Category Archives: IoT

Enterprise opportunities in the adoption of consumer IoT

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As the fourth Industrial Revolution drives new waves of technological advancement, few tools rival the internet of things in their ability to completely overhaul the lives of businesses and consumers. Between both markets, thought leaders and early adopters have embraced the potential of connected devices — gleaning new insight into critical behaviors or simplifying tasks, for example. As the number of devices which power the IoT grows — with IHS projecting 125 billion devices by 2030 — so do the opportunities for businesses and consumers alike to improve their own digital experiences.

Despite worldwide IoT spending slated to reach $772 billion in 2018, the lion’s share of this investment is on the enterprise side. According to IDC, of that $772 billion, only 8% will be spent on consumer devices. Widespread adoption of connected devices among consumers has yet to reach the mainstream, but a new study from CSG indicates that day is coming sooner than we might think. “The Future of the Digital Experience: IoT Edition” (registration required)  polled more than 2,000 consumers between the ages of 18 and 64 across the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada to evaluate consumer understanding, usage and sentiment about current and future IoT applications. Here are a few of the key findings:

  • In the next three years, nearly half of consumers want to see IoT simplify tasks in the home.
  • More than a third of consumers who don’t use smart home technology are interested in exploring its capabilities.
  • One in five consumers believes IoT will be seen as essential to one’s lifestyle in five years.

Consumers are beginning to expand their IoT horizons, moving beyond wearables towards in-home assistants, smart appliances, cars and cities. As they stand on the precipice of widespread adoption and integration, their enterprise counterparts are faced with a significant question: How do they build a business model that will enable them to monetize their IoT strategy?

While CSG found that today wearables are the most popular IoT device with 45% adoption, connected devices are also growing throughout homes and cities. Thinking more holistically about the service ecosystem required to launch and scale new IoT services will allow enterprises to seize market opportunities in real time and continue to push the connected consumer experience forward.

For consumers and businesses, the internet of things is supporting a wider array of services. For enterprises, there is incredible potential to create engaging experiences and new sources of digital revenue. The leading businesses will prioritize where these two paths meet, to be prepared for a digital economy driven by a network of connectivity while taking advantage of an ecosystem of services that can quickly adapt to the business models introduced by IoT.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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Vodafone's Regina Moran: '5G and NB-IoT will drive digital transformation'

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Vodafone is taking a platform approach to 5G and NB-IoT that will not only make the internet of things possible, it will make it financially viable, says Vodafone Ireland’s new Enterprise director.

As Vodafone’s new Enterprise director, Regina Moran is responsible for the company’s expanding enterprise division overseeing sales, commercial, operations, product and marketing.

Moran has spent many years leading organisational transformation programmes across right sizing, smart shoring, automation and cultural change.

‘We talk about the gigabit society, but in practical terms it is for people to be able to stay, live and work in wonderful parts of the country so that they aren’t just tourist locations but are living communities’
– REGINA MORAN

Her main focus in her new role is helping customers digitally transform their business with the goal of helping them expand and grow, all supported by Vodafone’s next-generation fixed and mobile solutions, cloud-based platforms, narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) and One Net Business unified communications solution.

A chartered Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland, Regina served on the Council and Executive and as President from 2014 to 2015, during which time she promoted STEM and the role of women in engineering. Regina also recently received a Fellowship of Irish Academy of Engineering and is the Chair of THEA, the Technological Higher Education Authority.

She is a former member of the Dublin City University governing authority, a member of the government-industry led Smart Futures Advisory Board and a former non-executive director of EirGrid, the company responsible for the national grid across the island of Ireland.

Moran was awarded the Sir Charles Harvey Award for outstanding contribution in her post-graduate studies (first class honours MBA) and was awarded the IT Person of the Year award at the 2014 Tech Excellence Awards.

How do you see your mission in this new role?

It is incredibly interesting because the possibilities are quite broad in terms of what we have and can bring to our enterprise customers. If you look at our enterprise customer base, it goes everywhere from a small operator with two or three people right up to large global enterprises. So the customer base is quite broad. I think the conversation with customers is important.

The connected ambition of our customers at the core of what we are doing and Vodafone’s emphasis on customers is palpable the minute you walk in the door.

If you think of that connected infrastructure as a platform and then the possibilities of doing things like the internet of things (IoT), particularly with narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) coming along, with 5G coming down the line, and what is possible with Siro in terms of fibre-to-the-home and gigabit society.

I think from a national point of view the possibility of driving businesses forward particularly with Brexit looming and the need for people to be connected globally, there are a lot of things that we have in our group armoury and we are bringing to bear.

That demand is there. The relationship side of it can be very strong in enterprise and there is trust in terms of the brand.

How will this infrastructure lend itself to the drive towards digital transformation?

Everybody has this huge pressure called digital transformation, but without the connectivity infrastructure and that platform I described it would be difficult to do it.

