Align Technology And Talent To Leverage The Internet Of Things

Part 4 of the “Manufacturing Value from IoT” series

In my last blog, I talked about the necessary investments manufacturers must make to gain a full IoT transformation. Here, I will talk about the critical collaboration between IT and OT departments to further increase profits and productivity.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is delivering substantial returns for those applying intelligence into their plants and processes. Some 72% of manufacturers report that application of IoT technologies to operations increased productivity in the past year, and 69% report that use of the IoT increased profitability. Yet most companies could get more bang for their IoT bucks if their operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) departments would collaborate.

Why? Because even in companies with capable IoT initiatives, problems among technology employees can cripple an organization’s ability to:

  • Establish plant-to-enterprise connections: Secure networks are required to move plant-floor data to executives who need it. OT and IT staff must coordinate efforts — and budgets — to build these data highways.
  • Link IoT plant data to enterprise systems: OT and IT staff must work together to transform real-time plant and machine data into actionable information for enterprise resource planning and manufacturing execution systems.
  • Channel enterprise information to business analytics applications: OT and IT staff need to facilitate the smooth transfer of information into big-data applications that provide the basis for informed decisions.

Unfortunately, many manufacturers’ OT and IT staffs rarely collaborate. For example, just 43% report that their OT and IT staffs work together in linking operations data with business analytics.

OT and IT do not often collaborateSource: “Leveraging the Internet of Things Takes Talent — and Collaboration,” SAP, 2017.

This lack of coordination means that employees who could use IoT information to improve performance — quality, equipment reliability, safety, timeliness, productivity, etc. —  can’t:

  • Only 34% of manufacturers say that all corporate executives who need IoT-enabled data can access it.
  • Only 13% of manufacturers say that all customers who need IoT-enabled data can access it.
  • Only 13% of manufacturers say that all suppliers who need IoT-enabled data can access it.

Manufacturers leveraging the IoT are understandably focused on the technologies to make this happen — smart devices, controls, sensors, networks, etc. But they must also:

  • Break down OT/IT siloes
  • Recruit collaborative IoT technology talent
  • Drive cultural change in technology departments, changing their roles from IT rule-makers/problem-fixers to providers of value-added services and support

How well do your OT and IT departments collaborate?

Stay tuned for more on how IoT can increase your profitability and productivity. In the meantime, download the report “Catch Up with IoT Leaders” to learn why it is challenging for many manufacturers to get the right data to the right executives in the right format.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Learning To Live With The ‘Intelligence Of Things’

In our business and personal lives, we’ve become accustomed to an ever-increasing number of devices connected through the Internet of Things (IoT). In addition, artificial intelligence technologies are more prevalent in various applications and tools. As these two technologies converge, they are creating a new “intelligence of things” that will impact how businesses can best serve customers.

Things that can think

Early sensors and devices gathered and shared huge volumes of data. But they typically included little to no intelligence or self-awareness of their own. That’s now changing.

As IoT devices begin to incorporate self-learning features, they can do more and deliver enhanced insight to business users. Some devices will soon be able to monitor their own environment and report on failures or breaches. Others may warn of safety issues. Connected things, such as IoT devices on a shop floor, can use collective data to create a more holistic view of conditions.

But we’re only at the beginning. In the next few years, experts expect that more things – both big and small – will become equipped with sensors and capture a multitude of actions. To take advantage of this wealth of data, companies will need to create innovative business models. One likely shift: many enterprises that now sell products will increasingly offer data-driven services that deliver a better customer experience.

With the Internet “in” everything, look for a wide variety of new use cases, such as:

  • Travel: Sensors that correlate flight data with luggage and passenger location, optimizing logistics chains and offering targeted, customer-centric services
  • Agriculture: Intelligent field equipment that receives data from weather, soil, and seed sensors, helping farmers plant the right crops at the right time in the best location
  • Manufacturing and production: Sensor data correlated from vehicle locations, pallets of goods, and employees, boosting the efficiency of the logistics chain
  • Healthcare: Wearable devices that report on patient metrics, helping clinicians identify life-threatening conditions or suggest behavioral changes that could improve a person’s health
  • Municipal services: Embedded road sensors that monitor traffic, air pollution, and highway conditions, helping public service organizations improve citizen quality of life
  • Energy and environmental: Connected sensors and applications that allow businesses to centrally and securely control devices and the energy they consume for greater cost savings and enhanced sustainability

IoT innovations

 Until now, the benefits of making devices smart have been limited to controlling our homes or making incremental improvements to business operations. But this value will certainly grow as the intelligence of things expands.

