The Week In Review: IoT

IIoT’s profit prospects; Intel inks a deal with AWS; security experts call on Congress.


Some consumer IoT products are actually useful and helpful in daily life, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Honeywell Lyric for home automation, David Pogue writes. Then there are the products that make most people scratch their heads – IoT water bottles, the IoT toilet-paper dispenser, the IoT toothbrush, IoT umbrella, IoT fork, the IoT egg tray, and so on, he notes. “Most people (and most reporters) who use the term ‘Internet of Things’ are talking about consumer products. And sure enough: IoT adoption in consumer products isn’t what you’d call white hot,” Pogue writes. “There is, however, a second IoT universe where these technologies make a lot more sense: Industrial and commercial uses.” Accenture forecasts corporate enterprises will be spending $500 billion a year on Industrial Internet of Things technologies by 2020.

Intel and Amazon Web Services have agreed to collaborate on developing products and services for the smart home, along with IoT-based asset tracking for industrial applications. The chipmaker will integrate its smart-home hub with Alexa Skills, the voice service for the Echo product of AWS. The companies will also work on a smart speaker reference design with an Intel chip, aimed at voice-enabled appliances.

VeriSolutions is utilizing AT&T’s IoT technology as part of its IoT platform to ensure food safety in the restaurants it serves. These include sensors with an embedded AT&T Global SIM to collect humidity and temperature data, a data analytics hub to collect and aggregate sensor information, and a user interface with the AT&T Control Center to monitor the sensors.

The October 21 cyberattacks on Dyn inconvenienced many people, unable to contact their favorite websites. Such distributed denial-of-service attacks have the potential to harm or kill people, cybersecurity experts testified before Congress. Kevin Fu, a University of Michigan professor specializing in cybersecurity, said hospitals are no place for unsecured IoT devices, for instance. Fu told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that “significant change in cyber hygiene” is needed to make IoT devices more reliable and secure.

While unsecured IoT devices were used in the October DDoS attack that crippled many websites, unsecured routers are also vulnerable to hacking, with some vendors providing routers that have open, unsecured ports, this blog post notes.

Market Research
The IoT security market is forecast to reach $37 billion by 2021, for a compound annual growth rate of 36%, according to the Global Internet of Things (IoT) Security Market Research Report 2016. A sample of the report is available here.

Sensify Security is the latest new member of the Industrial Internet Consortium. “With our abilities of building ground-up cyber-defense capabilities in IoT operations, Sensify is committed to contributing – along with other IIC members – towards creating reference architectures & best practices for IoT security to empower operators across industry verticals to rise up to today’s challenges of cyber-security,” Susanto Irwan, co-founder of Sensify Security, said in a statement.

IoT In Action
Kii partnered with AQMesh to help The Hamburg Port Authority measure and analyze air pollutants at the German port. “The IoT pilot project has been very successful for us,” said Ulrich Baldauf, Head of IT Strategy at HPA. “We have been able to measure numerous parameters of air pollution live, e.g. the emission of particulate matter of particle size PM2.5 and PM10, or, in some cases, even nitrogen dioxides, which generally account for only 10 billionths of the total air. The Kii platform enabled us to collect the various data sources in a uniform manner and to prepare them for analysis.”

Tony Opferman, development manager for Rohde & Schwarz, offered an overview of IoT communications protocols on Wednesday morning at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, Calif., to a standing-room-only audience. He took note of the “three A’s” that Verizon Communications identifies with IoT devices – they must be actionable, autonomous, and aware. Rohde & Schwarz can provide expertise in testing IoT devices, he said.

At the IoT Developer Day event put on Tuesday by Sierra Wireless in San Jose, Chief Engineer, Technology Standards, Gus Vos made the case for LTE-M/Cat-M1 as “a revolutionary cellular technology.” Cat-M1 satisfies the “three C’s” of IoT devices – cost, coverage, and current, he said. Its magic is in the low data rates and low data usage, Vos added. “I’ve been in the cellular space for a long time,” he said. “This is a big change.”

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has ratified Bluetooth 5, albeit without the expected mesh networking specifications, which will be wrapped up next year. Bluetooth 5 is seen offering a boost to home automation systems, among other IoT applications. Cypress Semiconductor and Nordic Semiconductor are currently sampling chips adhering to the Bluetooth 5 standard.

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory this week launched its Internet of Things Internet protocol testing services, addressing IoT products in connected cars, home environments, industrial networks, and smart cities. “As the world becomes increasingly connected and demand for IoT devices grows, companies are facing the challenge of how best to ensure interoperability, functionality, and security, while maximizing quality of experience for customers,” Timothy Winters, Senior Executive, Software and IP networking, UNH-IOL, said in a statement. “The UNH-IOL IoT IP Testing Services provide a competitive advantage by enabling emerging IoT companies to validate their devices through trusted, third-party interoperability testing.” UNH-IOL also announced it will offer testing for the IPv6 Ready IoT Logo launching in the spring of 2017.

The Aruba unit of Hewlett Packard Enterprise unveiled some IoT-related products. The ClearPass Universal Profiler discovers and fingerprints IP-enabled IoT devices. The product can work with the Aruba ClearPass Policy Manager. Also rolled out was the Aruba 2540 Switch Series, which has an enhanced version of the ArubaOS-Switch operating system to provide power and security at the edge of a network.

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