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Living on the Edge of the Internet of Things

edge computing technology IoT internet of things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is ever expanding, with billions of touchpoints constantly requiring attention. Eventually, only cost-effective edge infrastructure will be able to keep up with IoT data processing. The local analytics of edge computing mean faster response times, reduced storage costs, and optimum use of bandwidth, while also supporting data privacy and compliance requirements. The edge computing market is poised to impact a number of industries that demand low-latency and high-availability connectivity.

Innovations on the Edge

Casino Gaming: Edge computing could transform the casino gaming industry. IT service provider Zunesis is currently testing a video analytics app installed near a casino video surveillance camera that uses edge computing to sense when someone under the age of 21 sits down at a card table and triggers an alarm to prompt a spotter on the casino floor to check the person’s ID. Previously, the video feed would have to be analyzed in a room with feeds on multiple screens. According to Zunesis CEO Steve Shaffer, the video analytics app has the potential to save casinos millions of dollars in fines.

Civil Law Enforcement: Research shows that police body cameras can dramatically reduce the number of complaints against officers. As a result, use of body cameras in police forces is expected to increase. Body cameras with edge technology would allow for an officer’s video feed to be compressed and encoded locally, sending short bursts of video to a local edge center. The upload process would be faster and reduce pressure on a central network, which would minimize the chances of data loss or damage.

Smartphones: Smartphones are also making use of the edge. The A11 Bionic chip in Apple’s new iPhone X uses edge technology to power its face identification feature. Previously, the artificial intelligence (AI) used in smartphones (primarily voice recognition for digital assistants) has been powered by the cloud.

Training on the Edge

Preorder Introduction to Edge Computing, a new 5-course program coming soon from IEEE. The program is designed for organizations investing heavily in edge technology and allows for training of entire technical teams at once. Course titles covered include Overview of Edge Computing, Practical Applications of Edge Computing, and The Future of Edge Computing. Connect with an IEEE Content Specialist for more information today.

Resources

Ovenden, James. (23 Jan 2018). Edge Computing And The Future Of Machine Learning. Innovation Enterprise.

Shein, Esther. (Jul 2018). Edge computing market: Far-reaching opportunities for channel partners. SearchITChannel.com.

Shepherd, Keiron. (21 May 2018). Why the Adoption of Edge Computing Demands a New Approach to Data Security. Infosecurity Magazine.

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How Edge Computing Will Drive 5G Technology

Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) more and more devices are connected, including homes, heating systems, fitness trackers, vehicles and more. Gartner projects that IoT devices will climb to a total of 50 billion by 2020, up from 20 billion, and this demand will drive the need for edge computing for data collection and processing.

Edge computing processes data close to the source, allowing real-time data and analysis and improving reliability, performance, and cost. According to the IDC, the global edge analytics market will grow 27.6% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2017 and 2025, a result of the uptick in connected devices.

A Need for Speed

The volume of data generated by IoT devices is growing just as rapidly as the number of devices themselves, and needs to be processed quickly for faster response time and reduced latency. This is critical for businesses who are exploring tech capabilities for revolutionary computing solutions. An extension to the cloud, edge computing enables them to delve deep into data, conduct analytics and make informed decisions. Edge computing also helps alleviate security and privacy concerns.

In a panel of experienced data center executives, Joel Stone, of RagingWire Data Centers, noted, “Edge computing in its most raw form exists in the palm of your hand. True edge computing is pushing the computational load down to the ubiquitous smart phone or tablet devices; because the edge is where the internet meets the physical world.”

5G is Coming

The significant consumer demand for higher speeds leads us to the advent of 5G, which focuses on mobile broadband, low-latency communications and massive machine technologies such as autonomous vehicles (AV). 5G communication is projected to perform upwards of 1000 times faster than 4G, making devices respond in a matter of milliseconds. That means consumers will be able to download a full HD movie onto a mobile device in a matter of seconds. Edge computing will play a pivotal role here, solving a variety of challenges, such as latency, governance, security and monitoring.

With the arrival of 5G comes a change in modeling for edge computing. As a result, the methods, locations and technologies used to deploy infrastructure are changing for data center providers, software developers and more.

Infrastructure of the Future

One company making concrete steps toward the infrastructure of the future is Crown Castle, a leader in cell tower infrastructure. Although cell towers connect millions of devices to the Internet and other phone services every day, the high volume of tower usage, along with the distance, harm latency on the network. Fast, reliable network performance is a necessity with edge computing, and cell towers may not be good enough for the next generation of devices that use 5G.

