Posted on

The Importance of IoT Platforms Through the Eyes of an MVNO

Illustration: © IoT For AllIoT has a massive scope and too many requirements that can leave even the best of telecom operators clueless. With exalted predictions in the near future (some estimate that IoT devices will cross the 40 billion mark by 2025), the pressure on IoT service providers is immense. There …

Read More

Posted on

Making IoT Scalable, Simpler and SAFEr

Illustration: © IoT For All

The growth of connected devices is unlocking new services across M2M and consumer IoT use-cases. ABI Research predicts annual revenues from IoT services will hit $460 billion by 2026.

IoT services are enabled by devices collecting, processing and sending data, quite often sensitive or personal, to the cloud. A key factor in the widespread deployment of IoT services is the ability for key stakeholders – end-users and service providers – to trust that the data gathered and transmitted to the IoT cloud is done so securely, in order to protect its integrity and the resulting integrity of the service.

Global authorities, industry bodies, governments and regulators are therefore working collaboratively towards defined IoT guidelines and mandates. This activity is particularly advanced in Europe. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines strict penalties for device manufacturers and service providers who do not protect consumer privacy. A robust certification framework has also emerged, with the ENISA Cybersecurity Act and Eurosmart IoT Certification Scheme requiring IoT devices to undergo penetration testing from state-of-the-art independent security laboratories prior to deployment.

The challenges of remotely provisioning, managing and updating credentials across millions of different devices throughout their entire lifecycle to ensure this security and privacy are myriad. It’s the ability to protect IoT data communications in a simple, standardized manner at scale, however, that has emerged as a key industry challenge.

Market Fragmentation – A Key Challenge

Leveraging a hardware secure element (SE) as a “Root of Trust” to execute security services and store security credentials is an essential step in the development lifecycle to guarantee end-to-end security for IoT products and services. It’s also a key recommendation of the GSMA IoT Security Guidelines.

There are several proprietary hardware SE solutions available to deliver this root of trust, but market fragmentation introduces a key challenge. Connected devices must be modified to access security services from different SE providers, which creates significant design issues and is unsustainable at scale given the ever-increasing size and diversity of the IoT ecosystem.

The SIM on the other hand, in combination with supporting over-the-air provisioning and management infrastructure, is fully standardized. When used as the hardware Root of Trust in an IoT device, it promotes interoperability across different vendors and more consistent use by IoT device makers and service providers.

An additional advantage is that the SIM has advanced security and cryptographic features, including a securely designed central processing unit (CPU) and dedicated secure memory to store operating system programs, keys and certificate data. This protects IoT devices from various hacking scenarios, such as cloning, physical attacks to a single device and remote attacks from the internet to numerous devices.

Although this advanced functionality and infrastructure means the SIM can effectively function as the hardware Root of Trust in an IoT device, the fragmentation challenge isn’t completely removed. This is because device middleware must still be modified to enable access to the SIM services.

It was apparent, therefore, that removing this design hurdle was critical to the development of a scalable, secure IoT ecosystem.

Introducing IoT SAFE

It’s widely recognized that industry collaboration is key to promoting a secure, interoperable connected future. To further extend the capability of the SIM, GSMA and SIMalliance have partnered on IoT SAFE (IoT SIM Applet For Secure End-2-End Communication).

IoT SAFE directly addresses the significant challenge of industry fragmentation. By specifying a common API and defining a standardized way to leverage the SIM to securely perform mutual authentication between IoT device applications and the cloud, it’s far easier for IoT device makers to execute security services and manage credentials across millions of devices.

And as all of the critical security functions are executed on the SIM rather than untrusted areas of the device, the robustness of the mutual authentication is assured. Also, a remote interface enables the management of the secure IoT applet throughout its lifecycle.

Delivering Flexibility and Maximizing Investments

The benefits of IoT SAFE go beyond scalability and security. For example, as security functions can be delegated to the SIM, device makers aren’t solely dependent on cloud provider services to secure their products and solutions.

In addition, SIMs are already widely deployed to ensure trusted connectivity across the mobile ecosystem.

“For over 25 years the SIM has been the ‘Root of Trust’ for the mobile industry, its security constantly evolving over this period so that today the SIM secures over 9.4 billion cellular-connected devices[1],” said Graham Trickey, Head of IoT, GSMA. “IoT SAFE extends the security capabilities of the SIM even further to secure new IoT services end-to-end, underpinning a new generation of IoT services and billions of new IoT devices.”

