IoT Security Challenges and how can we address them?

From music speakers to thermostats, to lights and accessories, everything has some sort of intelligence; We are living in tech heaven, to be precise. Having moved from keypads to touch interfaces, we are currently in the no interface era. Every company is focusing on getting the maximum done with very little interaction with the device, and that means voice-activated computing powered by artificial intelligence.

Opportunities IoT Implementations Can Bring

The thing that makes everyone excited about the future of IoT is the versatility of solutions it can provide. This also makes IoT the buzzword of the decade because we can expect an explosion of IoT solutions in various sectors.

Internet-equipped sensors on any device make it possible to tap all the unused data, and analysis of this data leads into inferences about things that are usually considered ‘offline’. This can lead to better productivity, reduce cost, and can bring about a sustainable lifestyle.

Think about it – there are so many devices we use on a daily basis that is generating vast amounts of data. This data provides great insight into user behaviour, the implications of this data over the lifecycle of a device is still unknown. For example, the information generated by health bands provides insight into your daily habits, like step counts, heart rate and sleep pattern.

Wearable technology enabled bands, accessories and even clothes are connected to the phone and are recording data about everything from blood pressure to the posture.

Further, this can help transform insights into action through powerful applications thereby creating new revenue and business opportunities.

Also speaking of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is not just the companies building consumer-facing products that are a big deal, there are many companies providing wireless power solutions and cloud-based solutions that are more useful. This increase in IoT adoptions have also made organizations rethink traditional IT approaches.

Need for Security:

Since the term ‘IoT’ was coined first, the definition has evolved a lot. In a generic sense though, this is a highly intelligent Machine-to-Machine technology which has potential to revolutionize how we live and work.

While we enjoy these benefits, there is a huge chance that things could go wrong. Chances of data leaks, modification, the hacker gaining control over your products etc. Hence, it is important to focus on these areas and ensure that we are safe and secure.

Further, the increase in the adoption of IoT based technology in areas of a home, retail and industrial automation, health & fitness monitoring and connected vehicles as well as the advent and growth of Smart cities, has also resulted in a greater need for a better model to secure these products.

Key Security Challenges and Solutions for protecting IoT devices

Security and Privacy are critical issues for any company that offers IoT Based products and solutions. According to Gartner, it is expected that by the year 2020, we will have over 25 billion devices connected to the Internet.

It is important to understand the key security challenges that come along with IoT; this needs more attention to detail than anything else. With the rise of connected devices, IoT based products need built-in security that can cover every aspect of the design. Let us look at the top 5 areas that can help make secure IoT solutions.

1. Secure Product Lifecycle:

Security must be addressed throughout the device lifecycle, from the initial design to the operational environment. Ensuring the product boots up with the known configurations and only digitally signed applications are installed.

The products have to be tamper-proof as well. The device should ensure data encryption is used; for when in transport and at rest. Also, it’s important to use secure APIs and tokens for access authorization. Usage of PKIs will also ensure Data Integrity.

The devices need to be properly secured to mitigate risks for organizations and individuals from malicious attacks.

2. Maintain Updates on Devices:

When we analyze the reasons behind the increasing numbers of vulnerabilities on IoT products, there clearly stands out two important reasons:

  1. Lack of standards and guidelines in the manufacturing of IoT devices.
  2. More open source platforms usage also allows attackers to stay ahead of the curve.

To address this, it’s important to have a security validation done on these devices before deploying these products in a work environment. It is also important to perform continuous updates and patching on personal devices to reduce vulnerabilities.

3. Secure Device Settings:

Data Leaks in IoT is another threat vector which most of the companies need to focus on. In the wake of massive data breaches and data theft cases we’ve seen in recent years, more effort needs to be made to secure IoT-related data to ensure the privacy of consumers and the functionality of businesses and corporations.

The gateways that connect IoT devices to company or manufacturer networks need to be secured as well as the devices themselves. IoT devices are always connected and on. In contrast to other devices, they go through a one-time authentication process, which can make them perfect sources of infiltration into company networks. Therefore, more security needs to be implemented on these gateways to improve the overall security of the system.

Data Integrity is a key aspect that would need focus as well. Certificates for devices validate identities to make sure only authorized users and machines have access to the device. It creates an encrypted link and allows information to be transmitted privately. They also make sure that any messages or data transferred from/to the device are not altered.

