Smart connected devices, ubiquitous wireless connectivity and scalable cloud-based computing have created the platform for the Internet of Things (IoT). These IoT platforms are enabling organizations to monitor, control, optimize and automate their operations in ways that were previously unimaginable. In many industries, IoT is disrupting traditional business models causing companies to ask the fundamental.
This is leading to many private and public sector organizations asking how they can use IoT to create new sources of value. Some are using it to deliver new operational efficiencies. Remote asset management allows organizations to track assets in real-time and make much more efficient use of their field teams. Predictive maintenance reduces downtime by replacing parts before they fail. Real-time analytics help employees make better decisions. And smart IoT systems can automate repetitive and predictable processes.
The Internet of Things extends internet connectivity beyond traditional devices like desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets to a diverse range of devices and everyday things that utilize embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment, all via the Internet.
But, for the moment, there’s a vast array of technology out there that can accurately be described as enabling IoT. Just at the networking level, there’s Bluetooth, Bluetooth LE, ZigBee, RFID, Wi-Fi, cellular, Z-Wave, 6LowPAN, Thread, NFC, Sigfox, Neul, LoRaWAN, Alljoyn, IoTivity, Weave, Homekit, MQTT, CoAP, JSON-LD, and plenty more that can and do play a part in IoT implementations.
IoT systems have application development across industries through their unique flexibility and ability to be suitable in any environment. They enhance data collection, automation, operations, and much more through smart devices and powerful enabling technology.
IoT is everywhere, but there are certainly a few verticals where it’s more prevalent. Heavy industry is arguably the sector that’s been working with IoT concepts for the longest, thanks to SCADA and robotics, and it’s got its own sub-type of IoT – industrial IoT, or frequently just IIoT. Sharing data for maintenance and operational purposes make industrial equipment a lot more responsive and useful and create a much safer working environment, as well.
IoT security is the area of endeavour concerned with safeguarding connected devices and networks in the Internet of things (IoT). The first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of IoT security is encryption. If you are one of those people, then don’t worry, you are not totally incorrect. Encryption is an important component of security, but it is just one part of the whole story. However, by itself, encryption does not provide security in the way that most people tend to think.
Security, like most things, has a curve of diminishing returns versus cost. What IoT requires is a good balance of reasonably strong security measures that are economical and massively scalable. The first major issue is that a compromised IoT device can, in some cases, offer a way onto a company’s network for a malicious actor. A badly secured smart TV, a security camera – anything that accesses the network is a potential vector for an attack.
The full benefits of the Internet of Things are only realized when large enough numbers of devices are able to interact with each other – and therein lies a big problem. The number of different players in the market covers a wide range, both horizontally, in terms of functionality, and vertically, among different industries.
With a huge number of companies “doing IoT,” – most big-name tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Intel, and IBM have various types of IoT play – all working to bring as many users as possible into their respective ecosystems, motivation to make sure IoT systems and devices from different companies all work with each other is sometimes lacking.
One IoT device connects to another to transmit information using Internet transfer protocols. IoT platforms serve as the bridge between the devices’ sensors and data networks.
The following are some of the top IoT platforms on the market today:
- Amazon Web Services
- Microsoft Azure
- ThingWorx IoT Platform
- IBM’s Watson
- Cisco IoT Cloud Connect
- Salesforce IoT Cloud
- Oracle Integrated Cloud
- GE Predix