An estimated 5.6 billion SIMs were shipped in 2018 alone, with estimated total shipments from 2013 to 2018 hitting 32 billion. This can be leveraged to deliver enhanced security for devices with minimal additional investment.

IoT SAFE enables all ecosystem players to homogenously leverage the advanced features of the SIM and the supporting infrastructure to deliver enhanced security at scale, increasing flexibility and maximizing investments. To find out more about IoT SAFE and delivering privacy and security by design, click here and contact SIMalliance.

Written by Remy Cricco, Chairman of the SIMalliance
Source: IoT For All

Posted on

Cultivating a Healthier IoT Technology Ecosystem

Illustration: © IoT For All

Although the global number of Internet of Things, or IoT, implementations is soaring, there’s more to a flourishing network than merely hooking things up. Your choice of IoT technology is just as important as what you do with it, but selecting the right components and software may be tricky. For your framework to do its job and thrive under pressure, you need to consider how its aspects interact with each other and impact your mission.

This concept is similar to building a strong business team — when hiring new employees, you probably take pains to find individuals who aren’t only talented but also suitable matches for your corporate culture. While you might not expect an IoT sensor or gateway to base its actions on the moral ethos that drives your enterprise, the principle still stands. Healthy IoT ecosystems revolve around frameworks that maintain sufficient self-awareness to serve your organizational needs even as the parameters change.

Defining IoT Technology Health

Setting performance criteria is integral to monitoring and maintaining the health of any IoT system. Leaders who want to generate meaningful data that reflects the realities of running an enterprise must be willing to overcome a few hurdles that stand between them and rigorous oversight.

Getting Precise

Internet of Things implementations are anything but static, and this can result in imprecision. Here are three examples of how IoT applications might get confusing:

• A city creates a litter-monitoring system to track how well its garbage services clean the streets. Upon realizing that this approach exposes it to enormous blind spots, it decides to expand its IoT by transitioning from closed-circuit cameras to onboard rubbish truck sensors.

• A manufacturing firm employs an automated fabrication process to build its turbine engines. It monitors plant performance by connecting the programmable logic controllers, or PLCs, that run its machinery to a bespoke IoT setup. As safety regulations change, however, it’s forced to add new data points to its monitoring practices, increasing the amount of information that flows through its networks and into its data silos.

• A university seeks to control its on-campus utility costs by monitoring occupancy and automating building lighting. From there, it might eventually hit upon the ingenious idea to start tracking in-room temperatures and heating system power consumption. Or it might gradually migrate from monitoring large common spaces all at once to placing sensors near entryways, windows, vents and other notorious HVAC troublespots.

These hypotheticals demonstrate the importance of implementing flexible ecosystem health metrics. Overarching IoT technology frameworks, also known as application enablement platforms or AEPs, help enterprises construct end-to-end perspectives that keep them plugged in without risking tunnel vision.

Selecting IoT Health Rubrics

The AEP-powered approach makes IoT technology oversight a bit more robust. AEPs that include supervisory tools are conveniently able to monitor their own performance, so you don’t have to worry about who’s watching the watchers.

That being said, you should hone in on trend-monitoring practices that apply to your business. Here are a few universally relevant examples:

• Security oversight involves not only monitoring who has access to the system but also tracking where the information it produces ends up. Risk analysis and privacy governance practices come with unique health indicators, such as incident response histories and breach event scopes, that you’ll want to include in your routine IoT checkups.

• Network performance monitoring should be familiar to anyone who’s ever dealt with IT administration. When data starts flowing at full bore, it’s good to be able to adjust loads, examine transmission losses and keep tabs on resource parameters such as power consumption. Industry-standard network performance factors must figure into your health assessments if you want your framework to achieve its inner potential.

• Data value tracking practices help you determine how beneficial specific aspects of your IoT truly are. Organically evolving IoT implementations make it crystal clear how information that powers valuable business insights one day might prove far less useful the next. On top of monitoring data streams from your operational activities, it’s wise to conduct regular meta-analyses of the end results. For instance, you might trace the decision-making processes informed by the raw evidence as well as the real-world effects of acting on it. Maintaining an awareness of the ROI associated with your data methodologies also makes it far simpler to steer clear of devastatingly poor KPIs.

• Operational cost supervision should be a given for any budget-concerned enterprise. Your IoT framework not only needs money to run but also demands an investment of time and effort to launch and master. While choosing a superior AEP takes a lot of the sting out of the overhead, wise users still institute their own cost monitoring practices.