Good security principles are needed; regardless it is a low-powered device or a desktop class laptop.

4. Defense in Depth Strategy:

Defense in depth often includes usage of products and solutions like AV software, firewalls, anti-spyware programs, hierarchical passwords, intrusion detection and biometric verification.

Defense in Depth strategy would be the ideal solution for securing data from the IoT devices. Defense in Depth is an information assurance mechanism where multiple layers of security controls are placed throughout an information technology system.

A well-designed strategy will help system administrators identify people who attempt to compromise a device. If a hacker gains access to a system, defence in depth minimizes the adverse impact and gives administrators and engineers time to deploy new or updated countermeasures to prevent recurrence.

5. Default Passwords:

Most devices are ready to use out-of-the-box, attackers have learned how to leverage this to access devices discovered on the internet through tools like Shodan which has an inventory of Cameras, Refrigerators and other IoT devices. This has also been leveraged to employ devices to participate in massive attacks on the Internet.

In October 2016, Dyn DNS was attacked with IoT devices which were taken over in this way and caused a prolonged outage for sites including Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify and Netflix.

Changing your default password on all devices helps prevent this type of attack and helps maintain your privacy.

Summary:

IoT devices can help simplify and improve our visibility and capabilities, at the same time it can expose us to new threats, taking a few simple steps will help protect us against these threats:

  • Keep devices up to date
  • Choose Secure settings available
  • Change all default passwords.

Building a successful IoT environment will require massive amounts of coordination and strong analytics. More platforms are coming up to sync up devices on a data level, and not just with respect to connectivity alone.

Just like any other field, there are many sceptics around in tech industry as well. They predict IoT as a bubble that would burst very soon. But for the rest of us, we are definitely heading towards a better, sustainable future where there’s going to be a lot more evolution happening on the IoT front and we will be there to protect it.

 

Welcome to India, Amazon Alexa and Echo Devices.

Amazon Today announced the Alexa Powered Echo Devices in India. Early adopters and developers may request an invitation to purchase devices beginning today on Amazon.in.

Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are voice-controlled speakers designed entirely around your voice—they are always ready, hands-free, and fast. Alexa is the brain behind Echo—since Alexa runs in the cloud, the service is always getting smarter.

For a limited time, eligible customers will receive an introductory discount of 30% off the purchase price of Echo devices and one year of Prime membership. Devices will ship beginning the week of October 30th.

Using these devices is as simple as asking Alexa – Alexa will answer questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, check the calendar, provide sports scores, control lights at home, and much more. With Echo’s far-field voice control, you can do all this from across the room using just your voice. ​

Developers can get started at https://developer.amazon.com/in/alexa-skills-kit.

Add Capabilities to Alexa Using the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK)

The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of free, self-service APIs and tools that make it fast and easy for developers to create skills, or capabilities, for Alexa. Anyone can design and build for voice, no coding knowledge is required. From daily news updates, to interactive games, to smart-home integrations, developers from India and all over the world are creating voice-first experiences with Alexa. More than 10,000 skills will be available when the service launches to customers in India this month.

Build Skills with Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Whether it’s computing power, database storage, or content delivery, AWS has a wide range of services to help developers build sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability.

The easiest way for Alexa skill developers to connect their skill to the cloud is to use AWS Lambda, an innovative compute service that runs code only when needed and scales automatically, so there is no need to provision or continuously run servers.

Developers can also enhance and scale skills using additional AWS offerings such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon CloudFront.

Alexa Voice Service (AVS): Integrate Alexa into Any Connected Product

The Alexa Voice Service (AVS) enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device. AVS provides developers with access to a suite of resources to quickly and easily build Alexa-enabled products, including APIs, hardware development kits, software development kits, and documentation.

Through AVS, device makers can add a new intelligent interface to their products and offer customers access to a growing number of Alexa features, smart home integrations, and skills. Starting today, developers can begin building an AVS prototype, and can sign up for the developer preview to be notified when AVS will be widely available for customers in India.

