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Why the Internet of things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon—ubiquitous connected things providing key physical data and further processing of that data in the cloud to deliver business insights— presents a huge opportunity for many players in all businesses and industries. Many companies are organizing themselves to focus on IoT and the connectivity of their future products and services. Infocentro is no exception and we aim to be the pioneers of the business IOT in Mexico.

       

For the IoT industry to thrive there are three categories of challenges to overcome and this is true for any new trend in technology not only IoT:

  • Technology
  • Business
  • Society

Technology

This part is covering all the technologies needed to make IoT systems function smoothly as a standalone solution or part of existing systems. Cloud Security Alliance (CSA)  listed some of the root causes of such technological challenges:

  • Many IoT Systems are poorly designed and implemented, using diverse protocols and technologies that create complex configurations.
  • Lack of mature IoT technologies and business processes.
  • Limited guidance for life cycle maintenance and management of IoT devices.
  • Limited best practices available for IoT developers.
  • There is a lack of standards for authentication and authorization of IoT edge devices.
  • There are no best practices for IoT-based incident response activities.
  • Audit and Logging standards are not defined for IoT components.
  • Restricted interfaces available IoT devices to interact with security devices and applications.
  • No focus yet on identifying methods for achieving situational awareness of the security posture of an organization’s IoT assets.

SECURITY

IoT has already turned into a serious security concern that has drawn the attention of prominent tech firms and government agencies across the world. The hacking of baby monitors, smart fridges, thermostats, drug infusion pumps, cameras and even assault rifles are signifying a security nightmare being caused by the future of IoT. So many new nodes being added to networks and the internet will provide malicious actors with innumerable attack vectors and possibilities to carry out their evil deeds, especially since a considerable number of them suffer from security holes.

CONNECTIVITY

Connecting so many devices will be one of the biggest challenges of the future of IoT, and it will defy the very structure of current communication models and the underlying technologies. At present we rely on the centralized, server/client paradigm to authenticate, authorize and connect different nodes in a network.

This model is sufficient for current IoT ecosystems, where tens, hundreds or even thousands of devices are involved. But when networks grow to join billions and hundreds of billions of devices, centralized brokered systems will turn into a bottleneck. Such systems will require huge investments and spending in maintaining cloud servers that can handle such large amounts of information exchange, and entire systems can go down if the server becomes unavailable.

The future of IoT will very much have to depend on decentralizing IoT networks. Part of it can become possible by moving functionality to the edge, such as using fog computing models where smart devices such as IoT hubs take charge of time-critical operations and cloud servers take on data gathering and analytical responsibilities.

Other solutions involve the use of peer-to-peer communications, where devices identify and authenticate each other directly and exchange information without the involvement of a broker. Networks will be created in meshes with no single point of failure. This model will have its own set of challenges, especially from a security perspective, but these challenges can be met with some of the emerging IoT technologies such as Blockchain.

COMPATIBILITY AND LONGEVITY

IoT is growing in many different directions, with many different technologies competing to become the standard. This will cause difficulties and require the deployment of extra hardware and software when connecting devices.

Other compatibility issues stem from non-unified cloud services, lack of standardized M2M protocols and diversities in firmware and operating systems among IoT devices.

Some of these technologies will eventually become obsolete in the next few years, effectively rendering the devices implementing them useless. This is especially important, since in contrast to generic computing devices which have a lifespan of a few years, IoT appliances (such as smart fridges or TVs) tend to remain in service for much longer, and should be able to function even if their manufacturer goes out of service

Business

The bottom line is a big motivation for starting, investing in, and operating any business, without a sound and solid business model for IoT we will have another bubble , this model must satisfy all the requirements for all kinds of e-commerce; vertical markets, horizontal markets, and consumer markets. But this category is always a victim of regulatory and legal scrutiny.

End-to-end solution providers operating in vertical industries and delivering services using cloud analytics will be the most successful at monetizing a large portion of the value in IoT. While many IoT applications may attract modest revenue, some can attract more. For little burden on the existing communication infrastructure, operators have the potential to open up a significant source of new revenue using IoT technologies.

Clearly, it is important to understand the value chain and business model for the IoT applications for each category of IoT.

IoT can be divided into 3 categories based on usage and clients base:

  1. Consumer IoT includes the connected devices such as smart cars, phones, watches, laptops, connected appliances, and entertainment systems.
  2. Commercial IoT includes things like inventory controls, device trackers, and connected medical devices.
  3. Industrial IoT covers such things as connected electric meters, waste water systems, flow gauges, pipeline monitors, manufacturing robots, and other types of connected industrial devices and systems

Society

Understanding IoT from the customers and regulators prospective is not an easy task for the following reasons:

  • Customer demands and requirements change constantly.
  • New uses for devices—as well as new devices—sprout and grows at breakneck speeds.
  • Inventing and reintegrating must-have features and capabilities are expensive and take time and resources.
  • The uses for Internet of Things technology are expanding and changing—often in uncharted waters.
  • Consumer Confidence: Each of these problems could put a dent in consumers’ desire to purchase connected products, which would prevent the IoT from fulfilling its true potential.
  • Lack of understanding or education by consumers of best practices for IoT devices security to help in improving privacy, for example change default passwords of IoT devices.