Smart connected devices, ubiquitous wireless connectivity, and scalable cloud-based computing have created the platform for the Internet of Things (IoT). These IoT platforms allow organizations to monitor, control, optimize and automate their operations in ways that were previously unimaginable. In many industries, IoT is disrupting traditional business models, leaving companies asking the fundamental question.
This is leading many public and private sector organizations to ask how they can use IoT to create new sources of value. Some are using it to offer new operational efficiencies. Remote asset management allows organizations to track assets in real time and make much more efficient use of their field equipment. 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, such as desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets, to a wide range of everyday devices and things that use embedded technology to communicate and interact with the external environment, all through the Internet.
But at the moment, there is a wide variety of technology that can be accurately described as enabling IoT. At the network level alone, there is 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 many more that can and do play a role in IoT implementations.
IoT systems have application development across all industries through their unique flexibility and ability to adapt to any environment. They improve data collection, automation, operations and much more through smart devices and powerful enabling technology.
IoT is everywhere, but there are certainly some verticals where it’s more prevalent. Heavy industry is arguably the sector that has been working with IoT concepts the longest, thanks to SCADA and robotics, and has its own subtype of IoT: Industrial IoT, or often just IIoT. Sharing data for maintenance and operational purposes makes industrial equipment much more responsive and useful, and also creates a much safer working environment.
IoT security is the area of effort concerned with protecting connected devices and networks in the Internet of Things (IoT). The first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think about IoT security is encryption. If you are one of those people, then don’t worry, you are not totally wrong. Encryption is an important component of security, but it is only 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 return versus cost. What IoT requires is a good balance of reasonably strong security measures that are inexpensive and highly scalable. The first major issue is that a compromised IoT device can, in some cases, offer a way for a malicious actor to access a company network. A poorly protected 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 only come when a large enough number of devices can 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, between different industries.
With a large number of companies “doing IoT”, most big-name technology companies including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Intel and IBM have various types of IoT kits, all working to attract as many users as possible to their respective ecosystems, sometimes the motivation to make sure different companies’ IoT systems and devices work with each other is lacking.
One IoT device connects to another to transmit information using Internet transfer protocols. IoT platforms serve as a bridge between device sensors and data networks.
The following are some of the leading IoT platforms on the market today:
Amazon Web Services
ThingWorx IoT Platform
Cisco IoT Cloud Connection
Salesforce IoT Cloud
Oracle Integrated Cloud