It is about always being connected and then what do you do with the fact you are connected? How does that enable small businesses to grow? How does that enable scaling businesses to internationalise? How does that enable global businesses to be more effective?

What we are trying to emphasise in Enterprise is what is the benefit to the customer in all of this.

And if you start from the customer first in what they are trying to do – gigabit hubs for example bring together small businesses – so there is a human centricity part to this.

It is not just about the technology, it is about how we can get businesses to talk to each other, partnering, co-creating, I think it is very exciting.

The worlds of IT and telecoms used to be very separate but now they are one. Would you agree?

What was a revelation to me is the breadth of the offering and the blurring between what was strictly IT and strictly connectivity.

There is a lot of blurring happening.

What I have been very impressed about since I got here is the level of investment that Vodafone has done in Ireland. It is pretty phenomenal, with €2bn invested over the last number of years, and it continues to invest in NB-IoT and 5G.

Do you believe digital infrastructure should be a national priority?

The good news about Ireland is we are a small, open economy on the edge of Europe. The bad news is that we are a small open economy on the edge of Europe.

With Brexit happening the need for us to look beyond the nearest island for markets is becoming very real, particularly for small businesses. Global companies may be a little more insulated in that they have already got that reach. So we need to be thinking about international presence in order to grow international revenues from other markets.

And connectivity gives you that presence. And then of course there is the apps layer and smartphones.

But if you think about the human layer and what Siro are doing in terms of regional broadband, the ability of a small business in Kerry or Clonmel can flourish, grow and keep people living and working in that community because they are connected it is incredible.

Low latency enables small businesses to connect into international markets and sell around the world.

How do you think these technologies will influence the future of work?

We talk about the gigabit society, but in practical terms it is for people to be able to stay, live and work in wonderful parts of the country so that they aren’t just tourist locations but are living communities.

The other piece is remote working and the idea of the enablement of people to spend some of their physically in their own home working.

We just started working with Abodoo, which is a company that brings remote workers together, and if people have the suite of tools they can do that a lot more easily and it is practically possible.

There is a huge productivity loss happening in commuter traffic and there’s a huge mental and stress and wellbeing issue. And the physical ailments people will have from sitting in those positions for those lengths of time. The physical toll it will take on back and gastric problems, that dimension hasn’t even been thought about.

It’s happening in most urban locations. Ireland could be a leading light. Californians have been talking about this 25 years ago and I don’t think they have addressed it yet.

Vodafone has a very flexible working environment so people can “bring our whole selves to work”, remarkably so, and gender diversity here is very high.

The idea is the strength of the people and facilitate in work life balance quite a bit.

Quite a lot of people across the organisation work flexibly. From a wellbeing and productivity quite of view the gains are obvious.

But a great deal of enlightenment needed in the general business world, enabled by connectivity, fibre-to-the-home, enabling infrastructure and a lot of that is becoming a reality. It is certainly more possible than even five years ago.

The collision between comms and IT is enabling everything from self-driving cars to drones and more. What are the new technologies that you are excited to work on?

I think if you take IoT, having the NB-IOT platform makes IoT viable from a cost point of view.

If we can create a platform and an ecosystem for Irish companies with niche offerings to create a combined value proposition with what we have, that is quite exciting.

And the fact that you have that IoT platform to build that in a way that is commercially viable, to build that even for small businesses, I think we are only at the tip of what is possible.

If you look at that sectorally in terms of healthcare, financial services, it touches ever sector. The problems that you may be solving might be different but that platform is what is important.

We are trialling 5G but the possibilities of what you can do in terms of VR, AR, a low latency network, would allow a surgeon in Dublin to operate on a person in Cork, the best maths teacher in the world could deliver maths classes to secondary school students, all of those things are possible.

There are societal benefits and commercial benefits.

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Amazon vs Microsoft: How to get the best price for IoT in the cloud

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If you’re considering an Internet of Things (IoT) deployment, chances are you’re likely planning on building it out in the cloud. Features like elastic compute and advanced analytics make a cloud environment well-suited to enterprise IoT.

Nowadays, the big three cloud providers of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud have many of the same features and capabilities when it comes to building a foundation for your IoT project. The real question is which cloud provider offers the best bang for your IoT buck.

According to a recent report from 451 Research, the answer isn’t simple—it depends on a variety of factors. Google Cloud IoT Core was never the least expensive option, according to the research, but Microsoft Azure IoT Hub and AWS IoT Core each took the top spot for cost savings depending on the metric being measured.

SEE: Internet of Things policy (Tech Pro Research)

Because of the differences in how the services are implemented, at least nine pricing parameters had to be considered for each IoT service, the report said. Using machine learning, 451 Research analysts looked at cost comparisons across 10 million IoT scenarios, according to a press release.

When considering IoT deployment scale, Microsoft Azure wins handily. For example, when the deployment has between zero and 20,000 devices, Azure was the least expensive in 78% of the simulations run by the analysts. Azure was less expensive in the remaining 22%.