Each implementation deserves its own approach to health upkeep. Your framework might also benefit from closer attention in some areas than others or completely forego specific rubrics. Unlike many generic business tools, everything revolves around the implementation and your goals.

Three Smart Strategies for Enhanced IoT Technology Stack Health

You’ve chosen the specific well-being trends you wish to track. Now, you’ll need a system that exposes their nuances. This generally means looking beyond the fresh-out-of-the-box solutions that many IoT providers offer in favor of custom implementations and communication tools.

1. Keep Your Data Cleaner

An IoT technology stack could include sensors from a variety of manufacturers. The business processes or machinery you’re monitoring might all be uniform, such as in a factory that was outfitted in one fell swoop. Alternatively, it might be wildly disparate, such as in plants that underwent partial renovations or ownership changes. Your health monitoring practices must unify such sources if you ever hope to reveal unbiased insights.

Going back to the employee hiring analogy, most companies onboard their new workers with uniform training programs and continuing professional education. When dealing with IoT technology, similar homogenization can be achieved through practices such as data sanitization and validating, filtering and organizing inputs for further consumption.

Sanitizing your IoT health data makes your life easier when it comes time to feed the info into dashboards and analysis tools. It also shields you from drawing incorrect conclusions based on outliers and process-induced irregularities.

2. Simulate Performance

You don’t have to naively await disasters to learn how healthy your framework is. Creating a digital twin can reveal problems before they cause real-world havoc by showing you how your IoT technology stack might perform under ideal — and undesirable — conditions.

Simulation is also an illuminating practice for understanding prior incidents. By running mock-ups, you can analyze critical events that preceded known problems and identify alternative avoidance strategies.

3. Establish Better Baselines

The Internet of Things makes it extremely easy to generate operational baselines that place later analyses in a more useful context. On the other hand, it’d be nice not to have to repeat mistakes that others have already suffered through.

This is where choosing a well-supported, exhaustive AEP saves the day. An IoT technology stack that’s demonstrated its ability to adapt to a variety of business models and data-gathering strategies grants you the benefit of prior experience even if you’re a complete novice. Since IoT health monitoring is indispensable to the well-being of your enterprise, it pays to pick total ecosystem solutions that give you a head start.

Written by Brian McGlynn, President and Co-Founder at Davra

Source: IoT For All

Posted on

Selecting the Right Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) Technology

Illustration: © IoT For All

The world of the Internet of Things (IoT), and its uses across industries, is expanding drastically. It’s transforming the way human and devices interact with each other, creating market opportunities and enabling change across industries. Continuous enhancements in various technologies make it very difficult for the user to select the best technology for their specific needs. Based on various parameters, there are a few low-power wide-area network (LPWAN) technologies to consider.

Some broad parameters to include and the best protocols for long-range communications are the following:

  • Type of industry application
  • Easy access to technology and hardware availability
  • RF band of operation
  • Data rate
  • Security concerns
  • Availability of technology support
  • Power consumption

LoRA 

LoRa stands for long-range radio. It’s a wireless protocol specifically designed for long-range, low-power communications. It mainly targets M2M and IoT networks, and it was developed by Semtech. This technology enables public or multi-tenant networks to connect the number of applications running on the same network.

LoRa Alliance was formed to standardize LPWAN for IoT; it’s a non-profit association that features membership from the number of key market shareholders, which includes CISCO, Actility, MicroChip, IBM, STMicro, Semtech, Orange Mobile and many more. This alliance is key to providing interoperability among multiple nationwide networks.

LoRa devices offer features such as long-range, low-power consumption, and secure data transmission for IoT applications. These technologies provide greater range than cellular networks and can be used by public, private or hybrid networks. It can easily plug into existing infrastructure and enables low-cost battery-operated IoT applications.

Applications for LoRa wireless technology include smart metering, inventory tracking, vending machine data and monitoring, and automotive industry and utility applications. These technologies are widely deployed and incorporated with many systems; even the small maker-style computers like Arduino have LoRa options. Accordingly, it’s very easy to develop LoRa applications for both large-scale manufacture and more specialist applications.

SigFox

SigFox is a French global network operator, currently deployed in 19 countries, covering 1.2 million km². It operates at 868 or 915 MHz and transmits very small amounts of data very slowly (300 b/s) using binary phase-shift keying (BPSK). It can achieve long-range coverage and has general characteristics that make it well suited for any IoT application requiring only small amounts of data.