Crown Castle has shown an interest in the deployment of edge computing and 5G use cases, investing heavily in Vapor IO, a company entrenched in edge computing applications and devices. Crown Castle CEO Jay Brown mentioned edge computing in a Q4 2017 earnings call, saying, “The development of future technologies has the potential to further extend the runway of growth. Emerging technologies, including 5G, autonomous vehicles, augmented or virtual reality and Internet of Things applications will require mission-critical network infrastructure that provides availability anywhere at any time on any device.”

Prepare Your Organization for the Edge

Is your organization making an investment in edge computing? Preorder IEEE’s Introduction to Edge Computing, a new 5-course program coming soon, and train your entire technical team to support this critical technology. It could be your most valuable investment in preparing for the edge.

Resources

Curry, David. (29 May 2018). Cell Tower Companies Look Into Edge Computing Deployment. RTInsights.com.

Miller, Rich. (21 Jun 2014). IoT and Latency Issues Will Guide Edge Deployments. Data Center Frontier.

(31 May 2018). Here are 3 uses of edge computing in today’s world. moneycontrol.com.

(13 Jun 2018). Here’s how edge computing will revolutionise 5G experience. moneycontrol.com.

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6 Things to Consider Before Your Enterprise IoT Deployment

IEEE ai ethics artificial intelligence image

The Internet of Things (IoT), is a vast and growing universe of connected products ranging from fitness trackers and smart TVs to self-driving cars and virtual assistants. It has the potential to disrupt a wide variety of industries. Consumer products are expected to be the largest vertical in terms of IoT spending by 2020. Others include: manufacturing (24%), public sector (23%), services (15%), infrastructure (9%) and financial services (3%).

Plugging into the IoT isn’t simple. It requires a full and complete retrofit of operations, so whatever the use case is for IoT, an organization’s CIO must anticipate critical challenges.

6 Things to Consider

1. Privacy and Security

According to IDC, security and/or privacy concerns ranked as the number one hindrance to IoT deployments among IT decision-makers worldwide. Deploying IoT means constant updates and improvements to keep up with industry best practices, as well as privacy and security concerns. IoT service providers must ensure that enterprise and customer data is going to be safe.

Privacy concerns from hacked data can quickly become an IoT nightmare. The digital ecosystem in IoT tends to have customization that spans a variety of different devices. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all IoT solution, there’s no standard security certification (such as those associated with Microsoft, Dell or Cisco) to help keep it safe.

2. Interoperability Standards

The wide variety of parts and pieces included in IoT have to work together to ensure flawless execution. It’s important for whoever heads up an IoT project to check for things like secure key storage or tamper protection in each and every piece of hardware throughout the system to verify security.

Additionally, all the operating systems that could be involved must be considered. Beyond ensuring an app is compatible with iOs and Android, networks outside Ethernet, like LAN or ZigBee, must be negotiated as well.

3. Hosting

Once you’ve decided how the cloud will work into your IoT solution, the right application service provider (ASP) can provide offsite hosting solutions to lighten up your in-house infrastructure investment.

4. Data Connectivity

Data connectivity, although vastly improved, can still be an IoT implementation challenge. It involves how IoT devices talk to the gateway and the cloud, and what data format they generate. Most IoT gateways available are compatible with general packet radio services (GPRS) and Wi-Fi/LAN, but legacy devices depend on programmable logic controllers (PLCs), telemetry systems and remote terminal units (RTUs) to generate data. So there’s a need for a suitable edge layer that translates transport and data format protocols to send data to the IoT platform. Defining the right combination of transport and data format protocols ahead of deployment will go a long way in helping to ease this process.

5. Incorrect Data Capture

An unfortunate occurrence of the inability of the software to handle certain variances in run time, could cause incorrect data could be recorded, resulting in inaccurate analytics that may not help in making better decisions.

6. Scalability

Consider scalability from the outset and make choices that will allow you to move from design to prototype to wide-scale deployment smoothly and efficiently.

Learn from IoT Experts

These issues are major factors in influencing the decision-making process for enterprises and potential customers in order to ensure a successful IoT deployment. Prepare your organization today with Internet of Things training from IEEE. Our program is a series of eight training courses, led by top researchers in the field, to give your organization the foundational knowledge it needs now in preparation for the Internet of Things.

Resources

Lamp, Michael. (March 2018). IoT for Enterprise: 4 Concerns to Consider Before Deployment. Avnet.

6 key IoT Implementation Challenges for Enterprises to consider. Saviant Consulting.