For message size, the two were neck and neck. Deployments with messages that were between zero and 60KB were cheaper on Azure 51% of the time, and on AWS 49% of the time.

Message frequency was also analyzed. When the number of messages was between zero and 7,000 per day, AWS was the less expensive option 76% of the time. Azure, on the other hand, was less expensive 24% of the time in this simulation.

In addition to AWS and Microsoft being the cheapest options, they are also the most preferred IoT cloud platforms by developers. According to a developer survey by the Eclipse Foundation, 51.8% of developers picked AWS as their preferred IoT cloud platform, 31.2% chose Microsoft Azure, and 18.79% selected Google Cloud Platform.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • When it comes to IoT deployments in the cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure are the two least expensive options, depending on the scale of the deployment and message frequency.
  • Microsoft Azure and AWS are the top two IoT cloud platforms preferred by developers.

Also see

Image: iStockphoto/chombosan

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How can I secure my IoT devices at home and at work?

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With every day that goes by more IoT (Internet of Things) devices are becoming a part of our normal everyday life both at home and on the job. In recent years it has become evident that IoT devices pose a security risk for any network. While IoT manufacturers are working diligently to make things more convenient for us, privacy and security have been overlooked. Leaving these devices unsecured is like leaving your door closed but unlocked. It might look secure, but it is actually easy to open.

Gartner research estimates that there will be over 20 billion connected IoT devices by the year 2020 (roughly 20.4 billion). While having great new wearables that monitor our health and smart homes and smart printers can make life very convenient, these are still network connected devices that require security measures like any other connected item. Here are a few tips to securing IoT devices.

  1. Separate networks – Many Wi Fi routers, whether for the home or the enterprise support guest networking so that guests and contractors can connect without gaining access to important assets or managed connected devices. This segmentation helps with IoT devices that have questionable security at best.
  2. Passwords – be sure to change the password for the device itself as well as for the online access provided by the manufacturer and make it a strong one. Additionally, be sure to update the password every quarter and to have a separate password for each device so as to make it extra difficult for hackers to guess your passwords.
  • Turning off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) – UPnP makes IoT devices vulnerable to hackers. While it is designed as a convenience to connect devices automatically to the network, it makes it possible for hackers to connect to them from beyond the local network because of vulnerabilities in the UPnP protocol, and clearly it is advisable to turn UPnP off from the first day.
  1. Latest patches and updates – If you would like to reduce the chances for security breaches it is crucial to have the latest patches and updates to your firmware. It is recommended to automate updates or have a standard operating procedure for team members to update firmware every quarter. In this way vulnerabilities and exploits will be fixed as they emerge.
  2. Separate business and personal devices as much as possible – There are security challenges with wearables and the enterprise should have a spelled out BYOD policy that prohibits the use of IoT devices from the company network, or that segments them to a guest/contractor network.
  3. Visibility and continuous posture assessment – this is more relevant for businesses as they need to be able to see all devices that are connected to the network, and to monitor all traffic. Once there is a security posture assessment available, the level of access given to each device can be determined by company policies as well as making sure that all devices have the latest security patches, firewalls and anti-virus updates, etc. This allows for end-to-end protection and unknown devices should create an alert for security managers.

Before purchasing any IoT device, have a long hard look and the type of data on your network coupled with any privacy concerns. Check which security protocols are implemented on the device as well as how approachable the device is to patching and updates, and if the manufacturers implemented a good privacy policy. Most of all, never assume that your IoT devices are secure, because chances are great that they are absolutely not!

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Expert admits deaths by autonomous cars are inevitable in the beginning

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This week in IoT, the reality of autonomous car development was brought to the fore while researchers found a way to develop an ultrasound firewall for chatty smart devices.

Siliconrepublic.com talked to one of the biggest internet of things (IoT) influencers this week, Vodafone’s IoT chief Stefano Gastaut, about just how important narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) will become in the years ahead.

“We have pushed our coverage plan really aggressively across Europe and, in the space of the next nine to 12 months, we will have achieved 100pc coverage in major markets,” he said.

“NB-IoT is no longer hypothetical, it is happening and it is going to be a major force in big verticals and it will be all-pervasive in automotives, agriculture, insurance, utilities and a lot more.”

Meanwhile, the Tyndall National Institute in Cork held an energy harvesting workshop to showcase some of the latest energy technology for IoT sensors.

Autonomous cars will kill people in earliest stages

Companies like Tesla have tread very carefully around the issue of fatalities caused by their earliest test autonomous vehicles, emphasising that these tragedies are not a sign of things to come but unfortunate accidents that have occurred.

However, speaking to the BBC, Mark Rosekind, a former administrator of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was a little blunter. He said that not only will there be more accidents during the technology’s development, but it is likely more fatalities will occur.