For example, utility companies could reduce power demand by adjusting LED lights from bright white to a yellow tone that saves thousands of watts of energy. Consumers might sign up for discounted service plans where utilities automatically adjust their heating and air conditioning to match weather conditions, slashing regional power consumption. And that’s just in the energy industry.

As the technology matures, business leaders in every market need to be ready to think beyond conventional use cases and develop innovative new applications that improve the customer experience. Those leaders willing to pursue opportunities offered by the intelligence of things will surely be first to reap the rewards of the IoT.

To learn how the evolution of smart devices and the IoT will change the way businesses serve their customers, read our eBook.

This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.


Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

The Internet of Insecure Things

The Internet of Insecure Things

The Internet of Insecure Things

An article by León Markovitz, Marketing Manager at Netonomy (Twitter @getnetonomy).

From home appliances to health applications and security solutions, everything we use at home – and outside of it, is getting connected to the Internet, becoming the Internet of Things (IoT). Think about how many connected devices you have at home: tablets, laptops, e-readers, fitness devices, smart TVs – how about your thermostat, light bulbs, refrigerator and security system? Our home has effectively become a connected home, with an average of 12 things connecting to our home Wi-Fi network, transmitting data and delivering added value. But as connected home appliances continue to grow, so too will the cybersecurity risks.

Consumers have been fast to adopt IoT devices on the promise that they can improve our lifestyles. These things track and optimize our energy consumption, facilitate our daily tasks, improve our health and wellness, keep us secure and empower us with the freedom and data to do other things better. But from a security point of view, this unregulated, insecure and fragmented market represents a clear and present danger to individuals and society as a whole, from the cyber to the physical realm.

Chart: IoT units by category 2016-2020To protect connected homes, a multi-faceted approach is recommended, combining a firewall blocking mechanism with machine learning and artificial intelligence to detect network anomalies. Millions of IoT devices are already compromised and we recommend communication service providers (CSPs) to initiate deployment of cybersecurity solutions today in parallel to their own R&D plans. By providing cybersecurity solutions through partnerships, they can begin to protect their vulnerable clients today and establish a market leadership position.

Cyber-threats

The declining costs to manufacture chips that can store and transmit data through a network connection have enabled thousands of organizations and startups to bring IoT products to market. But the current lack of standards and security certifications, coupled with fierce market competition to deliver affordable IoT products, have made cybersecurity an expense that manufacturers prefer others to deal with.

The lack of experience and incentives in the IoT supply chain to provide secure devices has created a tremendously vulnerable IoT landscape. In fact, according to recent findings by Symantec, IoT devices can become compromised within two minutes of connecting to the Internet1. Legislation has been too slow to deal with the current threat, and although there are public initiatives to drive cyber awareness among consumers, we do not expect any tangible changes soon.

examples of hacked IoT devices

There are many attack vectors and vulnerabilities to worry about in the Connected Home. From poor design decisions and hard-coded passwords to coding flaws, everything with an IP address is a potential backdoor to cyber crimes. Traditional cybersecurity companies reacted slowly and failed to provide defense solutions to the expanding universe of IoT devices. However, novel approaches with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – such as analyzing and understanding network behaviors to detect anomalies, are now available to defend against these new threats.

IoT vulnerabilities' attack surface

With all its challenges and opportunities, consumer IoT is destined to disrupt long-established industries, making it a space one cannot afford to ignore. One such long-established industry is precisely the one powering the revolution: the CSPs providing the broadband. By and large, telecommunication companies have failed to monetize the data running through their home gateways, missing out in big opportunities. We believe that the connected home, especially cybersecurity, is a low-hanging fruit that communication service providers can and should pick before it’s too late.

Home security and safety-related appliances are top revenue drivers in the connected home landscape, and telecom companies are well positioned to enter this market and rebrand themselves as innovative and secure companies interested in the well-being and privacy of their customers. By leveraging their existing assets, such as the home router, telecoms can provide holistic solutions that include cybersecurity, data management and customer support – giving them a unique advantage over their competitors. Consumers would much rather trust their CSPs to continue managing their data than giving it away to foreign or unknown companies. It is time for Internet Service Providers to reclaim their value as a Service Provider, else they risk missing out in this revolution as broadband continues to become commoditized.