Hilton, Scott. (14 Apr 2014). 30 Billion “Things” To Consider: How IoT Will Transform Enterprise IT. Dyn.

Marcotorchino, Remy. (27 Jun 2017). Industrial IoT Deployment Challenges: 10 Things Every Business Must Consider. Sierra Wireless.

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How Improved Battery Life Leads to Unlimited Innovation

Extend battery life in your wearable with Wake-Up Radio from IEEE

The Internet of Things (IoT), the ability for devices in our everyday environment to connect and share information, offers amazing potential for positive impact in government, education, finance and transportation, as well as nearly endless consumer applications.

Companies are working to deploy billions of connected devices – from personal health and fitness trackers, to remote home monitoring and management systems, to community data sharing portals – that not only send alerts to your smartphone, but communicate with each other to maximize practicality and productivity. For example, imagine a fire alarm that doesn’t just beep, but shuts off your gas appliances and wakes you with an alert sent to your household phones.

However, as computing power increases, battery life becomes a problem, limiting IoT potential.

Eliminating the Limits

wake-up radio IEEE report

Extending battery life is a must for continued innovation. With the number of IoT devices projected to grow to more than 20 billion in just the next couple of years, energy conservation is critical. The trick lies in balancing power consumption with the performance of future networked devices exclusively dependent on battery power.

In order for IoT technology to flourish, especially in situations where it’s infeasible or impractical to frequently replace batteries (think pacemakers and other medical devices), a reduced need for frequent recharging or replacement of batteries is essential.

A low-power, low-latency solution will allow devices and sensors to last longer and become infinitely more useful.

Enter: Wake-Up Radio

Make IoT Batteries Last Longer: IEEE Wake-Up Radio Infographic: Significantly Improve Battery LifeWake-Up Radio removes the need to compromise between power savings and latency by reducing the significant energy waste that wireless devices cause during their idle communication mode. The radio consumes minute amounts of power while still being in a constant active or listening state. Wake-Up Radio goes into sleep mode with regular intervals in which it will wake up to sample the channel for activity.

Incorporating the additional tiny radio, which runs over Wi-Fi and uses less power, allows the main battery to last significantly longer, by up to 694 days. According to Adrian Stephens, chair of the Wake-Up Radio standards task group, the technology “is suitable for a new class of battery-powered devices that will drive innovation and exciting new applications in the market.”

Get the Report

Academic researchers have worked on wake-up receivers for close to a decade. Now, with Wake-Up Radio, innovation in IoT devices is limitless.

To learn more about the specifics of how Wake-Up Radio works and some potential uses, check out the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio, crafted to help stakeholders better understand the potential of the technology and market. This insightful report is available for purchase at a 50% discount for a limited-time only via IEEE Xplore.

Order now! IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio: An Application, Market, and Technology Impact Analysis of Low-Power/Low-Latency 802.11 Wireless LAN Interfaces.

Resources

(16 Nov 2017). IEEE Releases Report on Wake-Up Radio Technology Aimed at Increasing Battery Life for Wireless Devices. everything RF.

Brogan, Chris. (2 Apr 2018). Learn about IoT with IEEE. Making the Brand: Customer Experience with Chris Brogan.

Mackenzie, Craig. (1 March 2014). Internet of Things device battery life optimization: Engineering design considerations. Embedded Computing Design.

Sharma, Manoj. (October 2017). Wake-Up Radio Systems: A New Perspective. International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer Engineering & Technology.

Wilhelmsson, Leif and Sundman, Dennis. (18 Dec 2017). Wake-Up Radio – A key component of IoT? Ericsson Research Blog.

An Internet of Things. Postscapes.

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The Race to the Edge of the Network

iot industry 4.0 concept,industrial engineer using software (augmented, virtual reality) in tablet to monitoring machine in real time.Smart factory use Automation robot arm in automotive manufacturing

Edge computing is a distributed, open IT architecture that features decentralized processing power, enabling mobile computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. In edge computing, data is processed by the device itself or by a local computer or server, rather than being transmitted to a data center.

Allowing large amounts of data to be processed near the source, edge computing helps reduce internet bandwidth usage. This efficient data processing both eliminates costs and ensures that applications can be used effectively in remote locations. Plus, the ability to process data without ever putting it into a public cloud adds a useful layer of security for sensitive data.

what is edge computing, how does edge computing work, 5G cloud computing, edge computing conceptDriven by a need to overcome cloud overhead in latency and bandwidth and a demand for more local processing, edge computing is poised to enable billions of new IoT end-points and real-time local artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) for autonomous systems. Edge computing allows smart applications and devices to respond to data almost instantaneously, as it’s being created, eliminating lag time, which is critical for technologies like self-driving cars.

