Oh goodness isn’t the Internet of Things (IoT) a maelstrom of change right now? CEOs (and their supporting communications teams) are wrangling with every media source they can get their hands on to make insipid big picture statements about how much ‘potential for growth and impact’ the IoT is about to have.
Isn’t anybody actually plugging things in to see how they work?
Less insipid, more tangible taste?
Beside this smörgåsbord of blandness, it’s tough to filter out the white noise and look for firms who are getting dirty with the mechanics of the IoT.
NXP Semiconductors is, hopefully, evidencing some down and dirty work with its newly announced ‘test bed’ for enabling a range of secure services on wearables and other connected devices.
What is a test bed?
In this case at least, the term test bed appears to being used to describe the firm’s creation of a research initiative activities at various locations featuring real devices, vehicles and connected environments to examine how technologies work in real post-deployment situations.
Firms sometime talk about PoC labs (as in Proof of Concept), which sound somewhat similar to the idea of the test lab. But PoC location showcases tend to focus on proprietary hardware and software solutions that have already been customer-finessed and are about to be presented to market.
The idea of the IoT test bed is, arguably, somewhat more experimental.
In this case, the test bed supports the development of products and applications using embedded Secure Element (eSE) technology.
A little web research reveals that eSE is a tamper-proof chip available in different sizes and designs that can be embedded in any mobile device.
Some of NXP’s latest work resulting from the test bed are highlighted by solutions developed by uConekt Inc. TheCanadian firm’s uBoltTM is a tamper-resistant wearable bracelet device using NXP’s secure element that stores and protects personal identity, private credentials and other sensitive information.
According to NXP, uBolt adapts to user needs with multi factor authentication using fingerprint and voice biometrics combined with a mobile app for secure access control, payments and other applications.
NXP VP Charles Dachs explains that his firm is focused on an incubator model for nurturing and forwarding new solutions. He also says that connected devices is becoming the new standard as consumers embrace the speed and convenience of ‘tap-to-pay’ technology.
NXP is also working on R&D activities to facilitate the adoption of secure Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. In this regard it partners with MobileKnowledge, an external independent design house.
What to think next…
Your takeaways here are as follows:
- Yes, some of this is still PR and puff and not every use case of the test bed is going to produce a workable end user product or service.
- When you look at secure payments technologies in the IoT it is important to look for technologies that are privacy-protected with virtually no dependence on external parties.
- Software developers in this space will need a route to start building, testing and validating apps that use the embedded payment elements (NXP does arguably provide this with its Secure Service Development Platform known as SSDP).
- The IoT is working hard to bring secure contactless payments forward using a standard technology such as GPS, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.