Adressing the IoT myths

GUPTA, Gagan       Posted by GUPTA, Gagan
      Published: December 6, 2021
        |  

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With the Evolution of IoT...

   Any new technology involves a certain amount of uncertainty and business risk. In the case of the Internet of Things, however, many of the risks have been exaggerated or misrepresented. While the IoT vision will take years to mature fully, the building blocks to begin this process are already in place. Key hardware and software are either available today or under development; stakeholders need to address security and privacy concerns, and collaborate to implement the open standards that will make the IoT safe, secure, reliable and interoperable, and allow the delivery of secured services as seamlessly as possible

   Internet of Things has a great potential to enable improvements in so many facets of life; the list is endless. However, for it to create a positive impact on us, we need to focus more on the facts.

  There is also the question of immediacy with IoT. Data is generated so quickly and has such a short shelf-life, storage becomes a problem. IoT is dependent on fast data and immediate insight, and connecting a wide range of devices can make real-time processing and analysis that much harder.

Myth #1: IoT is a Future Technology

   The Internet of Things is simply the logical next step in an evolutionary process. The truth is that the technological building blocks of the IoT - including microcontrollers, microprocessors, environmental and other types of sensors, and short range and long range networking communications - are in wide-spread use today, for many decades now. They have become far more powerful, even as they get smaller and less expensive to produce.

   The Internet of Things, as we define it, while evolving the existing technologies further, simply adds one additional capability - a secured service infrastructure - to this technology mix. Such a service infrastructure will support the communication and remote control capabilities that enable a wide variety of Internet-enabled devices to work together.

Myth #2: IoT is just about Big Data

   This one is my favorite; mostly floated by the IT sector, this is another great myth about IoT; and it is not the fact. Big Data is an idea that useful information can be derived or extracted from a large set of data. With the advent of IoT term, everyone has started to stick it to smart and connected things. In some cases, data being aggregated may be sourced from IoT devices, but that is not a requirement or typical for the majority of IoT devices. Many devices are often paired with an application on user smartphones. Quite often, the data generated by IoT devices do not even touch levels of big-data limits. Just because massive data can be created with the least efforts does not mean that it will be indeed generated. That is an inefficient and less responsible approach.

   This is evident by new terms that are coming up like fog computing and roof computing et al. Each of those terms is merely marketing gimmicks to generate some attention; core utility is getting buried ten feet under due to this naming game. Moreover, this is just another view from cloud services & IT infrastructure providers, which is limiting their ability to see through the whole solution.

From the customer's point of view, only the end-to-end application is sensible and useful, big (or small) data doesn't matter to them at all.



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Adressing the IoT myths
Adressing the IoT myths

Myth #3: IoT is just about Things

   According to Cisco, "The fundamental problem posed by the IoT is that network power remains very centralized. Even in the era of the cloud, when you access data and services online you're mostly communicating with a relative few massive data centers that might not be located particularly close to you. That works when you're not accessing a ton of data and when latency isn't a problem, but it doesn't work in the Internet of Things, where you could be doing something like monitoring traffic at every intersection in a city to more intelligently route cars and avoid gridlock. In that instance, if you had to wait for that chunk of data to be sent to a data center hundreds of miles away, processed, and then commands sent back to the streetlights, it would already be too late - the light would have already needed to change."

   Cisco says that the solution is to do more computing closer to the sensors (fog computing) that are gathering the data in the first place, so that the amount of data that needs to be sent to the centralized servers is minimized and the latency is mitigated. Cisco says that this data crunching capability should be put on the router. This, however, is only part of the story. Getting the right data from the right device at the right time is not just about hardware and sensors, instead it is about data intelligence. If you can understand data and only distribute what is important, at the application level, this is more powerful than any amount of hardware you throw at the problem.

This prioritization of data should be done at the application level where there is logic. Combine this with data caching at the network edge and you have a solution that reduces latency.

Myth #4: Every IoT device can be hacked remotely

   One of the over hyped security issues is - every IoT device can be hacked remotely and therefore, must incorporate heavy security. However, truth is far from this myth. Every IoT device cannot be hacked remotely and not even locally in many cases. Besides just incorporating SSL communication and encryption of data, there are umpteen issues to be dealt while working on IoT solution. This includes physical security of the device, collateral damages, misuse, etc.

   Take an example of a temperature sensor that is sending temperature readings at a specified interval to its gateway or hub or maybe to the Internet directly. How, do you think it could be hacked? How can someone change the working of this device? If this device doesn't listen usually and is only transmitting the data, how can the hacker modify the device and render it useless? Data spoofing, modifications while in transit are different problems and do not affect the IoT device as such; it is an infrastructure level issue. However, the impact is still visible in the solution as a whole.