How Client Devices Will Become Smarter

Robert Cihra, Managing Director and Senior Analyst at Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Research Division, says self-driving cars, smartphones and other client devices will become smarter in order to handle more local processing. According to Cihra, this is how:

  • Making machines smarter via real-time on-board AI/ML
  • Making thin-client smartphones fatter, as they need more processing and storage for on-device ML and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR)
  • Pushing smartphone configurations/BOM costs and thereby ASPs even higher
  • Enabling more frictionless user interfaces (UIs) headlined by Voice and Vision vs. Keyboard and Screen
  • Enabling data input from devices that increasingly involve no human interaction at all (e.g., cameras, IoT sensors for location, vibration, temperature, etc.)
  • Favoring vertically-integrated vendors (hardware and software) particularly early on (e.g., Apple; Tesla; Google now building hardware; GM’s acquisition of Cruise Automation)

The Self-Driving Car Race

One of the hottest topics in edge computing is self-driving cars, because a self-driving car can’t be programmed to drive, but must think and act for itself, and it certainly cannot rely on the cloud and risk lag time.

The ability to process streams of sensor data and complex neural net pipelines in real-time is crucial. An autonomous car will require 50-100X the processing power and >10X the Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) and Not And (NAND) technology of an Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) car today.

Interior of Tesla Model S 90D car. Tesla Motors is an American company that designs manufactures and sells cutting edge electric cars.

Interior of Tesla Model S 90D car.

Cihra thinks Tesla, a pioneer in the American development of electric vehicles, is ahead of the curve in making automobiles an edge computing device. The company has used its connected fleet of customer cars for shared ML and building an in-house model that adds complexity, risk and cost, but also ultimate leverage.

As the perfect edge computing device, the automobile must be fully integrated, in terms of hardware and software development. And that’s why Cihra sees Apple either making a car itself or getting out of the market all together. Right now, Apple is investing in autonomous driving but has not yet committed to a car.

And This is Only the Beginning

Edge computing presents an incredible incremental growth opportunity for IoT development and data processing. To learn more about IoT, check out the IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things, our series of eight training courses designed to give your organization critical foundational knowledge.

Resources

Ray, Tiernan. (2 Mar 2018). Apple, Tesla to Lead ‘Edge’ Computing, Says Gugenheim. Barron’s.

What is Edge Computing? Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

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What Is Blockchain Bounce?

Blockchain bounce IEEE Innovation at WorkThere is a veritably deafening buzz around blockchain at the moment as it’s the technology du jour. And rightfully so, as it ticks a lot of boxes: it’s decentralized, anonymous, and immutable. It also promises security through truth and transparency.

Amid the excitement about it, brands are rushing to embrace the ledger technology. Upon announcing that they’re working with, or will soon incorporate, blockchain technologies, their stock price skyrockets.

The Blockchain Bounce Phenomenon

This is called blockchain bounce.

Don’t believe us? Take Overstock, for example, whose share price rose +200% post-announcement of a loyalty plan built on blockchain.

Or restaurants like Chanticleer Holdings (whose brands include American Burger Co. and Little Big Burger) and Hooter’s. Both stocks became hot simply because of their association with blockchain.

It also happened to Kodak recently, when it partnered with WENN Digital to launch a blockchain-powered image rights platform, called KODAKOne. Shares of Eastman Kodak’s stock surged more than 30% on the announcement, closing at $6.80.

As the New York Times noted, these bold gambles have had mixed reactions among investors: some are excited, others confused, with a majority curious about “wading into dubious business deals” in search of instant growth through blockchain bounce.

Are businesses that attach themselves to blockchain merely a fad? Or will utilizing blockchain to provide the building blocks for a company’s future have an Amazon-like effect, as Starbucks Chairman Howard Shultz predicts? Could the blockchain bounce make a difference for your company? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

blockchain innovation at work ieee certificate programs courses online engineering coursesComing Soon: IEEE Introduction to Blockchain Technology

It’s clear blockchain isn’t going away anytime soon. Which is why it’s in your business’ best interests to learn as much as possible, as soon as possible, about it. To make sense of the recent blockchain revolution, you’ve got to understand what a blockchain really is and what it’s capable of doing. The best place to start is with the new IEEE Introduction to Blockchain Technology 3-course program. Pre-order for your company now and save.

