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Gold Level Contributor

Anaheim is one of the Orange County cities to benefit from the system

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has awarded Iteris a $4.7m contract for a regional traffic signal synchronisation project spanning eight cities including Anaheim, Stanton and County of Orange.

The three-year project with the smart mobility infrastructure management firm includes signal coordination and timing improvements, with the aim of improving traffic flow, enhancing public safety and decreasing stops.

East-west corridor

Under the project agreement, Iteris will provide services that will upgrade traffic signal electronics and communications equipment, and optimise signal timing along Katella Avenue, a major east-west corridor that comprises key signalised intersections spanning the Orange County cities of Anaheim, Orange, Garden Grove, Villa Park, Cypress, Los Alamitos, Stanton and County of Orange.

In January, Iteris announced that it had been awarded a $3.6m contract to perform the same services across Orange County’s Main Street corridor.

Iteris’ Intersection-as-a-Service end-to-end solution, which is a component of the ClearMobility platform, will deliver proactive monitoring of traffic signal operations at all project intersections.

The primary goal of this project is to deploy new intelligent transportation system (ITS) equipment and communication infrastructure to support the management of the cities’ transportation network, implement optimised coordination timing plans to achieve optimal traffic flow, and improve safety for all road users, including vehicles, buses, bicycles and pedestrians.

“We are proud to support OCTA’s goal of improving the safety and mobility of road users by embarking on this traffic signal synchronisation project,” said Scott Carlson, vice president and assistant general manager, transportation systems at Iteris.

“This initiative represents the continued expansion of Iteris’ traffic signal coordination services, as well as our Intersection-as-a-Service offering, across the west coast and will ultimately help to increase the value and effectiveness of the region’s existing transportation infrastructure, while also improving air quality and reducing fuel consumption.”

Iteris expects to commence the traffic signal coordination and ITS design project immediately.

The ClearMobility continuously monitors, visualises and optimises mobility infrastructure. It applies cloud computing, artificial intelligence, advanced sensors, advisory services and managed services to increase safety and efficiency.

Originally published by
SmartCitiesWorld News Team
SmartCitiesWorld | September 30, 2020

 

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Gold Level Contributor

(Image source - pixels)

Coronavirus made us all come up with new solutions. We have figured out distance learning, zoom meetings, social distancing, and not going insane while sitting at home all day. We did a pretty decent job. However, now we have to learn how to go back to life before the pandemic hit.

It is not as easy as it seems, and it is hard to say whether things can go back to what they have used to be. Some aspects of our routines will definitely change, and we still have to be very careful. Covid-19 is still an issue, we do not have a vaccine yet.

Businesses started to reopen, though. We can not sit at home forever. Considering everything that was said before, businesses have to develop strategies that ensure employees` safety. Otherwise, you will either shut the whole thing down after a week, or no one will agree on coming back to the office. In fact, 93% are willing to continue their remote working journey. So if you want to make them go offline, you have to convince them to do so. 

5 Benefits of Reopening the Business with IoT

The ones who have already reopened report using more IoT than they have ever done before. “IoT is extremely beneficial at times like this: you need fewer employees, and you don’t have to control safety measures on your own,” – PR expert from Essay Tigers explains. 

IoT is needed when you reopen your business. You will want IoT’s fine-tuned help implemented into your business life.

#1 Distance Monitoring

Now that schools have started to reopen, many parents get concerned about how teachers will manage to teach their children without getting too close to them. Also, how can a teacher monitor how close students get to each other? The adult distance monitoring is applicable, too, especially as adults seem prone to harsher consequences of the COVID virus.

Research has shown it’s harder to keep the distance between adults. 47% of adults report feeling much lonelier than they have done before the coronavirus outbreak. This stat is not surprising since a lot of people live alone. During the worst part of the virus, we could not meet our friends.

Sitting at home for weeks did not contribute to our feeling of happiness and being content with life. People lacked socialization, and now they starve for human interactions. You can only imagine what will happen in the office as soon as employees see their colleagues after months of being apart. There is so much tea to be spilled.

Even if your employees do not get very excited about meeting each other, during the re=entry to work, one can get easily distracted from the real world. When you are absorbed in tasks, you tend to forget that you have to keep your distance — you just want everything to be done efficiently.

Discussing serious matters while being 1,5 meters apart does not seem as productive as the quick interactions at an employee’s desk in the past. Now, something private requires going to a separate room and then the requisite cleaning instead of quick low-voice, close interactions.

Companies have started to develop different strategies to make sure that coworkers keep the distance and not get everyone infected.

Many of these companies now track the mobile phones of their employees, and it is wrong. The question of privacy was acute a long time ago, and it is getting even worse now. If you have access to people’s phone, it means that you track them 24/7. Workers would rather not be tracked outside of the office. 