“Unfortunately, there will be crashes. People are going to get hurt and there will be some lives lost,” Rosekind said.

“All of that I think is going to be, I hope, focused on the service of trying to save lives.”

However, he emphasised that the vast majority of deaths on our roads today are a result of human error, and that the risks involved in letting autonomous cars on the road will be worth it should it one day make the number of road deaths negligible.

This firewall stops IoT devices ‘whispering’ to one another

As if it wasn’t worrying enough that a number of IoT devices seem to be listening to and recording us, there are a growing number that are now ‘whispering’ to one another using ultrasonic sound, such as Google Nearby and Silverpush.

They use this inaudible communication channel to allow for devices to be paired and also to track users and their behaviour over a number of devices – similar to how cookies work when we browse the web.

But not everyone is so happy with the silent tracking, which is why a team of researchers recently revealed a project called SoniControl that detects acoustic cookies, brings them to the attention of users and, if desired, blocks the tracking.

“There is currently no technology on the market that can detect and block acoustic cookies,” said Matthias Zeppelzauer of St Pölten University of Applied Sciences in Austria.

“The application developed in this project represents the first approach that gives people control over this type of tracking.”

The cybersecurity impact of IoT

Sticking with the topic of cybersecurity, consulting firm Bain & Company published a survey of hundreds of enterprise executives, 70pc of whom said they would definitely buy more IoT devices if they could be guaranteed they were secure.

Meanwhile, 93pc of executives said they would pay more for devices with better security, at about 22pc more on average.

90pc also said that IoT devices pose a moderate or significant risk to their organisations, and executives in companies with greater cybersecurity sophistication see more risk than those in less sophisticated companies.

In terms of a breakdown among industries, the authors of the report found that fears of a threat posed by IoT varied in severity, ranging from durable goods at 62pc to technology at 50pc.

Google Cloud joins LoRa Alliance

The LoRa Alliance – a non-profit association operating since 2015 to promote the LoRaWAN standard of low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) – has secured a major name in the form of Google Cloud as a sponsor member.

“Google Cloud joining the LoRa Alliance is a clear signal that LoRaWAN connectivity is gaining strong traction for IoT,” said Donna Moore, CEO and chair of the association.

“All of the data generated by connected devices will enable new insights to be derived. Google Cloud’s participation in the LoRa Alliance will strengthen our efforts to realise value from this IoT data.”

Meanwhile, Google’s head of product management for Google Cloud IoT, Antony Passemard, said: “The vision of the LoRa Alliance around interoperability and openness aligns with our mission to build the world’s most open cloud and enable faster innovation and tighter security.”

Person driving Tesla Model 3 in autopilot mode. Image: TierneyMJ/Shutterstock

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A Beginner's Guide to Securing Your IoT Devices

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If there is any remaining debate around how popular the Internet of Things (IoT) really is, it should be laid to rest: 2018 is the year that IoT-connected gadgets are expected to surpass mobile devices. All of the major players—like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and many others—are investing heavily in IoT tech, and it is widely considered to be the next-wave movement in technology.

But as with any new trend, there are still some bugs to work out. For those of you who are just beginning to explore the practical applications of connected devices, keep reading to learn more about IoT security concerns —and what you can do about them.

What Are the Inherent Security Risks?

Having so many companies deeply involved with IoT tech is great for variety and availability, but it also poses problems. Currently, there is a struggle for domination among the major companies in the field and while their battle rages on, smaller manufacturers are simultaneously creating their own IoT protocols.

Unfortunately, a clear IoT standard has yet to emerge, and it is difficult to say if any consensus is in sight. This diversity makes it difficult for developers to institute any large scale security solutions.

Until there’s more standardization, here are three lines of defense you can employ to keep your IoT devices safe and secure.

1st Line of Defense: Keeping Your IoT Devices Password-Protected and Up to Date

It may seem obvious, but making sure that your IoT devices have secure passwords and stay up to date is a very important—and often overlooked—step in protecting your information. The unfortunate truth is that most IoT devices are both insecure and out of date. Because so many IoT gadgets require very little setup, it’s easy to just plug them in and let them run.

Some devices are innocuous enough to be left alone. However, with an appliance that has a direct line to your iPhone or a digital assistant like Alexa, defaults can be a serious threat to your security.

You’ll want to change the default username and password for any gadgets that allow it, and set up two-factor authentication if possible. You should also verify whether the device automatically updates; if it doesn’t, regularly check in for firmware and software updates from the device manufacturer.

2nd Line of Defense: Securing Your Networks

When your individual devices are secure, the main point of entry into your IoT is going to be through your main network. There are many different methods that you can use to secure your networks against potential threats, but here are a few of the most effective:

  • Basic Network Security Protocols: Putting basic network security protocols in place can go a long way, so make sure that you aren’t using any default passwords on your modem or router and that your router uses a secure Wi-fi standard. You might also consider making a separate guest network for visitors to use, so you can keep your smart tech siloed on its own connection.
  • Standalone Firewall: “Firewall” is a term that gets thrown around a lot but rarely explained. Simply put, a firewall is an electronic barrier designed to stop hackers before they can access select sensitive information. It is likely that your computer’s operating system (OS) has some sort of firewall software, but this won’t protect the other devices on your network.