Mi Wifi Router 3C Review: Smarter and Faster with better Control

Mi has officially announced their Mi 3C WiFi router in India, today. If you’re looking for a router that’s simple, sleek, lightweight, good range, and with good control and flexibility, look no further, we found your perfect match. This Router is equipped with 4 outer antennas with 2.4 GHz single frequency, that makes it accessible from long distances, suited for larger homes. Also ensures a more stable connection with fast and optimised signal, with the highest rate of 300 MBps.

The Mi 3C router is designed for people who don’t really enjoy navigating through the admin console on the browser for setting up the router. Well, to be honest, it is not such a huge deal setting up a router, but who doesn’t love a simple app with a good interface especially when compared to a really outdated version of the same on the browser; The WiFi router can be set up with an app (Android or iOS). You’re good to go in a few steps; Just make sure you create an account with Mi. We can talk later about the app, but for now, here are some screen grabs to give you an idea of how this works.

The app reports both upload and download speeds coming into the router, making it easy to monitor the speed and usage more carefully. If you’re obsessive about testing your home WiFi speed at various points of the day, (really?) this can be done remotely too! So I ran some speed tests on the device to see how it fares on my WiFi, with the WiFi boost option etc. The WiFi boost option basically checks the WiFi quality, signal strength, Bandwidth allocation and network speed and makes decisions for optimisation. However, on my network, every time it said no optimisation was required.

I personally like how I can limit and set priorities for bandwidth usage of every connected device. If I’m streaming music and gaming at the same time, I would allocate more bandwidth for the gaming device compared to music streaming, and such. This is rather helpful if you are constantly maxing out on your connection. So, the next time your roommate’s friend is coming over and using up all your bandwidth, you know what to do!

You can also create guest networks for friends to use if you don’t want to share your password with them, and if you want to restrict access to shared files (if any). In case you’d like to share the password, the sharing options have also been made simple, like copying to a clipboard etc., and sharing over Messaging apps like ‘WeChat’. 

I agree, if you are more of an advanced user who likes playing around with the connection settings on the console, installing custom firmware or setting up various access points with the same network, you may not want to use the app but seriously, who would not like a no-nonsense setup and usage? The console on the browser can also be used if you’re concerned about the flexibility of options. In my observation, one of the primary drawbacks of this device is the presence of only three Ethernet ports. However, my connection speeds with the cable and over WiFi was pretty much the same. So unless you need connecting to multiple machines via LAN cables, this shouldn’t be an issue.

The Mi Wifi Router 3C priced at INR 1199, is a steal deal and definitely is a competition to the market leaders like D-link in this segment. To wrap up the review, for convenience, a great performance right out of the box. I would prefer this pocket-friendly, lightweight and consumer experience focussed router to the more expensive counterparts with the Guest Access/App Setup/Home control features.

As the first step to a whole wider range of other IoT/home automation devices and home connectivity, this is a really welcome beginning!

IoT Basics: How to Install an OS on Raspberry Pi

Due to a lot of requests, we’re introducing the ‘IoT Basics’ to our Explainer series covering all the important things you need to know to get started with a Raspberry Pi, aimed at newbies. We will be covering topics like – using a breadboard, the use of resistors, GPIO pins, among others. Let us look at how to install an OS on Raspberry Pi.

We all start pretty much in the same place; Buy a Raspberry Pi, unpack it, connect it to the power cable, install an Operating System and then may be start brainstorming for things to do with the Rpi, or start playing minecraft. (If you’re curious about the game, check pi store after installing the OS)

So, let’s begin with installing the OS.

First, select the Operating System. You can find the list of supported OS on ‘downloads’ page on the Raspberry pi website. You can download the OS from here.

IMPORTANT: Please note that the ‘dd’ tool can write over pretty much any partition on your machine, including the linux partition. So, please be careful when you specify the device name for writing over.

Preparing the SD card:

Run $ df -h to list all the currently mounted devices. Then insert the SD card and run the same command again. The newly appeared device on the list in the SD card that we are going to be writing the disk image to, so note the device id of the same. The device id on my machine is /dev/sdb

If your device id has a suffix like ‘p1’ or ‘1’ then it is referring to the partition. But remember that we need to write to the whole disk and not just the partition, so wherever we use the device id, drop the partition suffix and write unless specifically mentioned. For example, if the device id is /dev/mmcblk0p1 or /dev/sdb1, drop the last part ‘p1’ or ‘1’ respectively.

Now unmount the SD card, so that files can’t be read in or copied to the card while the image is being copied to the card.