   Primary advancement of IoT is enabling the interconnectedness of things, which can result in insights and synergies. And yet the same connectedness raises concerns for security and privacy that must be addressed.
Not everything in IoT solution is hackable. There are only a few vulnerabilities to be worked upon.

Myth #5: Internet of Things is only M2M centered

   There are many aspects of a M2M centered environment in IoT but it is no way only focused on M2M. In Internet of Things, the communication is not only between machines, there can be a number of other hosts that can act as controllers as well as repository centers. Also remote monitoring is also an important aspect of IoT which uses predominantly smart phones. IoT also implies remote monitoring and control of not so machine-like devices such as smartphones which could have an app communicating with the same host as of the other devices.

Myth #6: IoT Standards is non existence

   Neither there is no IoT standard nor there's only one. There are many standards that control and restrict the development of IoT applications. There are standards like wireless Thread standard from Thread Group but most of the standards of IoT are established on existing standards like the IPv6 communication protocol, the MQTT embedded control protocol and the 802.15.4 wireless protocol.

What is important to know is there is no one ruling standard that controls the developments in Internet of Things domain, not yet. We are not going to have one any sooner either. Due to presence of different verticals and domain centered nature of IoT applications it is unlikely that one standard will dominate others.



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Myth #7: IoT development is easy

   Most IoT vendors want you to believe that development of IoT applications is easy but there is a twist in the tale. Getting your device up and running is just tip of the iceberg that can be achieved with any IoT development kit in few hours. However the real challenge is to get your device connect with other devices, monetize its operation and all of this while maintaining security and reliability.

An IoT solution is much more than just a connected product - it has a smart product or device, a mobile app, cloud software, dashboard, or one or more application programs. Each IoT solution development has to touch base with at least seven different critical stages to deliver a meaningful solution that would be business viable, technically feasible and would make sense for the customers. Developing an IoT solution is not plug & play or drag & drop thing, it is way more than that.

Myth #8: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

   Due to over hype, many people are having FOMO feeling these days. This fear is being breaded by smart sales tactics to push products at different levels. Many companies are feeling that if they don't do anything now about IoT, they will lose forever.

   Losing an opportunity is a different issue, and IoT is not the only ground for this. If you are facing FOMO, the right thing would be to ask yourself, is it relevant to you? Is it relevant now?

   For instance, if your industry doesn't have any infrastructure or relevance for getting products Internet connected as of now, would it make sense to convert your product or solution to the Internet-connected? Why would someone waste resources on doing something too early! The keyword here is too soon. If a company wants to take the lead and set the precedence by being the first in that industry, it could be a valid reason.

   Just remember that IoT is not timed or limited phenomenon, the clock is not ticking! It will continue to exist for many years to come. Being restless and jumping into doing something without due thinking would only harm your product.

Sane and sensible adoption of any technology is the key. Keep a close watch and grab the opportunity only when there is a right time.

Myth #9: More IoT security means less User Privacy

   Security and privacy tend to be related, but this is a false dichotomy. Individual or organizational privacy is a matter of keeping information away from other individuals or organizations. This is often done using security-related techniques such as encryption to keep data away from prying eyes.

   Typically, IoT data at least flows through servers on the Internet, usually to an application on a user's control device like a smartphone. The server is usually controlled by a third party that has access to the data. Whether they use this data for other purposes affects privacy.

Conclusion

   In the end, "detection" is the worst possible outcome for an IoT device. Detection means that damage has already occurred and likely has spread. Our IoT cyber security philosophy needs to be rooted in stopping problems from entering our digital sphere in the first place.

   The reality of the IoT is that if you want to distribute data from the 'thing' across the network in real time over unreliable networks you need intelligent data distribution. To lighten the load on the network by reducing your bandwidth usage, you need to understand your data. By understanding it, you can apply intelligence to only distribute what's relevant or what has changed. This means you send only small pieces of data across a congested network. The result is IoT apps with accurate, up to date information, at scale, because you'll be able to cope with the millions of devices connecting to your back-end. You won't be hit with huge pieces of data at once, shutting down your services.

   Just don't pay attention to those myths. They're shiny objects that divert your attention from the stuff that really matters.


At Vyom Data Sciences, we can help you build and accomplish your IoT strategy or approach that suits your business requirements and your company's objectives. If you want to see how we can assist in your IoT dreams, schedule an appointment with one of our IoT experts today.



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