IoT can help you monitor the required distances with your employees. You can give out bands at the beginning of the workday and get them back by its end. Every time two devices get too close to each other, owners will get notifications, and as a manager, you will get one also. It will remind people of social distancing without you having to watch them on the camera or track their phones.

You can also find out who doesn’t care about safety measures, and educate them on why it is essential for everyone to follow the rules to keep your business open and their paychecks coming.

#2 Temperature Monitoring

As we know, having a temperature is not a good sign. It may mean that the person has gotten a virus and can share it with everyone. 

It seems reasonable to measure (or take) each employees temperature at the beginning of the day. If an employee has a temperature at the door, you merely send that person home before they even enter the office or a store. Yet, one can have no fever in the morning and end up with a fever later in the day. 

Do you have to measure temperature repeatedly throughout the day? It seems like a lot of effort, and it takes quite some time if you have a lot of employees. Taking temperature readings will slow down the working process; workers will get distracted and get out of their productivity streak. 

IoT has come up with a solution to this exact problem. You can install sensors that do automatically take temperature screenings. As soon as a fever is detected on someone, you can quickly take notice of that person, isolate them from the group, and send them home. 

#3 Know How Many People There Are

All the businesses know the rule that it is allowed to have only a certain number of customers and workers inside the buildings, based on how big and airy they are (buildings, not people). When there are many employees or your shop is quite big, and many clients can come in, it becomes complicated to count them. 

You may have seen security near the entrance with a notebook and a pencil who tries to count and not let more people in that it is recommended. Still, it is tough to keep the focus on both countings constantly, writing numbers down, and securing the door. If more than 50 people in the store, it is nearly impossible for a human to keep the situation under control.

IoT is there once again to help you. There are exceptional cameras that can count how many people are inside. So make the job of security people easier, get exact data in a matter of seconds, and spare yourself from the stress that you will not have to pay tons of money if someone checks your shop/office, and there are more people than it is allowed.

#4 Facial Recognition Is a Way to Go

In times like this, all businesses try to engage a bare minimum of employees so offices aren’t too crowded. It’s simple if you have a lot of staff and not that many rooms. With the help of IoT, you can minimize the number of security workers. 

You see, when people go through a security check, they interact with the same person. If the first person to come into the office was infected, he could infect security personnel. Consequently, all the people to enter after the person are at a high risk of getting the virus too. 

It can also help with employees who continually forget their badges or credentials. One can barely leave their face at home. You will no longer get irritated by such employees, and they need not stress about whether they have all the required documentation with them.

#5 Track Interactions Between Your Employees and Clients

In the worst possible case, when someone gets Coronavirus, owners usually panic and send everyone home again. Employees panic because of the employer’s panic, and don’t leave their home offices after two weeks: they are only scared, and it’s understandable. What if you could not shut everything down by sending home only those who had contact with the infected person?

While using IoT, you can track down the information about who interacted with who. Due to social distancing, it is unlikely that people meet as many coworkers as they had before the pandemic. Basically, you can see who is potentially sick, send them home, and continue working.

It might be risky though. Sometimes it’s better to double-check everything or, in that case, send everyone home so they can properly isolate themselves.

Conclusion

Coronavirus is changing our lives and makes us work in order to come up with new solutions and tricks. IoT managed to ensure your employees` and customers` safety. You can control social distancing, check the temperature, count people effortlessly, reduce the number of workers, and define the potentially infected staff. 

We highly recommend using these technologies so that you can promise safety to your employees and make them leave their homes. Moreover, you will not be forced to close everything down again in no time. 

Still, it is better to seriously think about whether it is actually reasonable to reopen. A home office is the safest idea, after all.

Originally published by
Stacey Wonder | September 29, 2020
readwrite

 

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Gold Level Contributor

In their study on the security of smart home devices, Riscure researchers observed that Zigbee and BLE implementations suffered most from misconfiguration and weak implementation strategies.

News about another major security breach is all too common today. To gain insight into just how well smart home devices confirm to requirements for secure storage, secure communications, and reduced attack surface categories, the global security lab Riscure reverse engineered a dozen devices and published its findings.

FierceElectronics interviewed Managing Director Maarten Bron to learn more about the deficiencies they identified and what companies and embedded developers can do to reach a higher level of security robustness.

FE: How did you conduct this research and in a nutshell, what was the key conclusion? 