Run $ sudo umount /dev/sdb1 including the partition number. If the list of devices showed up more than one device due to multiple partitions, unmount all of them. The command requires root permissions, so if you are not logged in as root, prefix all commands with sudo.

Now, run $ sudo dd bs=4M if=2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sdb command to write the OS image to the card

Make sure you replace the ’if’ parameter value with the path to the OS image that needs to be written, and the ‘of’ parameter value needs to be replaced with the device id of the SD card. Please make sure to be careful to specify the right name for the device name, as mentioned earlier. The device name should be specified without the partition number.

This will roughly take up to 3 to 4 minutes and the terminal would look like the process is frozen. If you are using an SD card reader, then the LED on it would blink continuously. Otherwise just run $ sudo pkill -USR1 -n -x dd on another terminal, and the progress would be displayed in the original terminal window.

Note: The block size is mentioned as ‘4M’ in the command. If it does not work, then change it to as less as ‘1M’ but remember that this will slow down the process quite a bit.

$ sudo dd bs=4M if=2016-05-27-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sdb
958+1 records in
958+1 records out
4019191808 bytes (4.0 GB) copied, 405.585 s, 9.9 MB/s

Finally, use $ sync to ensure that the write cache is flushed and it is safe to unmount the SD card.

If you are using windows, then check out Win32DiskImager utility.  Okay now that we’re done prepping the memory card, what next?

Booting for the first time:

For this you would require a USB keyboard, USB mouse, 5V USB power supply, HDMI monitor (I just connect the pi to my television), and of course the Raspberry Pi.

Installing OS on the Raspberry Pi3

Connect power and you should see the boot sequence on the TV. After first boot, the Raspberry Pi boots up in setup mode and if not, you can type the following command to get there:

$ sudo raspi-config

First things that need to be done are, resizing the file system to use the entire SD card, in my case it is 32GB. Check the first option on the setup menu. Then change the location and timezone to match yours. By default it is set to United Kingdom.

Now on rebooting the Raspberry Pi, it boots with the new configuration. The setup is now done and ready to use for any projects you’d like. For getting started with your first ever DIY project on the Raspberry Pi, check out this project.

Interfacing a Motion Detector Sensor with a Raspberry Pi 3

In the previous posts we discussed about why Internet of Things is the buzzword of the decade and how to get started working on a Raspberry Pi to fire up an LED light. But now we’re stepping up the game from lighting up LEDs to detecting motion.

Sitting in front of the laptop staring at my pi3 and the sensors I had just bought, I was wondering what to work on. Something that is pretty cool, not mundane, something that can be used as a building block for the upcoming projects, yet not very complicated for beginners.

Some brainstorming and my natural inclination towards image processing led me to interfacing the raspberry pi with the PIR motion detector sensor. One might wonder what a motion detector sensor has to do with images. Fret not, I have a camera module that is going to come in handy for the next building block.

The bigger picture I’m looking at, is to activate the camera module and detect a face in the frame when the motion detector sensor is triggered. Watch this space for more such building blocks, like installing opencv and learning more image processing, to lead up to the bigger picture.

Introduction to the sensor:

PIR sensor is a motion detection sensor that is used to detect whether a human has moved in or out of the sensor’s range. They are inexpensive, low power, small and easy to use. PIR is made of a pyroelectric sensor, (refer image) the rectangular crystal (which detects the level of IR radiation) covered with the round can. Ideal input voltage is 5V and the output signal when motion triggers the sensor is 3V.

The IR sensor in a motion detector is split in halves, because we’re only looking to detect motion, and not the IR levels. The sensor we are using use the BISS0001 chip. This chip takes the output of the sensor and does some minor processing on it to emit a digital output pulse from the analog sensor. Remember that the sensor can also be set off by your cat, just saying!

Motion Detector Sensor Raspberry Pi 3

Moving on to the project, let’s wire up the sensor to the Raspberry pi. You could connect the sensor directly to the GPIO pins of the pi, however we’re going to be connecting via a breadboard because it is easier to expand this project in the future. Remember that the sensor would work just as good, no matter which way you pick to connect it to the pi.