SigFox sets up antennas on towers (like a cell phone company) and receives data transmissions from devices (like parking sensors or water meters). These transmissions use frequencies that are unlicensed with a 915 MHz ISM band in the US, which is the same frequency a cordless phone uses.

This technology is suitable for any application that needs to send small, infrequent bursts of data. Things like basic alarm systems, location monitoring, and simple metering are examples of one-way systems. The signal is sent a few times to “ensure” the message goes across; there are few limitations, such as shorter battery life for battery-powered applications and lack of ability to ensure the message is received by the tower.

LTE-M

LTE-M is an LPWAN radio technology standard developed by 3GPP release, 13 standard that defines narrowband IoT (NB-IoT or LTE Cat NB1). LTE-M leverages lower-cost modules, enables extended battery life, provides better signal penetration, and has the ability to use existing infrastructure.

With uplink and downlink speeds of 375 kb/s in half-duplex mode, Cat M1 supports IoT applications with low to medium data-rate needs. At the same speed, LTE Cat M1 can deliver remote firmware updates over the air (FOTA) within a feasible time period. This creates the best possible IoT connectivity solution for security, scaling, and cost.

It has a narrow bandwidth of 1.4 MHz compared to 20 MHz for regular LTE, giving a longer range. Using the same cell handover features as in regular LTE, mobility is fully supported. It’s possible to roam with LTE-M, as it’s suitable for applications that can be operated across multiple regions. The latency is in the millisecond range, offering real-time communication for time-critical applications. Battery life is up to 10 years, on a single charge with low-cost maintenance, even when end devices can’t be connected directly to the power grid.

A discourse on various IoT protocols is helpful when trying to select the best protocols for long-range communication. Due to its dependence on multiple aspects, deciding on the selection of long-range communication wireless technology for your application can still be challenging.

Written by Priyanka Purbe, Senior Firmware development Engineer, VOLANSYS
Source: IoT For All

Posted on

The Role of IoT Identity Management in 2020

Illustration: © IoT For All

In the past few years, the tech market has been unveiling the latest big thing: the Internet of Things (IoT). As a concept, IoT provides a way to wirelessly connect devices to a network and transfer data without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. 

The ability to control devices remotely has become popular with consumers. These days, security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, speakers and more all offer IoT.

Outside the home, companies use interconnected devices in their engineering processes to build market-specific products and services. In fact, according to a report by the statistics portal Statista, the world is expected to witness over 75 billion connected devices by 2025.

This unprecedented growth in the number of connected devices will impact security, cost, and identity at large. This is because traditional authentication systems were programmed for human identities, whereas IoT devices and objects use unique identifiers (UIDs).

Identity and Access Management, and Why It’s Essential to IoT

The role of access and identity management (IAM) in IoT is expanding like never before. IAM is focused on identifying people and managing access to different data types (like sensitive data, non-sensitive data, or device data). IAM helps identify devices, too, while managing user access to data, thus safeguarding against breaches and malicious activities.

In the age of IoT, the issue is not that connected things can be accessed effortlessly, but rather that access to these things poses risks, and thus, must be protected. 

What are the key identity management challenges in IoT? 

Digital identity management is one of the crucial areas where IoT falls short. A primary reason is that security concerns may leak to disastrous consequences like financial loss, confidentiality leaks, and data tampering. 

Watch out for the following challenges that may spring up while incorporating the role of identity management in IoT: 

Credential Abuse 

Credential abuse is the deliberate use of stolen credentials, like usernames and passwords, to access sensitive data. At the workplace, this can happen when employees innocently share their passwords with coworkers. They may do this to help colleagues avoid IT delays that can occur while renewing a forgotten password. 

In most cases, unlawful intent is what drives credential abuse. Lack of a proper IAM or CIAM solution allows hackers unintended access to places they could exploit. 

A release by BeyondTrust finds that 64 percent of respondents suffered direct or indirect breaches due to employees abusing access privileges.

Getting back to IoT, not many of those interlinked devices come with a password management system strong enough to shield data at a corporate level. According to a study by the analysts at ABI Research, the lack thereof means an excellent opportunity for malicious drivers. 

Default Password Risks

One of the major problems with IAM and IoT devices is that a lot of them come with default passwords. Though users are instructed to change it later on, not everyone acts responsibly. 

Nevertheless, those who change their default passwords use common, easy-to-guess username/password pairs. This is a risky habit.

