Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Protection – Your questions answered

In a recent report, the Federal Trade Commission noted that the IoT can provide enormous benefits for consumers yet at the same time, in its education, policy, and enforcement work, the FTC stressed the importance of taking reasonable steps to safeguard privacy and security when it comes to such devices. Kathleen Benway, Chief of Staff – Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission will be taking your questions on consumer protection at the IoT Tech Expo North America on November 30 in Santa Clara, CA. Keep reading to see how you can get involved..

The Federal Trade Commission is a law enforcement agency which looks into the privacy and security promises made by companies in order to ensure that these are kept. IoT devices are the accumulators of a robust amount of data, and the protection of this data is paramount. So how can you be sure that this is being protected?

Kathleen Benway, Chief of Staff – Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission will be taking your questions on consumer protection at the IoT Tech Expo North America on November 30 in Santa Clara, CA.

The Q&A session will allow you to ask just that, in addition to dealing with the importance of building security into any device during the development stage, rather than retrospectively. Kathleen, who will be answering your questions, works closely with the Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP) Director and Deputy Directors on case recommendations, project development and Bureau policy. She represents the Bureau in interactions with Commissioners’ Offices and co-ordinates with the Office of Congressional Relations to respond to Congressional inquiries, correspondence and requests for testimony.

To have your consumer protection questions answered, you can tweet your question with the hashtag #iottechexpo, or email info@iottechexpo.com with the subject: Consumer Protection Q&A.

Guided by Gerard van der Hoeven, Founding Partners at IoT Gurus, your questions will be answered during the Q&A session on the open conference track; Developing for the IoT on November 30 at 2:30pm. Simply register for a Free Expo Pass to gain access to the open conference tracks and more.

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How Boeing is taking more than 100 years of history and driving innovation through the IoT

As the world’s largest aerospace company, and having been in business for more than 100 years, the continued need for innovation has been at the heart of Boeing’s success. With the increasing possibilities of the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and more, this innovation remains undimmed.

Like many organisations of its size, Boeing generates huge amounts of data. The question, of course, is how much you can get out of it to improve both company efficiency and customer satisfaction. Ted Colbert, Boeing’s CIO, told an audience at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in May that companies have to ‘both improve the skill set within the IT organisation and raise the digital IQ of our business leaders, so they pull on recognising the tech enablement opportunities to transform their business.’

“Al Salour, who is speaking at the IoT Tech Expo event in Santa Clara on November 29-30, is a technical fellow at Boeing Research & Technology. His role, as he puts it, is to “establish strategies and systems for the enterprise production systems.”

So what does this mean? Al Salour, who is speaking at the IoT Tech Expo event in Santa Clara on November 29-30, is a technical fellow at Boeing Research & Technology. His role, as he puts it, is to “establish strategies and systems for the enterprise production systems.” In practice, this involves automating previously manual processes, putting in sensor-based technologies, and establishing standards that will flag deviations from engineering requirements.

A McKinsey article from earlier this year explains how the company’s workers are now using wearables and augmented reality tools on wiring-harness assembly lines. Yet there is so much more potential. As Salour explains, while 3D modelling and model-based design has been around for some time in a variety of industries, from aviation, to construction, and to entertainment, Boeing is taking steps beyond the traditional use cases.

“Our effort will go beyond that, to virtually create our manufacturing process and make important producibility plans in terms [of] our facility and equipment utilisation before we introduce a new product,” he explains. “Our linkage to engineering design will continue as we manufacture parts, so we can compare physical conditions against their digital twin model.”

It is therefore an iterative, constantly evolving process which Boeing is undertaking. But there are plenty of hurdles to cross in the meantime. Salour says he works in a ‘technologically challenging’ environment, with advancements taking place more quickly than the industry can keep up, but adds the changes are ‘exciting and interesting’. Another issue, that of cost, is pragmatic – “I consider my contributions to R&D advancements will bring results but at the same time they must be affordable or else they won’t survive,” says Salour – but the other is comparatively far-reaching.

It is therefore an iterative, constantly evolving process which Boeing is undertaking. But there are plenty of hurdles to cross in the meantime. Salour says he works in a ‘technologically challenging’ environment, with advancements taking place more quickly than the industry can keep up, but adds the changes are ‘exciting and interesting’.