  1. Plug three M to F jumpers into the three pins on the PIR sensor.
  2. Plug the input pin (PIR-VCC) into the positive row of your breadboard, ground pin (PIR-GND) into the negative row, and output pin (PIR-OUT) into the other blank row.
  3. Connect the pin 6 (GPIO-GND) on the pi, to the negative row of the breadboard and PIR-OUT into any other blank row.
  4. Use another jumper wire to connect the pin 2 (GPIO 5V) on the pi to the positive rail of your breadboard (The same rail as PIR-GND wire)
  5. Connect the pin 26 (GPIO 7) to the same rail as the PIR-OUT. This is because we will be using pin 26 as an input to sense when the PIR detects motion.

Now that the hardware setup is done, let’s push some code into the pi so that it prints out a statement when the sensor senses movement.

https://gist.github.com/yayyme/88269e70674749580ca6b6c45f12b50c

The PIRs have a potentiometer inbuilt, that can be tuned to adjust the sensitivity of the sensor. Clockwise tuning increases the sensitivity, so if the print statements are running on an infinite loop, then tune the potentiometer in the anticlockwise direction.

Unfortunately, this method uses up a lot of computation power and makes sure the sensor keeps sensing continuously. We definitely don’t want that when we’re working on a more “real world” application. Since this is a pet project and something that we’re going to be using as a building block to a bigger project in the future, I’m inserting time.sleep() statement to not let the sensor work continuously.

Watch this space for more posts in the coming days. We will discuss on the architecture of Raspberry Pi, why I chose the Pi3 over Pi2, and more such topics on the foundation of IoT and Raspberry Pi. Also, do let me know if you have any questions or ideas!

SAM Labs Helps Kids Learn Coding through IoT

SAM Labs, Maker of educational technology kits to learn coding, engineering, and DIY; SAM teaches incredibly complex concepts through a hands-on and visual approach. Without any prior knowledge of coding or programming, one can program the SAM building blocks by connecting the dots in the SAM Space app to form wireless circuits and learn.

The journey for this company has been exciting. Great ride since the Kickstarter campaign, the pop-up at the Science Museum and Joachim’s TED talk has been giving them great lime-light, attention and of course learning.

The kits are comprised of sensors and actuators (inputs and outputs). These are what we call SAM blocks.

SAM Labs

Within each kit, there is an assortment of blocks that hook up to our app, SAM Space. The blocks and the app are designed with one project to get you started, but not to give too much away. They want users to feel they have gained a springboard to inventing. You can see the whole process below.

Within the app, circuits can be customised with dynamic elements and inventions can even be internet connected. With a wide range of sensors and actuators, a diverse range of add-ons within the app, and endless projects to complete.

SAM Labs Circuit Design

Great design isn’t just about great and colourful looking products, it has to provide for great user experience. Simplicity and user-friendliness is what makes it a good product.

SAM Labs is currently being used in some schools around the globe to aid teachers and students alike to learn coding and programming. Microsoft has also been a fabulous helper in promotion and a driving force of users to SAM from the fantastic articles published throughout the past few months.

They want to ensure that kids have the skills to be able to build their futures. By using SAM, they gain a visual and hands-on approach to coding and STEM subjects that engage all kids – no matter their gender, ethnicity, abilities, or age.

If you’re wondering, how do you get started for your kid, first download the app and teeter around with it for a bit. Then, pick the Inventor kit. This is a fantastic one to introduce coding and engineering principles through scientific exploration as this kit was designed in collaboration with the London Science Museum.

SAM Science Museum Kit

They hope to bring in more awesome projects and a new industry standard within the educational field to gamify education and make school feel like play. “Internet of Everything for Everyone” is one statement the company vouches on.

The powers of engineering and the IoT are crucial to the development of technology and innovation in the future. By giving these to kids, we’re giving them the power to sculpt the future of technology, not just use it.

India’s First IoT Focused CoE in Bengaluru

NASSCOM today launched India’s first Centre of Excellence – Internet of Things (CoE-IoT) at the NASSCOM Startups Warehouse in Bengaluru. The CoE will focus on leveraging IT strengths and creating a new age industry with the support of IoT based ideas.

The CoE is a joint initiative between the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DEITY), Education and Research Network (ERNET) and National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).