To address this rising concern, California legislators have passed the CCPA (effective January 1, 2020). This act makes it mandatory for connected IoT devices to encrypt unique passwords if these devices are produced or sold in the state of California.

It seems like that’s the right step in securing privacy. But there is a downside, too. 

If everyone in the business is aware of the password, there will be people who shouldn’t have access but will end up with unnecessary privileges. 

Virtual Eavesdropping

Most IoT devices are linked to virtual personal assistants that are always listening and collecting information. But not many companies are clear about how they plan to use such information. Therefore, there’s always an understandable worry that personal assistants might spill out company secrets. 

To truly address these challenges, the following are a few key security capabilities on which enterprises can design a purpose-built solution: 

  • End-to-end encryption to protect data at endpoints and everywhere in between.
  • Fully-equipped preference and consent management system for users to control their IoT ecosystem.
  • Adaptive authentication and data access regulations for contextual control. 

Approaching Identity Management in the IoT Era

Historically, employee-based identity and access management (IAM), or customer identity and access management (CIAM) platforms, were made for user devices like smartphones and computers. Today, the concept has drastically evolved to include every smart device, object, and service available within the IT ecosystem. 

When integrating IoT with your access management tools, you should consider these steps:

  • Create a flexible identity lifecycle for IoT devices.
  • Determine a process for registering IoT devices.
  • Set up security safeguards.
  • Outline policies for protecting personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Establish company procedures for access control.
  • Create a well-defined authentication and authorization process for connected devices.

Conclusion

IoT devices open up access to a vast amount of valuable data. Therefore, the role of identity management in IoT architecture must include robust data protection strategies. To protect your company, be sure to speak with an expert about integrating your IoT with your CIAM or IAM platform.

Written by Rakesh Soni, CEO & Co-founder, LoginRadius
Source: IoT For All

Posted on

The Role of IoT Identity Management in 2020

Illustration: © IoT For All

In the past few years, the tech market has been unveiling the latest big thing: the Internet of Things (IoT). As a concept, IoT provides a way to wirelessly connect devices to a network and transfer data without human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. 

The ability to control devices remotely has become popular with consumers. These days, security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, speakers and more all offer IoT.

Outside the home, companies use interconnected devices in their engineering processes to build market-specific products and services. In fact, according to a report by the statistics portal Statista, the world is expected to witness over 75 billion connected devices by 2025.

This unprecedented growth in the number of connected devices will impact security, cost, and identity at large. This is because traditional authentication systems were programmed for human identities, whereas IoT devices and objects use unique identifiers (UIDs).

Identity and Access Management, and Why It’s Essential to IoT

The role of access and identity management (IAM) in IoT is expanding like never before. IAM is focused on identifying people and managing access to different data types (like sensitive data, non-sensitive data, or device data). IAM helps identify devices, too, while managing user access to data, thus safeguarding against breaches and malicious activities.

In the age of IoT, the issue is not that connected things can be accessed effortlessly, but rather that access to these things poses risks, and thus, must be protected. 

What are the key identity management challenges in IoT? 

Digital identity management is one of the crucial areas where IoT falls short. A primary reason is that security concerns may leak to disastrous consequences like financial loss, confidentiality leaks, and data tampering. 

Watch out for the following challenges that may spring up while incorporating the role of identity management in IoT: 

Credential Abuse 

Credential abuse is the deliberate use of stolen credentials, like usernames and passwords, to access sensitive data. At the workplace, this can happen when employees innocently share their passwords with coworkers. They may do this to help colleagues avoid IT delays that can occur while renewing a forgotten password. 

In most cases, unlawful intent is what drives credential abuse. Lack of a proper IAM or CIAM solution allows hackers unintended access to places they could exploit. 

A release by BeyondTrust finds that 64 percent of respondents suffered direct or indirect breaches due to employees abusing access privileges.

Getting back to IoT, not many of those interlinked devices come with a password management system strong enough to shield data at a corporate level. According to a study by the analysts at ABI Research, the lack thereof means an excellent opportunity for malicious drivers. 

Default Password Risks

One of the major problems with IAM and IoT devices is that a lot of them come with default passwords. Though users are instructed to change it later on, not everyone acts responsibly. 

Nevertheless, those who change their default passwords use common, easy-to-guess username/password pairs. This is a risky habit.

To address this rising concern, California legislators have passed the CCPA (effective January 1, 2020). This act makes it mandatory for connected IoT devices to encrypt unique passwords if these devices are produced or sold in the state of California.