“We need to be able to trust the digital data,” says Salour. “The issue is for the developers not to stop early before their work can be fully validated. We also need to consider the cultural change in relying and accepting the digital data.

“There are important compliance issues and procedures that will not quickly change, and the best way is to accept them and include them in our implementation plans.”

Partnerships are key, too. Last year, Boeing teamed up with Microsoft to ‘enable further integration between humans and machines, leveraging AI to streamline business operations while enabling airline operators to be more efficient, competitive and attractive to consumers’. Boeing’s partners include industrial leaders, academia, and government-sponsored research centres. “We believe our investments will be rewarded through internal and external advancements and technology maturity from our labs to the production floor,” says Salour.

Salour is speaking on the topic of manufacturing and ‘smart factories of the future’, a topic he is well-versed in given the day to day routine at Boeing. Expect various examples of how Boeing’s factory systems are moving towards the digital world. “We understand many of our traditional efforts in planning, manpower utilisation, and production flow decisions can be simplified through connected systems and real-time information,” says Salour.

“We would want our operation and support personnel to have instant access to their work-in-progress data so they make better decisions.”

(c) istockphoto.com/ deejpilot | gk-6mt

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An Intro to Bluetooth Mesh

A Bluetooth® mesh network lets you establish a many-to-many relationship between wireless devices and allows them to relay data to other devices not in direct radio range. In this way, Bluetooth mesh networks can span wide physical areas and support tens, hundreds, or even thousands of devices.

Motivation for Mesh

Mesh topologies offer the best platform for meeting increasingly common communications requirements of commercial and industrial applications, from building automation to sensor networks. Bluetooth mesh was designed to provide:

Bluetooth mesh networking is a many-to-many topology.

– Large-area coverage
– Just-works interoperability
– Device monitoring and control
– Low energy consumption
– Optimization for efficiency and scalability
– Compatibility with smartphones, tablets, and PCs
– Industry-standard, government-grade security

Other low-power wireless technologies that support mesh topologies are not optimal for solving the challenges the industrial IoT needs to address. Low data transmission rates, limited numbers of hops, scalability restrictions, and lack of mobile device support prohibited the development of new IoT solutions. Creating an industry-standard mesh technology based on the Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) stack allowed us to meet these requirements without the associated limitations and constraints.

Message-Oriented Communication

Bluetooth mesh networking uses a publish/subscribe messaging system that allows devices to send messages to groups of devices, such as Factory Lights. When a device publishes a message to a group of addresses, all the other devices subscribed to that address receive a copy of the message, process it, and react.

Imagine a set of outdoor lights installed in a factory. Each light is configured to subscribe to Factory Lights messages. When a Bluetooth mesh light switch sends an ON message to the Factory Lights address, all the lights in the factory receive the ON message and react by switching on.

Relaying

Bluetooth mesh networks allow devices to communicate with each other across large areas, making them ideal for shopping malls, airports, or office buildings. Walls and other physical barriers in these facilities may prohibit direct radio contact between devices. To solve this problem, a Bluetooth mesh network lets you designate some devices as relays.

Relay devices retransmit received messages, allowing them to reach devices that are not in radio range of the device that published the original message. A message may be relayed multiple times up to a maximum of 127 hops.

Bluetooth mesh networks relay messages from node to node.

Managed Flooding

In a Bluetooth mesh network, messages are not transmitted along a specific path. Instead, all devices in range receive messages. Those acting as relays retransmit the message to all other devices in range.

With a flood approach, there’s no need for any device to act as a centralized router, the failure of which could render the entire network inoperable. Specific routes being unavailable could also have a catastrophic impact on the network, and this too is avoided with a flooding approach. A flooding approach allows for multiple paths by which a message can transmit, making for a more reliable network.

Optimizing Energy Use

A Bluetooth mesh network includes several measures which optimize energy used by individual devices and the network as a whole.

All packets may limit the number of hops a message takes as it’s relayed. Heartbeat messages, transmitted at intervals, allow the network to learn about its topology and the number of hops to each device. This avoids messages being relayed unnecessarily. Every device also contains a message cache so it can determine if it’s seen a message before, discarding redundant messages and avoiding unnecessary processing.