IoT board

The CoE laboratory along with the NASSCOM 10,000 Startups Warehouse has the capacity to incubate up to 40 start ups and can accommodate around 10 emerging companies per shift for prototype/ design and usage of lab facilities. The CoE also provides a separate space for validation, verification and demonstration as well as concept labs for developing IoT solutions for application areas like Agriculture, Automobile, Telecom, Healthcare and Consumer IoT.

The CoE is also supported by Accenture, CISCO, Cyient, EMC, Intel, HCL Technologies, Qualcomm, Tata Consultancy Services, L&T Technology Services, Robert Bosch and VM Ware as Strategic partners.  Amazon Web Services, Digital Ocean, IBM, Microsoft have signed up as Infrastructure partner to the initiative.

NASSCOM also shared some of the key-findings at the launch event. India has seen a Market Growth of 28% in IoT business from FY2015 to FY2016. Nearly 120 firms are offering IoT Solutions in India, out of which around 60% startups emerged after 2010. In the past 3 years, Indian IoT firms have received funding worth USD 60M and the IoT market in the country is expected to grow to USD 15B market by 2020. This would mean, roughly about 5% of the Global Market.

An increase in the adoption of IoT based technology in areas of home, retail and industrial automation, health & fitness monitoring and connected vehicles as well as the advent and growth of Smartcities, has resulted in a greater need of better solutions that lead to the evolution of a lifestyle dominated by technology. Few days ago, even HP announced the Industry First Converged System for IoT.

If you are keen to start developing IoT based solutions and products, there are many affordable boards available in the market today. Last week, MediaTek also announced their Helio based Development board with more powerful sensors for developers.

Divya has also written an article on how to get started with Raspberry Pi and building your first IoT DIY project. Have a look!

Meet Helio X20 Development Board from MediaTek

MediaTek today launched its Helio X20 Development Board, based on MediaTek’s high-end Helio X20 mobile processor, making it the first development board in the industry to use Tri-Cluster, deca-core and ARM® Cortex®-A72 technology.

To enable the widest range of smart gadgets and IoT devices to be prototyped, the board offers an extensive set of interfaces and connectivity peripherals. This includes interface for cameras, touch-screen displays and MMC/SD cards. Wireless communication is supported with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. GPS location acquisition is also included.

MediaTek Helio X20 Development Board
Source: MediaTek

The Helio X20 Development Board will be available in Asia soon and can be purchased from ArcherMind Technology. Its currently available here.

MediaTek’s Helio X20 Development Board leverages the Tri-Cluster deca-core structure  to more efficiently handle different types of workloads. It can delegate simple tasks to one cluster of cores, while directing more complex and more power-hungry tasks to the other clusters for smoother performance and extended battery life. It sounds to be an ideal platform for Android developers working on innovations for today’s existing and emerging markets.

The MediaTek Helio X20 Development Board is designed with the Linaro 96Boards specification, so it is compatible with other 96Boards products for other solutions. That means developers can easily incorporate their work into the Helio X20 Development Board and enjoy all the flexibility and creativity the board has to offer.

With this board you can prototype solutions for existing and emerging markets including POS, VR, advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS), digital signage, vending machines and more.

Industry First Converged System for IoT from HPE

IoT data originates remotely, often from equipment at the edge that emits analog data in industries like energy, manufacturing and utilities. Outside the traditional data center or cloud, the edge is in the field, on a plant floor, at an oil rig or copper mine—generating business, engineering and scientific insights. Few days ago, we published a story on why is IoT the buzzword of the decade. If you haven’t read it, we highly recommend you do so.

Today, the IoT data is sent to a data center or the cloud for future processing or analysis., which can be a slow, risky and inefficient process. HPE today introduced new IoT solutions that enable organizations to harness the power of their data by delivering real-time analytics and machine learning at the edge, where the “things” are. The result is the ability to take instant action and affect immediate control of your “things”.

Organisations are trying to understand how to harness the power of IoT, which requires rethinking of traditional IT approaches. Fundamentally, IoT represents the intersection of information technology (IT) and operations technology(OT).

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is leading this move from the data center to the edge, enabling a new wave of technologies that have not been possible before—machine learning at the edge, fraud prevention, automated maintenance support, and Augmented Reality (AR) technology.

