgraded with smart devices.

What’s the worst case scenario?

That a true coordination between multiple devices never comes to pass. Vendors, initially, will build islands, closed IoT environments that only work with their products and those made by selected partners. Privacy protections may be treated loosely, with users forced to opt out if they don’t want their home turned into a giant spy cam for marketers.

We haven’t even mentioned things like Google Glass. Imagine a scenario where people agree to share live streams as part of a Neighborhood Block Watch. A surveillance state may arrive on a flood of good intentions. But the IoT has potential to make life more efficient, safer, healthier and environmentally friendly.

In particular, people who install solar energy systems and use net metering, essentially selling surplus energy back to the utility, will have powerful reasons to install aware and connected systems. But whether these systems can work together will depend on the willingness of vendors to make their products connectable. There is no vendor large enough to control the IoT, but there are vendors large enough to make a mess of it.

 

Source : http://www.computerworld.in/feature/the-abcs-of-the-internet-of-things7