Additionally, power-constrained devices, such as battery-powered sensors, may be designated as low-power nodes. Low-power nodes work in conjunction with one or more devices designated as friends. Friends act on behalf of the low-power node, storing messages and only delivering them to the low-power node when asked. Working with a friend allows the low-power node to schedule its use of the radio to receive messages to whatever frequency makes sense for the device, but at a much lower frequency than if it had to listen for messages all the time.

Security

Security is at the heart of the design of Bluetooth mesh networking and its use is mandatory. Every packet is encrypted and authenticated. Replay attacks are prevented by judicious use of sequence numbers. Man-in-the-middle attacks are protected against by using asymmetrical cryptography during important procedures. Protection against trashcan attacks, which exploit discarded devices, is managed through regular security key refreshes.

Security is mandatory in a Bluetooth mesh network.

Separation of Concerns is an important principle reflected in the security of Bluetooth mesh networking. Security of the network and security of individual applications, such as lighting, heating, or physical building security, are independent of each other. Different security keys are used for securing network layer operations, such as relaying vs securing the application-specific content of messages. For example, a light bulb has access to data transmitted by light switches because they have the same application key. The same light bulb can relay messages from an access token to the lock in the front door, but it can’t see the application layer content of those messages.

The Future of Bluetooth Mesh Networking

Bluetooth mesh networking is a highly efficient and fit-for-purpose topology designed to meet the demanding requirements of the Internet of Things (IoT), and we expect to see it adopted across a range of industry sectors. Commercial lighting is an especially exciting application for Bluetooth mesh as it lets you use lighting as a wireless platform for other building services, such as asset tracking and location.

If you plan on attending the IoT Tech Expo – November 29-30 in Santa Clara, CA, stop by booth 57 to see live demonstrations of Bluetooth mesh in action.

To learn more about Bluetooth mesh and to discover how Bluetooth mesh is disrupting the IoT, register for our free webinar on November 8 – What Makes Bluetooth Mesh so Disruptive?

The behind-the-scenes story of the making of Bluetooth mesh

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Road to IIoT: Lessons for Manufacturers from Other Industries

For most manufacturers, the road to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is an evolutionary journey. And while it may be marked with twists and turns, it doesn’t have to be fraught with risk and uncertainty.

In a recent article I wrote for Manufacturing Business Technology, I explain how manufacturers can learn from other industries that have already headed down the path of IIoT. Here are some highlights from my article:

1. Go for Standards
Legacy automation infrastructures are often proprietary, and upgrades are typically controlled by a single vendor. That’s not only costly, but also limits options for introducing new, modern capabilities like IIoT. It’s similar to the challenge telecommunications faced until some forward-thinking carriers saw the promise of industry-standard solutions and operating systems. That opened the door for delivering enhanced services that gave them a competitive advantage over traditional providers of basic dial tone services. By adopting standards-based technology, manufacturers could open the door to a new wave of business-enhancing innovation.

2. Open the Door to Integration
Operations technology (OT) organizations like to keep their industrial control systems (ICS) walled off from the rest of the enterprise to avoid points of vulnerability. But enterprise-wide connectivity is essential to gain the intelligent automation capabilities of IIoT. Consider how the highly risk-averse financial services industry made the leap. Using the latest network security and continuous availability solutions, they allowed connectivity to business-critical transaction systems. This created a wealth of new business opportunities for financial firms in today’s mobile, digital consumer marketplace.

“Operations technology (OT) organizations like to keep their industrial control systems (ICS) walled off from the rest of the enterprise to avoid points of vulnerability. But enterprise-wide connectivity is essential to gain the intelligent automation capabilities of IIoT. Consider how the highly risk-averse financial services industry made the leap. Using the latest network security and continuous availability solutions, they allowed connectivity to business-critical transaction systems. This created a wealth of new business opportunities for financial firms in today’s mobile, digital consumer marketplace.”

3. Tap into Distributed Intelligence
One of the hallmarks of IIoT is the gathering of data from a wide range of sensors and systems to gain valuable insights. This distributed intelligence is central to improving production efficiency, enabling predictive maintenance, and sparking innovation. Many industries have already seen this. Take oil and gas companies, for example. They use data collected from sensors at remote pipeline compression stations to run analytics that detect early signs of component failure. With advance warning, these companies can shrink maintenance windows and avoid costly unplanned downtime.