Earlier this week, HPE unveiled the Edgeline EL1000 and Edgeline EL4000, the industry’s first converged systems for the Internet of Things (IoT). These systems integrate data capture, control, compute and storage to deliver heavy-duty analytics and insights at the edge to enable real-time decision making which include graphically intense data visualisation.

ESG research recently revealed that over 60% of organizations have or are planning on implementing an IoT solution. While just 19% of the surveyed 633 enterprise IT and information security professionals claim they already have IoT initiatives underway, an additional 39% are currently developing IoT initiatives that will be launched in the next 24 months.

To help more organisations adopt better approach to IoT, HPE also introduced the HPE IoT Transformation workshop (TW), an interactive HPE facilitated workshop that helps customers to define their IoT vision and strategy and gain business technology alignment. This structured discussion takes a fact-based, analytical approach to help customers achieve alignment on their vision, identify current and future states, and determine a set of specific transformational IoT projects. The IoT TW is the first step in a full suite of services designed to help customers successfully implement IoT solutions based on business needs and industry parameters.

HPE also announced four IoT Innovation Labs: located in Houston, Texas; Grenoble, France; Bangalore, India; and Singapore. All of these labs are equipped with devices and connectivity that enable an innovative experience. HPE and Intel® operate these labs to help customers envision how IoT can be applied in their industry, build and test IoT applications, and access technical expertise. One can also access through Secure VPN to test and benchmark applications from anywhere in the world.

Why is IoT the Buzzword of the Decade?

As the car was approaching home, her GPS location was sent to the home thermostat. After a long tiring day, she entered her perfectly dim lit, warm home, to her favorite playlist playing in the background. As she sunk into the couch, over a conversation with her virtual assistant on the home speaker, she reviewed how her day went and the virtual assistant ordered pizza for dinner ..” – This isn’t an excerpt out of a movie. This is right now, we are already in the future. Well, almost. Since the term ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’ was coined first, the definition has evolved a lot. In a generic sense though, this is a highly intelligent Machine-to-Machine technology which has potential to revolutionise how we live and work.

From music speakers, to thermostats, to lights and accessories, everything has some sort of intelligence; We are living in tech heaven, to be precise. Having moved from keypads to touch interfaces, we are currently in the no interface era. All the tech giants are focussing on getting maximum done with very little interaction with the device, and that means voice-activated computing powered by artificial intelligence.

When we say IoT, they include things we use on an everyday basis, from wearables to medical parameter sensors, to geographical and environmental sensors, and sensors monitoring the working and the lifecycle of devices.

Think about it, there are so many devices we use everyday, that possibly generate so much data when connected to respective sensors. This data could lead to so many different insights on user behavior and the device lifecycle.

Sensors and Wearables:

Internet-equipped sensors on any device make it possible to tap all the unused data, and analysis of this data lead into inferences about things that are usually considered ‘offline’. This can lead to better productivity, reduce cost, and can bring about a sustainable lifestyle. The thing that makes everyone excited about the future of IoT is the versatility of solutions it provides. This makes IoT the buzzword of the decade because we can expect an explosion of IoT solutions in various sectors.

google glass wearables IoT

Wearable technology enabled clothes are connected to the phone and are recording data about everything from blood pressure to the posture. Also speaking of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is not just the companies building consumer facing products that are a big deal, there are many companies providing wireless power solutions, and cloud based solutions that are more useful to a developer.

Challenges in IoT:

One big issue in the evolution of the Internet of Things is however, the interoperability, inability to connect to all the devices using just one app. There are many companies currently aiming to solve this issue by giving cloud based solutions to connect devices among each other.

Building a successful IoT environment will require massive amounts of cooperation and coordination between firms. But now more platforms like the Google cloud platform is coming up to sync up devices on a data level, and not just with respect to connectivity alone.

Some impressive products have already been around in the market for a while now; Smart pill reminders, that provides a smart and simple solution for patients forgetting to take their daily medicine dosage, or stick to the prescribed amount of medicine. Smart door bells, that combine computer vision, facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence to bring about a revolution in door bell systems.

Just like any other field, there are many skeptics around in tech industry as well. They predict IoT as a whole as a bubble that would burst very soon. But for the rest of us, we are definitely heading towards a better, sustainable future where there’s going to be a lot more evolution happening on the IoT front.

Did you like what you read? check out this article on how to Build your first IoT Application using Raspberry Pi.