It seems like that’s the right step in securing privacy. But there is a downside, too. 

If everyone in the business is aware of the password, there will be people who shouldn’t have access but will end up with unnecessary privileges. 

Virtual Eavesdropping

Most IoT devices are linked to virtual personal assistants that are always listening and collecting information. But not many companies are clear about how they plan to use such information. Therefore, there’s always an understandable worry that personal assistants might spill out company secrets. 

To truly address these challenges, the following are a few key security capabilities on which enterprises can design a purpose-built solution: 

  • End-to-end encryption to protect data at endpoints and everywhere in between.
  • Fully-equipped preference and consent management system for users to control their IoT ecosystem.
  • Adaptive authentication and data access regulations for contextual control. 

Approaching Identity Management in the IoT Era

Historically, employee-based identity and access management (IAM), or customer identity and access management (CIAM) platforms, were made for user devices like smartphones and computers. Today, the concept has drastically evolved to include every smart device, object, and service available within the IT ecosystem. 

When integrating IoT with your access management tools, you should consider these steps:

  • Create a flexible identity lifecycle for IoT devices.
  • Determine a process for registering IoT devices.
  • Set up security safeguards.
  • Outline policies for protecting personally identifiable information (PII).
  • Establish company procedures for access control.
  • Create a well-defined authentication and authorization process for connected devices.

Conclusion

IoT devices open up access to a vast amount of valuable data. Therefore, the role of identity management in IoT architecture must include robust data protection strategies. To protect your company, be sure to speak with an expert about integrating your IoT with your CIAM or IAM platform.

Written by Rakesh Soni, CEO & Co-founder, LoginRadius
Source: IoT For All

Posted on

The Downside to Do-It-Yourself IoT

Three angry emojis on a background of colorful wires
Illustration: © IoT For All

Today, industrial companies are deriving real-world value from Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms, yet some still opt for resource-intensive, self-made do-it-yourself Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives. While well-intentioned, these initiatives can have long-standing detrimental impacts on cost, time, people, and scaling.

Digital transformation is becoming a table stakes step process change to effectively compete in today’s marketplace. However, this transformative change has led some non-digitally native companies to over-extending themselves and opting to travel the digital journey entirely internally.

Research has shown this path is not as effective and that partnering with digital companies is how industrial companies can quickly derive business value and still leverage internal strengths for hitting strategic goals. Consider this:

The goal is not to become a digital company. Instead, for industrial companies to capitalize on digital technologies to defend and advance their advantage.

National Association of Manufacturers

IoT initiatives are not exempt from this underestimation by industrial companies opting for the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. Three out of four  self-initiated IoT projects are reported failures, many of which cause rippling effects throughout an organization. The underlying challenges inhibiting these DIY IoT projects from success is the money, time and people required to develop IoT internally, as well as to scale the solution  across the company and value chain. These challenges present significant organizational hurdles. Below, we explain why.

DIY Is a Budget Buster

Investors need to see their money go into projects that result in quick, short-term wins, measurable ROI, and scalable use cases that will sustain long-term growth and benefit the bottom line. In many instances, homegrown IoT deployments have spiraled into massive cost centers with no clear reward or future benefits in sight. There are three distinct downsides to DIY IoT from a budget perspective:

Total Cost of Ownership

While the initial up-front price to purchasing an IIoT platform or solution may seem steep to some companies, the alternative to developing it in-house and accommodating for the functionality required is far costlier. A DIY project’s total cost of ownership can be almost 4x greater in a factory setting when compared to adopting a third-party IIoT platform.

Costs for sustaining the DIY initiative can spiral with required continuous investments in the IoT system’s security, resiliency, scalability, and development of new features. Locking in to this ongoing expenditure can quickly run into the millions, resulting in bloated annual expenses and recurring negative annual outcomes. An IIoT platform provider with knowledge of agile software development processes is better-suited to quickly roll-out innovative applications on its roadmap than an industrial company.

Time Investment

“Time is money” for any organization. It’s continuously top-of-mind for executives, whether it’s deploying resources to develop a new system internally or creating a product to improve customer experiences. Specifically, developing a software solution entirely internally is a time-intensive and therefore costly endeavor. This time-consuming process lengthens exponentially for non-digitally native companies who may be experts in engineering the next great heavy-industrial machine, and lesser so in agile software development and programming.