4. Protect the Avalanche of Data
One thing is certain: as manufacturers embrace IIoT, the volume—and value—of production data will increase substantially. So manufacturers must ensure availability of both the data and the automation systems generating it. The building automation and security industry, for example, needs to make sure they protect the fountains of data generated by their video monitoring solutions. To mitigate risk of losing valuable video evidence, these companies make end-to-end fault tolerance a priority. You can do the same to prevent data loss or downtime from the production floor to the historians that store ICS data to the analytics engines creating insights from that data.

The road to IIoT might seem lonely at first. But it’s easy to see that you have good company from firms in other industries that are making the journey. While each industry has its own challenges and priorities, they all stand to gain similar benefits by charting a course to next-generation IIoT automation. Unlocking valuable insights and strategies enabled by IIoT is helping all companies across the spectrum compete better and improve their efficiency and profitability in a meaningful way.

Originally published on Stratus.

(c)istockphoto.com/ BlackJack3D | zorazhuang

Stratus Technologies are sponsoring, speaking and exhibiting at the IoT Tech Expo North America on the 29-30 November 2017.

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Securing the Internet of Things: Connected Cars

Establishing safety and security in automotive design goes far beyond crash test dummies.

By 2022, the global automotive Internet of Things (IoT) market is expected to skyrocket to $ 155.9 billion – and manufacturers are racing to capitalize on this growing opportunity. While embedded computation and networking has been around since the 1980s, the advent of connectivity opens up an array of new options for automakers. From advanced collision detection and predictive diagnostics, to entertainment systems that load a driver’s favorite tunes the second they sit down, connected cars are poised to enhance the consumer experience.

Those extra conveniences, however, aren’t without their downsides. If not properly secured, connected cars threaten to expose sensitive consumer information. With data being passed between so many different connected channels, it’s easier than ever for hackers to get their hands on personally identifiable information.

“From advanced collision detection and predictive diagnostics, to entertainment systems that load a driver’s favorite tunes the second they sit down, connected cars are poised to enhance the consumer experience. Those extra conveniences, however, aren’t without their downsides. If not properly secured, connected cars threaten to expose sensitive consumer information. With data being passed between so many different connected channels, it’s easier than ever for hackers to get their hands on personally identifiable information.”

In 2015, Chrysler announced a recall of 1.4 million vehicles after two technology researchers hacked into a Jeep Cherokee’s dashboard connectivity system. But the right security solutions can make such incidents a thing of the past.

By leveraging Entrust Datacard’s ioTrust platform, automotive manufacturers can assign a trusted identity to each and every device – regardless of whether it’s located inside a vehicle or across the IoT ecosystem. This extra layer of security sets the stage for trusted communication between authorized users, devices and applications. Better yet, ioTrust ensures the right security level for the right device to help prevent data being made accessible to unauthorized users or devices. Using cryptographic protection as well as strong authorization requirements, ioTrust helps restrict access to those things, systems and users with the proper privileges.

In addition to creating a trusted IoT ecosystem, automotive designers also stand to realize significant business value. Instead of spending precious time determining which devices to trust, ioTrust makes it easy to not only recognize trusted devices, but operationalize them. That same convenience also extends to the supply chain, where manufacturers can get a better look at a product’s entire lifecycle – from creation to release.

IoT has burst onto the scene in a big way, especially in the quest to securely design the next connected car. But before making the most of automotive IoT, manufacturers must consider how to keep consumer data under wraps. By provisioning managed identities and authorization privileges, ioTrust paves the way for securely connected automotive systems.

Note: This is part of a blog series on Securing the IoT, which explores how Entrust Datacard solves industry security and trust problems through ioTrust. To learn more, visit https://www.entrustdatacard.com/products/categories/iotrust.

By Ranjeet Khanna, Director of Product Management – IoT and embedded security

Ranjeet Khanna is a technology executive specialized in delivering technology led business innovation in the domain of digital security and data analytics. As director of product management – IoT and embedded security for Entrust Datacard, he is responsible for business and technology strategy, delivering the company’s IoT security solution – ioTrust for the secured convergence of physical and digital assets. Ranjeet has over 20 years of experience in business and technology strategy for the high tech, ISV, manufacturing and telecom industry verticals.

Originally published on Entrust Datacard.

(c) istockphoto.com/ beebright | zapp2photo

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