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CES 2018: News To Know About

CES 2018 Updates from IEEEThe Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the annual place to be for technology professionals, experts, and enthusiasts. There are literally hundreds of new product launches, and sometimes it’s hard to cut through all the clutter to find out what’s actually worth knowing about.

Of the technological solutions for home and business that this year’s event spawned, here’s what piqued our interest the most:

  • Cable industry behemoth, Comcast, put a major stake in the Internet of Things (IoT) ground by unveiling its new “Works with Xfinity” smart-home IoT platform. Keen on keeping existing customers due to simple inertia, tech experts and casual observers alike will wait and see how the company provides controls for hundreds of devices to Xfinity Internet customers at no extra cost—a key promise of this new offering. (Variety)
  • It’s worth noting that CES had an IoT device for everything. Even pets. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Nvidia was busy announcing a plethora of new stuff at this year’s expo, much of it centered around self-driving cars. In a partnership with Uber, its autonomous vehicle computing platforms will power the ride sharing company’s self-driving vehicles. Nvidia Xavier was also under consideration for a “Best of CES” Engadget award. (TechCrunchIGN; Engadget)
  • Self-driving cars might have gotten the lion’s share attention, but did you see the self-driving luggage from Travelmate? (Economic Times)
  • The big impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the enterprise is in cybersecurity, and especially in securing data center networks. Serena VM, provider of IT cyber capabilities, brought Fortune 500 cyber security to small offices with its virtual managed box for organizations that have remote or brand offices. (@SerenaVMUS)
  • Over in Eureka Park, which Leigh Christie, Director, Isobar NowLab Americas deemed “the best place for innovation at CES,” we learned how crucial low latency will be for virtual reality and augmented reality. (MediaPost)

And did you catch the IEEE booth at CES? Check out our show coverage on IEEE Transmitter!

What has been the most fascinating news or product announcement you’ve come across since CES started? Share with us in the comments below!

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A Solution to Latency in IoT Devices

IoT Latency Solution IEEE Wake-Up Radio

In 2016, a PwC survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers found:

  • 45% reported owning a fitness band
  • 27% a smartwatch
  • 12% smart clothing

Furthermore, 57% said they’re excited about the future of wearable technology as part of everyday life. In order for the full power of these devices to be realized, however, it is important to ensure that latency isn’t a problem.

The Latency Problem with Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

The challenge with IoT devices is that they run on batteries. This makes them convenient…no one wants to be tethered by a cord. But it also brings challenges. In order to preserve the lifespan of batteries, IoT devices systematically wake up from sleep mode to retrieve new information. The longer the device is asleep, the less power it consumes. This also means that there are fewer opportunities for information to be exchanged. This impacts the performance of the device, causing it to run slower (known as latency).

In today’s devices, low power consumption and low latency are in conflict with one another. Because of the advent of Internet of Things technologies, however, finding a low-power, low-latency solution is of the utmost importance.

IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio - Buy Now!The Most Viable Solutions to Latency

There is a great deal of research going on right now in the low-latency low-power field, with two dominant solutions emerging: Wake-Up Radio (created by IEEE 802.11ba standards working group) and Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart). In this context it’s worth noting that Bluetooth Low Energy is not the same as the Bluetooth prevalent in today’s consumer devices. Rather, it’s a new technology needs to be included in devices moving forward in order to take advantage of Bluetooth Low Energy.

Internet of Things device manufacturers must be cognizant of their options when it comes to these technologies. If your company is considering Internet of Things devices, it’s essential that you understand how Wake-Up Radio works, and how it may impact your products and your business, especially if the device will run on IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®).

Based on work of the IEEE 802.11ba standards task group, the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio highlights current and projected developments in this groundbreaking technology that allows devices to achieve low power and low latency at the same time, greatly reducing the frequent recharging or replacement of batteries. This report is especially useful for helping manufacturers analyze and prepare for the implementation of Wake-Up Radio when the standard is finalized within the next 2-3 years.

To purchase your copy of the IEEE Wake-Up Radio Report, click here. Or, contact an IEEE Content Specialist about an institutional purchase of the report.

Resources

16 Aug. 2016. IoT Facts and Figures. What’s the Big Data.

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Introduction to Predictive Maintenance

Introduction to Predictive MaintenanceAs the Industrial Internet of Things continues to grow, predictive maintenance technology is transforming industries by evaluating the condition of equipment, determining if and when maintenance and repairs are needed, and preventing failures from happening in the first place.