While using the built-in firewall on your OS is better than nothing, the truth is that if a hacker has reached your OS firewall, they are already inside your computer. When you place a firewall around your network, on the other hand—through the router, for instance—all internet traffic must pass through that point. The firewall can then help filter out potential attacks before your devices are affected.

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN): A VPN service takes all of the information that is traveling from your network and encrypts it. The encryption allows you or your smart devices to connect to the web as usual, but to websites or other entities that have access to your online activities, the data sent over that connection will be obscured.For full protection, you’ll want to set up VPN client software on your router, as it may be difficult or impossible to set up a VPN on each individual device. One unfortunate downside to this is that there is typically a monthly/yearly fee to pay for access to a VPN service. Additionally, because your information has to travel to an outside source before reaching its final destination, it can make your internet connection seem sluggish.

3rd Line of Defense: Removing Old Devices

With so many new IoT devices coming out and replacements for old devices hitting the market regularly, it’s increasingly easy to forget about every connected device on your network. But old IoT devices may carry old security protocols, forgotten passwords, and a whole host of other threats to your networks.

Each device in the IoT is a potential weak point that has to be secured. So if there are old access points that you no longer use, you’ll want to thoroughly disconnect them from the network—even going so far as to do a factory reset on the gadget—to reduce the number of openings you’ll have to keep an eye on.

The Takeaway

Basic IoT security can be broken down into three easy steps: secure your devices, secure your networks, and know what is in your IoT. Remember, while the devices themselves might not contain sensitive information, they could leave the door to your larger network wide open. And the older your devices, the greater the security risks they pose. The IoT was conceived to make our lives simpler, but security is something that we’ll always have to take seriously.

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LPWAN is the final piece in the mobile IoT puzzle

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Just a few years ago Vodafone was publicly voicing its frustration at the lack of urgency in finalising the standard for Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT), arguing that a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology, mobile operators would lose out to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Sigfox in the battle to connect the Internet of Things (IoT).

Fast forward to 2018 and the operator has deployed NB-IoT networks in nine countries and has 2,000 masts. Vodafone is expected 16 to launch by the end of the year and wants to upgrade all of its 4G masts by 2020.

And there is broad industry support with more than 35 networks using the technology worldwide and France and Switzerland are the only European countries without a launch date.

Meanwhile the GSMA has stated that NB-IoT and LTE-M will both be essential components of 5G in connecting IoT and has urged mobile operators to offer services and products, not just connectivity, if they want to capture some of the $1.1 trillion market opportunity available by 2025.

Vodafone IoT

Not that Vodafone needed to be told. It has invested significantly in its IoT business, growing from around 100 users in 2011 to 68 million IoT connections, with revenue growing at a rate of 17 per cent a year and average data consumption rising to the tune of 44 per cent.

Traditional revenue streams are being threatened by over the top (OTT) services, intense competition and regulatory changes, and some are concerned their networks could become ‘dumb’ pipes that allow other vendors to earn revenue.

Vodafone works closely with customers, providing not just connectivity, but also advice and access to the services they need. This increases the margins available when it comes to IoT, and is why the company is working at fostering an ecosystem, including innovative startups.

“We see this as not just a connectivity story … this is really something we’re investing in and growing our business to provide additional services that change how people operate in their business world,” Adam Armer, Vodafone’s IoT business development manager told LPWA World in London.

“Not all our customers are joined by the same technology and that’s the critical value Vodafone can offer here. We have to help them pick the right technology depending on need, location and how they want to communicate in the long term.

“We have to look at how we supplement the value we bring beyond connectivity or even going down the value chain into hardware.”

The final piece

It is widely accepted that the IoT will be connected via a number of several different technologies, depending on the needs of the customer. For example, 5G will provide the capacity and low latency needed for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), while 2G and 3G have been used for early projects. Fixed connectivity is essential for the bandwidth, while satellite will provide resiliency to sites.

Although mobile networks can obviously provide the coverage needed to connect remote IoT assets, many of these only need to transmit a small quantity of data and require a long battery life for them to be cost effective. This ruled out existing mobile technologies and why the industry was so desperate for NB-IoT to be standardised.

Vodafone’s customers can be found in the oil and gas, education, health and utilities industries among others, while it has been working with partners in the hardware space to help provide visibility and reach potential customers.

However, Armer argued that Vodafone was looking beyond technology and at business outcomes, helping to improve customer satisfaction and make a difference.

“But this is not just about [connecting] things,” he said. “We get excited about hardware but we’re doing this to change lives and businesses.

“Without people there is nothing. It might be good for shareholders, but there’s not much joy.”