Personal Risks

Hacking the connected homeStories of hacked IoT devices abound, a quick search online will lead you to scary stories, from spying Barbie dolls2, to TV sets monitoring you3 and creeps accessing baby cameras4. Most ironic and worrying of all are the security threats inherent in best-selling security systems, which can allow hackers to control the whole system, due to lack of encryption and sufficient cybersecurity standards5.

The cyber and physical risks intensify the more devices we connect: The volume of granular data that all these connected things generate when combined can provide a very detailed profile of the user, which can be used for identity theft and blackmail.

Once an unprotected IoT device gets hacked, a skilled hacker can proceed to infect other devices in the network via “lateral movement”. By jumping from one device to another, a hacker can gain complete control of a connected home. Because this threat comes from within the network, it is important to have a security solution that provides network visibility, creates device profiles and detects anomalies through machine learning and artificial intelligence.

There have been enough stories in the news for the average consumer to be aware of cyber threats, they know security is important and that they don’t have it, but they lack the resources to properly protect themselves. IoT manufacturers should be held accountable to prioritize security, but until that happens, the responsibility and opportunity falls on CSPs to protect the consumers.

Structural Risks

What makes the IoT ecosystem a potentially deadly cyber threat is the combined computing and networking power of thousands of devices which, when operated together as a botnet, can execute massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and shut down large swaths of the Internet through a fire hose of junk traffic. The IoT ecosystem represents a totally different level of complexity and scale in terms of security and privacy.

type of infected devicesIn October 2016, we got a taste of this structural risk when the infamous Mirai botnet attacked the DNS company Dyn with the biggest DDoS attack ever reported: more than 1 terabit per second (Tbps) flooded the service, temporarily blocking access to Netflix, Twitter, Amazon, PayPal, SoundCloud, New York Times and others. The Mirai botnet used enslaved IoT devices -nearly 150,000 hacked cameras, routers and smart appliances, to inadvertently do its criminal bidding, and most of the infected devices remain out there, with their users oblivious to the fact.

The way Mirai malware spreads and attacks is well known: it scans the web for open Telnet and SSH ports, browsing for vulnerable devices using factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords, then uses an encrypted tunnel to communicate between the devices and command and control (C&C) servers that send instructions to them. Since Mirai uses encrypted traffic, it prevents security researchers from monitoring the command and data traffic.

The source code for Mirai was posted soon after on the Hackforums site6, enabling other criminals to create their own strains of the malware. It is not necessary to have an “army” of thousands of infected devices to cause harm. Mini-DDoS botnets, with hundreds of compromised nodes, are sufficient to cause temporary structural damage and reduce the chances of getting caught -expect more of these attacks in the future.

geography of infected devices

Capturing vulnerable devices to turn them into botnets has become a cyber crime gold rush, with an estimated 4000 vulnerable IoT devices becoming active each day7, and criminals selling and renting botnets in the dark net at competitive prices to cause harm. Although simple to understand, this sort of malware is hard to detect because it does not generally affect device performance, so the average user cannot know if their device is part of a botnet – and even if they did, it’s often difficult to interact with IoT devices without a user interface.

Stakeholders should take proactive steps that can prevent future incidents by addressing the lack of security-by-design in the IoT landscape. The Mirai malware was a warning shot, and organizations must be prepared for larger and potentially more devastating attacks. Because of market failures at play, regulation seems like the only way forward to incentivize device manufacturers to implement security in their design, but doing so could stifle innovation and prove disastrous to the ecosystem. It is because of this delicate balance that we believe service providers are perfectly positioned to seize this problem as an opportunity to become market leaders in the emerging field of IoT cybersecurity.

Looking Forward

The frequency of cyber threats is increasing as the IoT landscape continues to expand. Gartner predicts that by 2020, addressing compromises in IoT security will have increased security costs to 20% of annual security budgets, from less than one percent in 20158. The threats to consumers and society are numerous, but joint cybersecurity and cyber-hygiene efforts by manufacturers, legislators, service providers and end users, will mitigate the inherent risks discussed in this paper.

Until that happens, service providers are uniquely positioned and encouraged to begin offering cybersecurity services to their consumers through their home gateways: the main door of the home network. Communication Service Providers that provide home network security and management solutions today can become the preferred brand for Smart Home solutions and appliances, leading IoT market adoption while preventing the cyber risks associated with it.

Netonomy has developed a solution that is available today for service providers interested in providing a layer of security to their consumers and become a trusted market leader in the emerging IoT landscape. Because it is cloud-based, this solution can be instantly deployed across thousands of routers at a low cost and bring immediate peace of mind to consumers.

