The IoT has the potential to transform our personal and professional lives, as well as the environment around us, but innovation in this area needs to accelerate, writes Nicholas Chalvin, vice president for M2M and IoT solutions at digital security specialist, Gemalto.
We hear a lot about what connected living might look like and the possibilities on the horizon – but we don’t always consider what needs to be done to ensure that core IoT infrastructure keeps up with consumer expectations.
In my view, here are several crucial steps that need to be taken to accelerate IoT deployments, equipping civic authorities and the private sector with the tools to drive pioneering projects.
To speed up innovation, we need practical and attitudinal changes pertaining to 5G, stakeholder collaboration and security frameworks.
At Gemalto, we believe 5G could usher in a new wave of connected devices, more powerful than ever before. It will provide the basis for the IoT revolution, powering at the same time smart cities with lower power wide area radio, empowering smartphone users with high-speed mobility services, as well as facilitating ultra-reliable communications for connected vehicles and real-time detection and automation in factories.
Governments need to take an optimistic approach to 5G. For instance, we were pleased to see Theresa May put 5G wireless internet at the heart of the Government’s recently announced modern industrial strategy.
We were also excited by South Korea’s announcement that the Winter Olympics in 2018 will involve 5G capabilities. Japan, the US and China are also set to commit to projects using 5G, which is certainly positive news for those hoping for accelerating IoT deployments.
In short, 5G is going to be a crucial component of future IoT deployment strategies; it simply won’t be possible to accelerate innovation without it.
Shared standards and collaboration
The pace of IoT deployment also depends on the extent to which we can encourage collaboration and shared standards between stakeholders. With so many players active in the IoT ecosystem – from manufacturers, MNOs and mobile app providers to software developers and even governments – there are risks of fragmentation.
We need to work towards creating shared standards and common goals. Take the example of the connected car – a consumer would expect to purchase one and listen to music saved on their smartphone, or control smart home devices while driving. To do that, there needs to be an intersection between the car’s technology and the equipment in the consumer’s house.
In other words, without collaboration, it may be difficult to meet people’s expectations of seamless, integrated connectivity.
Furthermore, a particularly damaging effect of market fragmentation, which could severely hold back progress, is a lack of agreed security standards.
Getting security right
The increase of connected devices, as well as the increase in data provided by IoT technologies, presents more opportunities for cyber attackers.
Unfortunately, attacks are becoming more sophisticated in nature, and we’re even seeing connected devices being manipulated to launch massive DDoS attacks. Potentially, we could see hackers disrupt cities and transportation systems, leading to major security risks.
Security is also important for businesses and financial markets. If machines are collecting information and this data is manipulated or falls into the wrong hands, then it could influence business decisions and undermine the stability of markets.
What is crucial is that manufacturers adopt a ‘security by design’ approach. Developers need to anticipate cyber attackers at the initial stage, otherwise we must resort to ‘patching things up’ after the event, which does not offer the same level of protection. End-to-end security should be another priority.
Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and so devices need to be equipped with protection that lasts for their entire lifecycle.
By applying the right security solutions to the IoT ecosystem, we can establish trust and ensure the next generation of connected devices can be used securely and fulfil their potential.
To conclude, the pace of acceleration in IoT deployments depends on multiple factors; whether we can get the various stakeholders collaborating adequately; the speed at which 5G technology becomes available; and the need for multi-layered, end-to-end security solutions.