The GSMA claims there are now 48 mobile IoT networks (both NB-IoT and LTE-M) from 24 mobile operators, and expects the 3GPP to include both standards in Release 15 of 5G later this year.

“While people often associate 5G with super-fast mobile broadband speeds, it will also serve a variety of use cases often with diametrically opposed requirements such as low data rates and long battery life as with the case of Mobile IoT,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA.

“Licensed NB-IoT and LTE-M networks are already delivering trusted connectivity today to millions of devices around the world, and these networks will continue to be a fundamental component of our 5G future ushering in an era of massive IoT.”

“We were pleased to see that the GSMA said Nb-IoT has met the standards for 5G,” added Armer. “This reaffirms the belief we have that this technology will outlast the rest.”

Want to find out more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G hub  

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Fujitsu develops IoT network control technology

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Fujitsu Laboratories says it has developed a network control technology that can securely operate IoT devices installed on-site.

Sensors, manufacturing equipment, and other IoT devices connected to networks in on-site environments such as factories lack the capability for authentication or virus checking, leaving them open to malware attacks that result in stoppages in factory operations.

This is a global problem, and existing anti-virus software often cannot be installed in IoT devices due to CPU and memory capacity restrictions, and many existing devices are exposed to threats from cyberattacks.

Fujitsu Laboratories has now developed technology that analyzes and manages the interconnectivity between IoT devices and network devices, based on operating information collected in gateways, responding to successive changes in network structure to identify the communications of IoT devices behaving suspiciously. In addition, Fujitsu Laboratories developed technology to efficiently control communication blocks.

If an IoT device infected with malware were to attack other devices, for example, these technologies could detect that communication by comparing ordinary communication routes, based on the relationships of connections recorded in the gateways, with the actual communication routes.

Moreover, by restricting the most appropriate network device managed by the gateway, the impact of the cyberattack can be minimized.

The technology can collect operating information about IoT devices and network devices from gateway devices, deduce the topology of the network the IoT devices are connected to, and appropriately control the network devices based on this information.

With this technology, IoT devices communicating along routes not accounted for in the topology can be treated as unauthorized devices, enabling the technology to minimize the impact of cyberattacks by making those IoT devices unable to communicate with other IoT devices.

In a simulation using fake malware, Fujitsu Laboratories operated gateways equipped with this technology in coordination with existing network devices, and confirmed that this technology could block communications from suspicious devices. The results showed that this technology could minimize the impact of cyberattacks when installed in gateways.

Fujitsu said that with this technology, it will be possible to provide secure operations using existing setups, without exchanging or deploying new IoT devices with security countermeasures in sites such as factories, which require the continued operation of production equipment with long service lifespans.

Fujitsu Laboratories aims to commercialize these technologies during fiscal 2018 as part of the gateway functionality of the Fujitsu Network Virtuora series of network products, offered by Fujitsu Limited.

First published in Networks Asia

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The Week in Review – IoT

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Finance
SenseTime of Beijing, China, received $620 million in Series C+ funding, valuing the company at more than $4.5 billion. Alibaba Group led the new funding, as it did with last month’s Series C round of $600 million. Qualcomm, an existing investor, participated in the latest round, along with new investors Fidelity International, Hopu Capital, Silver Lake Partners, and Tiger Global. SenseTime uses artificial intelligence technology for a wide variety of applications, including smart cities and facial recognition.

Toronto-based Ecobee, a developer of smart thermostats, raised $36 million from Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, AGL Energy, and BDC Capital, bringing its total private funding to $155 million. Less than two months ago, Ecobee raised $80 million (earlier reported as $61 million) from investors that included Amazon’s Alexa Fund.

OnTruck of Madrid, Spain, received €25 million (about $29.2 million) in Series B funding led by Cathay Innovation. Also investing were Atomico, Idinvest Partners, All Iron Ventures, Total Energy Ventures, GP Bullhound, Point 9 Capital, and Samaipata Ventures. OnTruck helps companies and truckers fill up trailers with freight for deliveries in Spain, with operations now expanding to the United Kingdom.

M&A
Verint Systems of Melville, N.Y., is reportedly negotiating to acquire Israel’s NSO Group, a military-grade cybersurveillance firm, for about $1 billion. Verint supplies cyberintelligence software to government intelligence agencies and to law enforcement agencies. Francisco Partners, a private equity firm, owns the controlling interest in NSO.

Éric Carreel, a co-founder of Withings, closed a deal to buy the company back from Nokia, which acquired the health wearables firm for $192 million in 2016. Nokia this year decided to fold its digital health business and entered into talks with Carreel. Financial terms of the proposed transaction were not revealed.