Netonomy’s Solution:
Netonomy provides a simple, reliable and secure network for the connected home. Through a minimal-footprint agent installed on the home router, we provide a holistic solution to manage the connected home network and protect it from internal and external security threats. Our unique technology can be deployed on virtually all the existing home gateways quickly and at a minimal cost, providing ISPs and router manufacturers with better visibility into home networks and a premium service that can be sold to customers to make their connected future simple, reliable and secure.
1 “2017 Internet Security Threat Report.” Symantec, 2017, https://resource.elq.symantec.com/LP=3980?cid=70138000001BjppAAC&mc=202671&ot=wp&tt=sw&inid=symc_threat-report_regular_to_leadgen_form_LP-3980_ISTR22-report-main
2 Gibbs, Samuel. “Hackers can hijack Wi-Fi Hello Barbie to spy on your children.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 26 Nov. 2015, www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/26/hackers-can-hijack-wi-fi-hello-barbie-to-spy-on-your-children
3 Goldman, David. “Your Samsung TV is eavesdropping on your private conversations.” CNNMoney, Cable News Network, 10 Feb. 2015, money.cnn.com/2015/02/09/technology/security/samsung-smart-tv-privacy/
4 Flannigan on August 18, Jenna. “Parental Warning: Baby Monitors Can Be Hacked.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 18 Aug. 2016, www.healthline.com/health-news/baby-monitors-can-be-hacked
5 Storm, Darlene. “Of 10 IoT-Connected home security systems tested, 100% are full of security FAIL.” Computerworld, Computerworld, 11 Feb. 2015, www.computerworld.com/article/2881942/cybercrime-hacking/of-10-iot-connected-home-security-systems-tested-100-are-full-of-security-fail.html
6 Goodin – Oct 2, 2016 10:39 pm UTC, Dan. “Brace yourselves—source code powering potent IoT DDoSes just went public.” Ars Technica, 2 Oct. 2016, arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/10/brace-yourselves-source-code-powering-potent-iot-ddoses-just-went-public/
7 Scott, James, and Drew Spaniel. “Rise of the Machines: The DYN Attack Was Just A Practice Run.” Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, Dec. 2016, icitech.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ICIT-Brief-Rise-of-the-Machines.pdf
8 “Gartner Says Worldwide IoT Security Spending to Reach $ 348 Million in 2016.” Gartner, 25 Apr. 2016, www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3291817

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IoT Business News

LTE Standards Lead to Massive Internet of Things

LTE Standards Lead to Massive Internet of Things

LTE Standards Lead to Massive Internet of Things

5G Americas announces new report on progress towards 5G Cellular IoT.

5G Americas*, today announced the publication of LTE Progress Leading to the 5G Massive Internet of Things to outline the technological advancements that will support the growing markets for wearables, health care, connected vehicles, and more Internet of Things (IoT).

This market is predicted to be a key business driver of the telecom industry and its upcoming next generation. IoT will require new technology requirements for its varied use cases. More recently, the industry has created the term Massive IoT (MIoT), referring to the connection for potentially tens of billions of devices and machines, that will require further definition in the standards for LTE and later for 5G.

“Some cellular service providers in the U.S. are already adding more IoT connections than mobile phone connections, and the efforts at 3GPP in defining standards for the successful deployment of a wide variety of services across multiple industries will contribute to the growing success for consumers and the enterprise,” noted Jean Au, Staff Manager, Technical Marketing, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and co-leader of 5G Americas whitepaper LTE Progress Leading to the 5G Massive Internet of Things.

Today, Low-Power Wide-Area (LPWA) is already gaining attention and it is anticipated that cellular-based technologies such as LTE-M (Machine) and Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) will become the leading LPWA standards by 2020. Operators can choose from several Cellular IoT (CIoT) technologies based on their spectrum portfolio, legacy networks, and requirements of their offered services.

LTE-M is the commercial term for enhanced Machine-Type Communication (eMTC) LPWA technology published in the 3GPP Release 13 specification along with NB-IoT. Both technologies will continue to evolve in subsequent releases. They are supported by the vast majority of all major mobile manufacturers and can co-exist with 2G, 3G, and 4G cellular networks. As they are 3GPP-standardized and run on licensed spectrum, they offer clear advantages over non-cellular IoT technologies with technical features such as carrier-grade security.