Developing an IIoT solution internally can take approximately 2.5 years when adding up the time it takes to build and orchestrate a team, to develop the application, and to move it into production. Partnering with a software provider who offers a leading IoT platform is estimated to take half that time to boost proof of concepts (PoCs) into production and even quicker than that in some instances — 89 percent of PTC’s IIoT survey respondents expect to transition use cases to production within a year of purchase.

Competitive Pressures

With competitive pressures mounting, the time-crunch to adopt IoT grows two-fold where industrial adopters of third-party IoT solutions are outpacing the market. Industrial companies without IoT in production are quickly becoming the minority; IDC predicts by the end of 2019, 75 percent of manufacturers will have integrated IoT into their operations.

With DIY IoT initiatives, there are many unknowns, which can lead to delays in implementation and return on investment. With the current speed of change and innovation in the marketplace, that means ultimately falling behind the competition.

Culture Convergence Is a Must

Corporate cultures are changing out of necessity in industrial companies, as operational technology (OT) and informational technology (IT) groups must converge to make digital transformation initiatives, including IoT, a reality.

Industrial companies are already pressed with major skills gap challenges for hiring and developing front-line workers, creating an anticipated 2.4 million manufacturing worker shortage. There’s also a forthcoming one million worker shortage in software developers and engineers facing the United States. Silicon Valley and innovation hotspots have traditionally been the desired area of employment for IT-oriented talent, creating an additional recruiting challenge for industrial firms.

In order to develop and manage a scalable IoT solution internally, an industrial company will need traditionally walled-off IT and OT in-house staff to converge, as well as the ability to lure in digitally-native talent in increasingly competitive labor markets. Acquiring, orchestrating, and optimizing the required skills to enable all this is a massive organizational overhaul and a timely and costly endeavor.

Scaling Out of Pilot Purgatory

The inability to escape pilot purgatory has plagued many industrial companies’ digital transformation progress. Only 30 percent of pilots in Industry 4.0 programs scale out of PoCs, leaving 70 percent of time and resources spent at the pilot stage to waste. IoT is no exception: 74 percent of IoT initiatives are not considered a compete success. The top cited IoT inhibitors are lack of resources/knowledge to scale and the high cost of scaling.

Pairing DIY approaches that already exhaust resources and costs with these scaling encounters only dampens the likelihood that the IoT use case will reach production. Partnering with an IIoT platform and cloud provider with a proven history of scaling IIoT deployments and similar use cases is the most promising path to circumvent scaling challenges.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to DIY IoT, research shows there has been more failure than success. That should not be interpreted to mean that digital transformation initiatives that leverage IoT technology are not worth investing in, but a robust partner ecosystem is critical to capturing this value.

Adopting an IIoT platform is a cost-effective and timely way for industrial companies to develop IoT use cases that expand out of incubation zones and into the real-world. A proven platform provides the development on-ramps and role-based applications for both OT and IT personnel to generate and recognize value. When compared to DIY’, IoT platforms significantly expedite time-to-value for industrial companies while providing the foundation for scaling IoT across operations. In today’s rapidly changing global ecosystem, industrial companies need these digital allies to overcome these pressing challenges and prioritize resources towards their own competencies.

Source: IoT For All

Posted on

How IoT-Based Devices Are Helping Cities Grow Smarter

A city skyline and a garbage collection vehicle
Illustration: © IoT For All

Every second, millions of new devices are connecting to the internet. The increase in the availability of the smartphone is contributing in no small measure to the development of smart cities.

Smart City IoT Applications

Today, your smartphone can communicate, interact, and link with a vast range of smart devices and sensors that are present in our environment.

For example, in today’s world, with the help of a professional diagnostic tool on your phone,  you can connect your phone to your car to scan and get diagnostic codes, which you can use to diagnose the check-engine light that appears on your dashboard.

This is just one of the numerous examples of smartphone interaction with devices enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT).

There are other examples, such as connecting your smartphone device to your washing machine to see water usage and electricity consumption.

All this points towards the creation of a smart city where computer systems can connect to IoT-enabled smart devices and sensors to get valuable information and data that can be used to manage cities efficiently.

Definition of a Smart City

A smart city can be defined as an innovative city or municipality that seeks to enhance the quality of life of its inhabitants by internalizing smart technology. A smart city seeks to improve the operational efficiency and quality of urban services to reduce waste through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

Smart technology for smart cities can be implemented in sectors such as power supply, public transportation systems, sanitation, solid waste management, etc.

What Is IoT?

