The Internet of Things will grow exponentially in the coming years and penetrate all areas of life and business. But how can manufacturers and network operators ensure reliable and secure services?
The Internet of Things (IoT) was one of the dominant topics. Manufacturers presented new intelligent home solutions in two halls, from networked security cameras to refrigerators that manage the household.
New applications require virtual infrastructures
However, the progressive integration of intelligent devices into people’s lives and economic processes also harbors risks. For users and connected systems to always have access to data and services provided by IoT devices, their availability and quality of service must be ensured – along the entire supply chain. This also means high demands on the data transmission networks.
The physical networks in operation today are reaching their limits for three reasons. On the one hand, they are overwhelmed by the increasing number of smart devices – in the future; each radio cell will have to supply 50,000 end devices. On the other hand, the latency times that are achieved today are still far too long to support real-time applications such as connected cars. Finally, hybrid environments with services hosted from the cloud and on-premises are still problematic for networks.
Narrowband IoT builds a bridge to 5G
Network virtualization is also a prerequisite for the 5G standard, which should be available by 2020 and give the IoT a decisive boost in development. The new generation of mobile networks promises more bandwidth and latency times in the millisecond range. As a result, it can support up to 100 billion end devices and new applications.
But it will be a long time before 5G is a reality. The standard is still under development and is not expected to be final until 2019. Manufacturers who are already working on devices for the new network may face compatibility problems. At the same time, hardly anyone can afford to sit back and wait.
Reliability and security are critical to success
In addition to the technological possibilities and application scenarios, the reliability of devices will also play a vital role in developing the IoT. Many machines are designed to operate autonomously over a long period. The cost-benefit calculation is based on the fact that they require virtually no attention from the user or operator.
One example is smart electricity meters that continuously measure consumption without a reader having to come and that can provide data for process and behavioral adjustments. To do this reliably, it must be ensured that they are constantly supplied with power and connected to the network. Measures against errors and manipulations are also necessary. On the other hand, other devices have different requirements, for example, that they are always ready for use despite irregular operation and long periods of inactivity.
Cross-manufacturer security concepts required
It has long been clear what danger IoT devices can pose. Last year, a botnet of smart devices was up to mischief and led, among other things, to a large-scale internet failure on the US east coast. Unsecured baby monitors and fitness trackers offered the masterminds easy targets.
The more the use of the IoT expands, and more critical application scenarios come into question, the more serious the consequences attacks can have, from failures in networked production to an interrupted supply in the e-health sector to hijacked connected cars.
Given the increasing risks, manufacturers must think about security from the outset and build robust protective mechanisms into their devices. However, a balance must be struck between security and usability: Security measures that make life difficult for users will not be accepted.
Service availability is a question of money
After all, security and quality of service are a question of money. When you look at the cost of application downtime to businesses, it’s clear that service continuity must be a priority for vendors and network operators.
According to Forrester, US companies are already experiencing ten outages a year at the cost of a reasonable $29,000 per hour of outage. With the spread of the IoT, the networking of systems and their mutual dependency will continue to increase, increasing the probability of errors and the resulting costs. Not only do complete failures cause concern, but also episodes with poor service quality. These so-called brown-outs also affect subsequent processes.
At the same time, troubleshooting becomes detective work as more and more devices and applications run over a network. This makes it all the more important always to keep an eye on activities in the network to ensure that it works as desired. Intelligent monitoring systems can recognize patterns and learn the “Normal state.” In this way, they help identify and correct unusual behavior that could lead to malfunctions at an early stage.
Also Read: Technologies Behind The Internet Of Things