Since it’s estimated that the Internet of Things will be connected to 80 billion devices by 2025, it’s important to invest in performance-predicting technologies now to improve safety and reliability. (Kerravala, 2017)

How It Works

If the Internet of Things had its own “fight or flight” response, it would be predictive maintenance. It observes the start of a mechanism malfunction or deterioration, with the express goal of correcting said malfunction or deterioration before significant degradation in the component or equipment occurs. (McKinsey Global Institute, 2015). The result can be a significant increase in productivity and return on investment.

Predictive technology is helping many businesses and public services run faster, more efficiently, and cost effectively. The diagnostic capabilities of predictive maintenance technologies have increased in recent years, thanks to advances made in sensor technologies.

Take the city of Chicago for example, which in late 2016 deployed predictive technology to take out the trash — literally. It relied on smart sensors to help determine which dumpsters needed emptying and when, thus keeping the city cleaner and its residents happier. By utilizing connected technology to yield previously unobtainable data on waste management without significant human time investment, stress-ridden “what happens when…” possibilities can quickly become a thing of the past. Just ask Chicago’s sanitation workers.

Collaboration Is Key

As always, when any new technology is introduced, proper training is required to ensure it is applied appropriately. This is particularly true when it comes to the field of predictive maintenance technology, as its level of sophistication continues to evolve each and every day.

It’s important for professionals working in engineering, IT, computer science and related fields across all industries to be trained in the Internet of Things. For more information, check out the online course program IEEE Guide to Internet of Things.

Imagine living and working in an environment where technology is fixed even before it breaks. It’ll be here before you know it.

Resources:

McKinsey Global Institute. (2015, June). Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things. McKinsey & Company.

Kerravala, Zeus. (2017, Dec. 4). DDI is a critical component of IoT success. Network World.

Newman,  Daniel (2017, 5 Dec.). 3 Areas The IoT Will Impact You Without You Even Knowing. Forbes.

Sisson, Patrick. (2016, Sept. 7). Chicago’s new smart sensor network is a game changer for city data. Curbed.

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Is Blockchain the Solution to IoT Security?

Blockchain IoT securitySecurity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is an ongoing problem. The largely unregulated IoT market leaves plenty of room for device hacking. When considering applications such as smart homes and smart cars, this lack of security can be a real concern. A hacker, for example, could take over a self-driving car with someone in it, or make purchases based on access levels given to an IoT system. With all of the data that is collected and passed between IoT devices, strong security is a must.

While there are many security recommendations for IoT devices, such as biometrics and two-factor authorization, one potential solution is blockchain IoT security. Blockchain, which is most familiar for bitcoin and Ethereum, offers an intriguing solution for IoT security. Blockchain contains strong protections against data tampering, locking access to Internet of Things devices, and allowing compromised devices in an IoT network to be shut down. Hyundai has recently backed a blockchain start-up that is specifically designed for IoT security. Called HDAC (Hyundai Digital Access Currency), this innovative approach creates a permissioned private network.

“Some differentiating features of the HDAC token are that it has a new PoW mining algorithm (ePoW) that reduces mining monopolization, has 3-minute blocks, and has a private/public/permissioned blockchain.” (@ecurrencyhodler)

Thomas Hardjono, Chief Technology Officer of MIT Connection Science, suggests that we need infrastructure to manage devices, as well as data access. In a recent paper, he proposes a blockchain-based IoT framework called ChainAnchor. “This framework addresses device security with activation and security layers supported by device makers, data providers and independent third parties…The proposed framework includes layers of access that can keep out unauthorized devices or cut bad actors (such as a hacked device) from the network. It also includes cases for safely selling and removing devices from the blockchain.” (Compton)

If there is to be blockchain IoT security, however, there are issues to be overcome. For one, blockchain mining requires a large amount of processing power. Many IoT devices lack the power needed. Current blockchains are vulnerable if a group of miners controls more than 50% of the network’s mining hashrate. The global distribution of nodes in a typical blockchain makes this very difficult. But a home IoT blockchain’s processing power might be more easily hacked.

IoT security will continue to evolve as regulations related to their development and use continue their forward march. However the possibility of a blockchain IoT security system is something that may hold great potential.

Would you like to learn more about the Internet of Things? Check out our online course program: IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things

 

References

Compton, J. (2017, 27 Jun). How Blockchain Could Revolutionize the Internet of Things. Forbes. 

@ecurrencyhodler. (2017, 21 Nov). The Solution to IoT is Blockchain Security. hackernoon. 

 

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