IoT: We aren’t as ready as we think

-October 12, 2017

Are you really ready for the Internet of Things? While some say 95% of industrial companies will be using the IoT within the next three years and we’re ready to move to managing the data deluge, others say we still need to do work on the basics.

Some of that basic work includes security, which is still being ignored due to management pressure to get products to market. “Some managers or companies just don’t think their products will be the target of an attack,” said Jacob Beningo, founder of Beningo Embedded Group, an embedded design consultancy. “Dev says yes [to security], management says no, so it gets ignored.”

The implications of poorly implemented security are enormous, especially given the number of industrial companies about to move to IoT. In its annual Trends Watch report, National Instruments quoted numbers from Accenture that predict that 95% of industrial companies will be using IoT in some form within the next three years.

Seeing this coming, NI has enlarged its focus on data acquisition and test to include data management with a platform-based approach for industrial IoT (IIoT) that combines its SimpleLink and Data Management Software Suite (Figure 1).

Figure 1
National Instruments is suggesting a platform-based approach to help manage the influx of IIoT data (Source: National Instruments).

According to Shelley Gretlein, vice president of corporate marketing at National Instruments, the acquisition of data is only part of the IIoT, and designers are relatively attuned to what’s required to get it. That’s why the next stage, data management and analysis, is looming large in importance.

The IIoT platform it espouses will help remotely manage asset monitoring, continuously update software, ensure security leaks are plugged and provide a cohesive connection between IT and operations technology (OT) so data can be analyzed at the edge or the cloud.

First optimize the IoT system and secure the data

However, the old adage "garbage in, garbage out" applies, and for designers of IoT systems, that garbage can mean inaccurate data, unsecured data, or no data at all, due to a poor connection or battery failure.

According to Beningo, there are a lot more “connected” designs underway, and while security is often overlooked entirely, other parameters, such as architectural and power optimization and on-device data management can also be optimized better.

With that in mind, Beningo is presenting an EE Times University online course over three days on the Fundamentals of IoT System Design. Starting at 9 am Pacific each day from Tuesday, October 17th through Thursday, October 19th, the three-hour course will start with an explanation of the IoT’s architecture and then go quickly into critical concepts and how to implement fundamental tasks.

The course will contain the core information required to understand the IoT and how to make and secure a sensor connection, according to Beningo. However, he also promises tips, tricks, and a look at some of the goofy things he’s seen over the years.

I’ll be moderating the event, throwing questions over to Jacob and making sure the trains run on time. If you have any questions in advance, jot them down here in the comments section. Otherwise, talk with you on the 17th.

Again, here are the details:

Fundamentals of IoT System Design

October 17-19 @ 9 am PST/12 pm EST

—Engineer Patrick Mannion manages EE Times University. In a previous life, he was an editor and publisher on
EE Times and brand director for EDN. He continues to write for EDN and Electronic Products, in addition to globetrotting for AspenCore and appearing in buzz package videos.

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