Cybersecurity
A White House report, ordered last year by President Trump, concludes that about three-quarters of federal government agencies have cybersecurity programs that are “at risk” or “at high risk,” almost three years after the Office of Personnel Management had a significant data breach, exposing security clearance information about more than 20 million current and former federal employees. Meanwhile, an episode in Portland, Ore., where an Amazon Echo device mistakenly recorded a conversation between a husband and wife, then forwarded an audio file of the conversation to someone on their contact list, is raising questions about security measures for Internet-connected devices in the home. “Experts say the expanding ecosystem of internet-connected devices such as smart thermostats, home security systems, and electric door locks are increasingly susceptible to hackers, including those trying to leverage voice-command devices,” Olivia Beavers writes in this piece.

Market Research
Venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends presentation was unveiled this week. At 294 presentation slides, it is exhaustive and exhausting. When it comes to IoT topics, there are references to the Amazon Echo, Google Home, Nest Labs, predictive maintenance, fitness tracking, and precision cooking, among others.

Products/Services
The kitchen is becoming the focus for Internet of Things devices in the home, Angela Shah writes in this article. Electrolux is partnering with Innit, an application developer, while London-based Moley Robotics has come up with a commercial-grade kitchen for homes that includes robotic hands trained by chef Tim Anderson.

Organizations
Google Cloud became a sponsor member of the LoRa Alliance and will give a keynote address at the 10th annual LoRa Alliance Open House in Vancouver, Canada, on Thursday, June 7. The open house theme is “Achieving Business Value with LoRaWAN.”

Conferences

The Internet of Things Developers Conference takes place next week in Silicon Valley. IoT DevCon will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 5-6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. It will run concurrently with Machine Learning & AI DevCon.

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WISeKey starts manufacturing its IoT Semiconductors in China with the objective to ramp up its secure chip install base …