The Internet of Things can be seen as a network of billions of devices and sensors that are capable of connecting to the internet to collect data and to share information.

Interestingly, anything can become IoT-enabled if it can be connected to the internet. For instance, if a light bulb can be switched on and off with an application from your phone, that light bulb has become an IoT-enabled device.

The relationship between IoT and smart cities stems from the notion that city infrastructures, such as street lights and transportation systems, can be filled with sensors so they can be better controlled to fulfill human desires.

Components of a Smart City

  • Smart Infrastructure

 A smart city is characterized by smart infrastructure that is optimized for performance while reducing waste and saving on energy consumption at the same time. The whole idea of a smart city when it comes to infrastructure is to have an energy-efficient infrastructure and one that is also environmentally friendly through the use of intelligent technology.

For instance, a street light that only lights up when it senses movement or when someone walks under it is a way of reducing energy consumption in a smart city.

  • Smart City Air Management

Another attribute of a smart city is its ability to analyze air pollution data and to make certain emission forecasts for the coming days with a certain degree of accuracy. The City Air Management Tool is a cloud-based software that was designed to collect and analyze air pollution data and to make emissions forecasts.

  • Smart Traffic Management

This deals with the smart city’s ability to optimize traffic control. A smart city needs to put technological parameters in place for an intelligent traffic control solution.

For instance, in smart cities, certain integrated sensors have been programmed to send real-time traffic flow updates to a designated platform. The platform then undertakes a critical analysis of the data and then, in a matter of seconds, automatically adjusts traffic lights within the city to ease traffic conditions.

  • Smart Parking

Another remarkable attribute of a smart city is intelligent parking solutions. Sensors are installed in parking areas, and these sensors keep a record of when a driver leaves a particular parking lot. These sensors also inform drivers of areas where free parking spaces are available. This information is sent to the smartphone of the driver.

  • Smart Waste Management

This aims to address environmental issues associated with inefficient waste management and also to improve on the efficiency of waste collection and to reduce operational costs associated with waste management.

For example, sensors are installed on waste containers, and once the waste gets full to a certain level, those in charge of waste management receive a message through their smartphone, and a truck driver comes to empty a full waste container. They do not have to come when the container has not reached a full level.

How IoT Is Enhancing the Development of Smart Cities

IoT is helping to enhance the transformation of municipalities into “smart cities” all over the world with its enormous potential. The positive results include enhanced traffic management, increased safety, reduced levels of pollution, low energy consumption, and better quality of life for inhabitants.

With the emergence of IoT, the long-conceived dream of building smart cities is being realized.

The advancement in information technology and the increase in the number of devices that can connect to the internet has contributed in no small measure to the development of smart cities. In 2017, research conducted by Gartner, a renowned analyst, revealed that over 8.4 billion devices would be connected to the internet all over the world, and the number of connected devices could rise to 30 billion, by 2025.

This gradual increase in connected devices and development in IT has the potential to make the realization of the dream of building smart cities more real than ever imagined a few years ago.

Nowadays, we find sensors installed in most vehicles; most of the equipment we use today have built-in sensors.

Furthermore, data generated from IoT-enabled devices is already helping large organizations in developing intelligent business systems that are used to prevent crime and to manage car parks. Even fast translation services like The Word Point are not left out of the changes brought about by the IoT, as they’ll need to upgrade on prompt service delivery across multiple devices.

Better yet, city governments in smart America are looking to invest over $41 trillion in the next two decades to upgrade and position their existing infrastructure, so that it can benefit from IoT.

Here are some highlights of changes that are witnessed in smart cities today:

  • Smart roads that can adjust to changing traffic situations.
  • Intelligent buildings that are energy efficient.
  • Smart lighting with street lights that can adapt to changes within its immediate environment.
  • Smart collection, monitoring, and management of waste.
  • Smart energy-efficient grids for low power consumption.

As information technology and IoT continue to grow and develop, it has become necessary for many cities and municipalities to upgrade their existing infrastructure to make them IoT-enabled (capable of connecting to computers and of being controlled by computer systems).

Experts in smart city initiatives are already dreaming of self-driving cars capable of taking users to their destination and then self-driving themselves to the parking lot, and informing the owners when they are safely parked.

While this sounds so good, a lot of changes still need to be made. First off, the road configuration needs to be altered or rearranged to foster better interconnectivity.

The good news is that the actualization of smart cities is more visible today than ever imagined thanks to the enormous growth recorded in information technology.

Written by Frank Hamilton
Source: IoT For All