The generic requirements for IoT are low cost, energy efficiency, ubiquitous coverage, and scalability (ability to support a large number of connected machines in a network). In the 3GPP Release 13 standard, eMTC and NB-IoT meet the generic IoT requirements: they support in-band or guard band operations; device cost and complexity are reduced; a large quantity of IoT devices can be supported in a network; and battery life is extended. 3GPP Release 14 in 2017 introduces enhanced mobility, Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), support of higher data rates, broadcast (enhanced Multicast Downlink transmission) and improved positioning capabilities, among other innovations for CIoT.

“Whereas 4G has been driven by device proliferation, bandwidth hungry mobile services, and dynamic information access, 5G will also be driven by IoT applications,” remarked Vicki Livingston, Head of Communications, 5G Americas. “There will be a wide range of IoT use cases in the future, and the market is now expanding toward both Massive IoT deployment as well as more advanced solutions that may be categorized as Critical IoT.”

To reach massive scale, which is defined by 3GPP as at least 1 million devices per square kilometer, mobile networks must more efficiently support the simplest devices that communicate infrequently, and are ultra-energy efficient so they can deliver an extremely long ten-year battery life. The requirement would be for low-cost devices with low energy consumption and good coverage. Alternatively, Critical IoT applications will have very high demands for reliability, availability, and low latency which could be enabled by LTE or 5G capabilities. Declining modem costs, evolving LTE functionality and 5G capabilities are all expected to extend the range of applications for critical IoT deployments. However, many use cases exist between these two extremes, which today rely on 2G, 3G or 4G connectivity.

Chris Pearson, President, 5G Americas, confirmed:

“Network connectivity is essential for the IoT and there are many wireless access technologies currently in use. However, given the wide variety of use cases, environments and requirements, no single connectivity technology or standard can adequately serve all use cases, so this is where development of multiple 3GPP cellular technology standards can cater to the future. 3GPP is keeping up with the growth of IoT to address the market demand.”

LTE Progress Leading to the 5G Massive Internet of Things was written by co-leaders Betsy Covell, Nokia Bell Labs Senior Standards Manager and Jean Au, Staff Manager, Technical Marketing, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. as well as Vicki Livingston of 5G Americas and representatives from member companies on 5G Americas’ Board of Governors who participated in the development of this white paper. The “5G Massive Internet of Things” whitepaper is available for free download.
*the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas

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Google pushes Android Things to Developer Preview 6

Google pushes Android Things to DP6

Search and cloud computing giant Google has launched the developer preview version 6 (DP6) of its Android Things offering.

Billed as an IoT platform, Google’s Android Things is intended to provide developers with a way to build connected devices for many consumer, retail and industrial applications, from smart locks to sensor control systems. 

The latest developer preview of the platform (DP6) irons out some bugs and offers a selection of new features.

Internet of Business has been tracking Android Things since its launch this time last year, and understands that Google intends to position this technology as a means of coding device applications with functions including video and audio processing.

Plans also include the option to enable on-board machine learning using TensorFlow, an open-source software library for machine intelligence.

Read more: Google launches Android Things, a new IoT platform for developers

Launching a launcher

According to Wayne Piekarski, Google developer advocate for IoT, DP6 includes a new ‘IoT launcher’ that allows the user to see the current state of a device and change settings using a touchscreen or USB input devices.

“Settings such as configuring the WiFi, finding the build ID, and checking for updates is now something that can be done interactively, making it even easier to get started,” he said.

Android users have become increasingly used to the notion of ‘launchers’, by virtue of the success of Google’s ‘Now’ launcher for Android. A launcher can perhaps be best described as a software ‘overlay’ designed to provide a new core graphical user interface (GUI) in a defined functionality style.

Read more: Sophos unveils Android Things and Windows 10 IoT device management capabilities

More granular IoT controls

Android Things uses the open-source SwiftShader library, a CPU-based implementation of the OpenGL ES application programming interface (API). Google executives say this enables common OpenGL support across all platforms, even those with no GPU hardware.

“New APIs have been added to Android Things that control the configuration of the local device and device updates. UpdateManager gives developers control over when updates and reboots can be performed, ensuring the device is available for the user when needed,” Piekarski explained. “DeviceManager controls factory reset, reboot, and device locales. APIs are also provided for settings such as ScreenManager to control the screen and TimeManager to control the clock and timezone.”

So developer-centric from the start  – yes. But what Google has done in this latest round of updates is to give more defined pointers on what type of core functionality controls are needed in IoT devices and offer more guidelines to developers on the kind of IoT programming that Google says it champions.

Read more: Volvo teams up with Google to put Android into connected cars

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