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WISeKey starts manufacturing its IoT Semiconductors in China with the objective to ramp up its secure chip install base to 10 billion within the next 3 years, with a new Secure Microprocessor for IoT, Blockchain, AI and WISeCoin             WISeKey will continue manufacturing its chips in other countries (Asia and Europe) but China will become the main manufacturing center for AsiaCurrently, WISeKey IoT has an install base of over 1.2 billion secure chips (since 2010) in virtually all IoT sectors – autonomous cars, smart cities, drones, anti-counterfeiting, smart lighting, servers, mobile phones, etc. ZUG, Beijing Switzerland – June 1, 2018 –WISeKey International Holding Ltd (“WISeKey” or the “Company”) (SIX: WIHN) (OTCQX: WIKYY), a leading cybersecurity and IoT company, today announced that is manufacturing its IoT semiconductors in China, having as a goal the ramp up of its secure chip install base to 10 billion within the next 3 years, with a new Secure Microprocessor for IoT, Blockchain, AI and WISeCoin.WISeKey IoT has an install base of over 1.2 billion secure chips (since 2010) in virtually all IoT sectors – autonomous cars, smart cities, drones, anti-counterfeiting, smart lighting, servers, mobile phones, etc. VaultIC407 features an outstandingly rich set of Security Protocols and Security Functions tailored to IoT applications. While WISeKey will continue manufacturing chips in other countries in Asia and Europe, its new plant in China will become the main manufacturing center for Asia.Trusted Semiconductors are the building blocks of the IoT, found in everything from autonomous cars, smart cities, drones, anti-counterfeiting, smart lighting, servers, mobile phones, etc. Although China has mastered the art of assembling products with semiconductors produced elsewhere (the iPhone is the most famous example), the aspiration is for technology companies in China to move from being mere assemblers to manufacturers of semiconductors, therefore there is huge opportunity for WISeKey to become one of the first global companies to establish its semiconductors manufacturing facility in mainland China.This is a great revenue opportunity for WISeKey as China is currently the world’s largest chip market, but it manufactures only 16 percent of the semiconductors it uses domestically. Currently, China imports about $200 billion worth of chips annually — a value exceeding its oil imports. To cultivate a domestic industry, the government of China has slashed taxes for chip makers and plans to invest as much as $32 billion to become a world leader in design and manufacturing.“Our plan is to take advantage of this huge market opportunity to ramp up our production from the current 1.2 billion chips to 10 billion chips in the next 3 years,” said Carlos Moreira, CEO and Founder of WISeKey.In April 2018, WISeKey announced that in cooperation with China Bridge Capital International, a division of China Bridge Capital (CBC) a leading investor in global disruptive technology companies, will establish a Joint Venture – WISeKey China – with the goal of becoming one of the leading providers of cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT) and Blockchain services for the growing Chinese market. The over-arching objective of the new company is to establish a market foothold with credible in-country leaders to maximize revenue in the near-term and realize reputable category position in the sectors of: retail, financial transaction, automotive, smart cities, consumer products, healthcare, smart card, industrial, transportation, and IT infrastructure, in the long-term.China Bridge Capital, led by internet innovator Edward Qiang Zeng, is the premier alternative financial service provider for technology companies in strategic emerging industries across China, bringing investors and partners together for dynamic growth. CBC has recently co-founded the $1.4 billion “Next Generation Disruptive Industrial Fund” in cooperation with the Shenzhen Municipal Government and the Chongqing Municipal Government to invest in disruptive technologies that originate from the US and/or Europe.Switzerland, the home country of WISeKey, also enjoys a pioneering relationship with China, being one of the first western countries that recognized the People’s Republic of China in 1950 – just one year after its creation. Switzerland was also early to recognize China as a market economy in 2007. In 2013, Switzerland became the first continental European country to sign a free-trade agreement with Beijing and, in 2016, Switzerland was one of the first countries in Europe to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.To take advantage of these opportunities in China, WISeKey made the strategic decision to localize the production of VAULTIC, a Vault in a secure Integrated Circuit. Combined with the Application Microcontroller in the IoT Edge Device, VaultIC407 brings premium security level. WISeKey Secure Elements provide secure storage and usage of sensitive assets. The firmware running on the WISeKey chips, is built with unique features able to secure storage, cryptographic calculations and digital signatures, and is specifically designed to execute sensitive calculations, without leaking information such as power consumption patterns or electromagnetic emissions to the outside world. The data is stored deep down within the protected memory of the chips, which are designed with unique capabilities not to allow other software to run on them and are equipped with various hardware sensors and protection mechanisms making them resistant to hardware attacks. Of note, would these WISeKey Secure Elements have been used for sensitive data storage for the Application Microcontrollers affected by the recent ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ attacks, they would have never been successful.For more than twenty years, WISeKey has been providing a range of Common Criteria certified tamper resistant microprocessors that can be implemented on IoT devices to provide secure storage and usage of sensitive assets, and to uniquely identify, authenticate and protect devices in the field. These assets can be managed through a Webtrust certified Public Key Infrastructure on premises or as an operated service. WISeKey Semiconductors has been busy developing the latest VaultIC407 Secure Microprocessor enabling the new secure chip to be deployed in all business areas.  WISeKey IoT has an install base of over 1.2 billion VaultIC chips in virtually all IoT sectors (smartcards, smart cities, drones, anti-counterfeiting, smart lighting, servers, mobile phones, etc.). WISeKey is uniquely positioned to be at the edge of IoT as VaultIC semiconductors produce a huge amount of Big Data that, when analyzed with Artificial Intelligence (AI), can help industrial applications to predict the failure of their equipment before it happens.  Imagine an intelligent car with a system processing authenticated data for each of the vehicle’s components, being able to detect if/when various parts will require service and to digitally sign all the logs required to prove that service was provided. This platform can be used in multiple industrial applications, allowing for optimized productivity across industries through predictive maintenance on equipment and machinery, creating truly smart homes with connected appliances, and providing critical communication between devices including self-driving cars and smart homes. The possibilities that IoT brings to the table are endless. WISeKey’s technology creates a platform that helps connected devices to become intelligent devices that can learn from attacks, defend themselves, and transfer this intelligence to other devices in the network.VaultIC407 has been designed to be integrated in large scale IOT projects including security dedicated components (Public Key Infrastructure and Entity Management) that WISeKey can provide. WISeKeyIoT is the name of this end-to-end security solution.IoT-enabled services and products will generate vast amount of data which when well-analyzed, are very valuable to government organizations, product manufactures, corporations and end-users. This revenue model relies on data trust and on IoT edge devices control.Users can take advantage of this unique solution in the market by remotely being able to: uniquely identify and control an IOT Edge Device (activation/deactivation/revocation), securely provision (point to point secure update) of the IOT Edge Device credentials and secure messages in motion between Edge Devices and Business Applications.WISeKey (SIX: WIHN) (OTCQX: WIKYY) is a leading global cybersecurity company currently deploying via a Virtual Platform large scale digital identity ecosystems. WISeKey’s Swiss based cryptographic Root of Trust (“RoT”) and IoT Microchips provide secure authentication and identification, in both physical and virtual environments, for the Internet of Things, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence. The WISeKey RoT serves as a common trust anchor to ensure the integrity of online transactions among objects and between objects and people. For more information, visit www.wisekey.com.To receive WISeKey’s latest news, subscribe to our Newsletter or visit the WISeKey Investors Corner.Press and investor contacts:Disclaimer:
This communication expressly or implicitly contains certain forward-looking statements concerning WISeKey International Holding Ltd and its business. Such statements involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of WISeKey International Holding Ltd to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. WISeKey International Holding Ltd is providing this communication as of this date and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
This press release does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities, and it does not constitute an offering prospectus within the meaning of article 652a or article 1156 of the Swiss Code of Obligations or a listing prospectus within the meaning of the listing rules of the SIX Swiss Exchange. Investors must rely on their own evaluation of WISeKey and its securities, including the merits and risks involved. Nothing contained herein is, or shall be relied on as, a promise or representation as to the future performance of WISeKey.

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