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IoT Will Grow by Collaboration

#IoT Will Grow by Collaboration | EE Times on @eetimes

  • Effectively managing the billions of IoT devices requires that device developers and IT/cloud providers collaborate on issues such as security.
  • The industry is experiencing a shift where revenue doesn’t come from the device itself, but from services running on it.
  • Engineers also face challenges packing more software into the low-cost hardware of edge devices.
  • Device management is the missing link that will unite the two camps involved in IoT–the embedded industry developing the “things” and the IT industry/cloud providers.
  • For example, device-level security is fundamental but it can require larger microcontrollers, chips which aren’t inherently ideal for edge devices.

As with most new technologies, growth for the Internet of Things will be linear to start before we hit an inflection point that will lead to mass adoption.

@evankirstel: #IoT Will Grow by Collaboration | EE Times on @eetimes

Several challenges must be addressed for IoT to reach this inflection point, which we think is still four to five years away. Areas we are exploring within the IPSO Alliance include device management, security/privacy and identity, and interoperability in protocols and semantics

Engineers also face challenges packing more software into the low-cost hardware of edge devices. Business managers need to find a return on investment for complete IoT systems that support security, provisioning, commissioning, device management and so on.

Device management is the missing link that will unite the two camps involved in IoT–the embedded industry developing the “things” and the IT industry/cloud providers. Effectively managing the billions of IoT devices requires that device developers and IT/cloud providers collaborate on issues such as security.

Groups like the IPSO Alliance can provide a forum to discuss issues such as security. By garnering industry consensus from diverse partners such as Intel, ARM, Oracle and a large number of silicon vendors, a clear path forward emerges.

Meanwhile the outlook is improving rapidly for interoperability, with more and more proof points demonstrating the viability open standards such as LWM2M, CoAP and MQTT. IPSO tends to put more focus on edge devices, but we know we can’t neglect the cloud to which devices connect.

Open standards are gaining ground because designers can be sure they will last, unlike proprietary solutions that could go away. Solutions based on open standards also tend to be more affordable due to economies of scale.

Cost is a big challenge given growing software requirements for IoT. For example, device-level security is fundamental but it can require larger microcontrollers, chips which aren’t inherently ideal for edge devices.

We think some cost reduction will start to happen this year. For example, microcontrollers based on the ARM V8M architecture will support more features at lower cost.

Meanwhile, the industry is experiencing a shift where revenue doesn’t come from the device itself, but from services running on it. To remain in business, embedded hardware and software providers may need to move into the traditional realm of IT/cloud service providers.

Another initiative that bears watching is fog computing, which may begin to replace the client/server model starting this year. Fog computing aims to reduce traffic and congestion by moving some processing from the server to nodes further out in the network. This approach holds an opportunity for hosting some security features on these intermediary nodes.

In 2017, IPSO will start publishing best practices and guidelines coming from our working groups related to protocols and semantics, as well as security, identity and privacy. We also are looking to new areas such as services and autonomous operating models. We welcome companies involved in developing IoT products and services to join us because collaboration is the key to an open, accessible and highly functioning IoT.

–Christian Légaré is president and chairman of the IPSO Alliance and chief of software engineering at Micrium Software, part of Silicon Labs.

IoT Will Grow by Collaboration