Bron: We were curious about the “state of security,” and so we took a dozen or so webcams, door locks, routers, wifi gateways etc. and analyzed them by reverse engineering the firmware and studying the internals that way. In the cases that the device had a mobile app, we also looked at the app. As a benchmark we took the ETSI cybersecurity spec for consumer IoT and mapped the findings accordingly. You can see the results in our whitepaper, yet there are certain categories in which none of the devices met the requirements.

FE: Can you point to one of the worst examples of an insecure smart home device? 

Bron: Without going into the specifics of a single device, we oftentimes see things related to bootloaders, outdated versions of operating systems, improper configuration of communication protocol stacks. In itself these can all lead to exploits. 

FE: With all the things that product developers need to worry about, is security something of an afterthought in products like smart home devices? 

Bron: Security is something that needs to be baked in from the beginning, as opposed to being “sprinkled on” at the end. So yes, unless security is part of the design it really is an afterthought. Developers have a lot of things to worry about such as compliance, features, time to market, and the avoidance of mass-brick-events / warranty claims. In a world where security awareness amongst the general public is still growing, there are situations where other things besides security are higher on the priority list.

FE: Are security standards lagging or leading? 

Bron: That’s an interesting question. In case a device undergoes security evaluation, the standard for security is implicitly defined by the requirements it is supposed to satisfy. This is often expressed as “attack resistance”  of a certain level, against an attacker with a certain “attack potential.” The attack potential of hackers increase over time, so in its very essence the standard is never lagging. In practice though, where security standards are lagging is in the area of alignment, and the white paper contains only a few of a long list of security evaluation schemes / standards. All aimed at more or less the same security and privacy objectives, yet through different categories and rating schemes. This makes it hard for IoT developers to implement a proverbial single “security stack.”

FE: To build the right level of security into connected devices, developers must consider a multitude of vulnerabilities including runtime control, firmware updates, password issues, and more. With so much to consider, what are the areas to focus on that will give them the “biggest bang for the buck,” so to speak?

Bron: To start with secure boot, hands down. There’s a lot of silicon available nowadays that have the building blocks that allow for a good secure boot implementation. Process separation is also a good thing to have. The Arm Platform Security Architecture (PSA) program for instance gives IoT developers the assurance that PSA-certified chips function as full-fledged hardware Root of Trust, and that’s a solid foundation to build the rest of your IoT device on.

FE: Is security just the engineer’s job, or do others need to be involved (and if so who are they?).

Bron: At Riscure, our vision is one of Security at Scale. Only if security scales, it will make an impact. As per Gartner, there’s going to be more than 20 billion IoT devices online by the year 2025, that’s a lot of security engineers to make that happen. Automation could be an attractive way to achieve scale, and at Riscure we are working on solutions for developers to aid them in making embedded security an integral part of their workflow. Tooling will be able to analyse and optimize code for security, and to inject countermeasures. Keep in mind though that security knows several dimensions, and supply chain security is also an important factor. ‘Perceived security’ by consumer can also be an issue. If a de-facto secure product is perceived as being unsecure, consumers may be less likely to buy and use it. 

FE: What words of advice do you have for an embedded developer working on smart home devices today when it comes to building a secure product? 

Bron: You will often find yourself in the situation where your next project is an iteration of previous work (hardware designs, software libraries etc.), i.e. not an empty canvas situation. That is in itself a nice starting point to incrementally increase the level of security provided by your system. The ETSI technical specification referenced in the whitepaper is a good starting point of things to consider. Implement those security features related to hardware first. Followed by firmware, realtime OS, and application. In some situations, the developer will be in control of the application layer only, but there’s often a lot to gain on that level too related to security telemetry and “logical” security.

Originally published by
Karen Field | September 23, 2020
Fierce Electronics

 

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Gold Level Contributor

Without robust cybersecurity systems, smart cities are flawed, writes Haider Pasha, chief security officer for the Middle East and Africa at Palo Alto

As we work our way through what living with COVID-19 means for our societies, there’s a growing body of opinion that smart city technologies could be helpful to how governments and business leaders respond in the future. For example, Professor Jason Coburn, who studies urban health at the University of California, Berkeley has written about how smart city planning could slow future epidemics, using technology to prevent diseases from spreading while helping to ensure the availability and safety of critical resources, including water, transportation and healthcare.

However, the more connected devices there are, and the more data collected there is, the greater the opportunity for cyber-attackers. Smart cities must be secure by design to prevent cybercriminals being able to access sensitive data, disrupt critical IT systems in traffic management, internet access and more.

According to ABI Research, many cities are already seeing the benefits of using smart city technologies in managing the pandemic, including:

  • Remote temperature sensing using artificial intelligence, and autonomous last-mile delivery of critical equipment and supplies
  • Data sharing using smartphone data and crowd sourcing for location tracking visualised via real-time dashboards. This helps to enforce social distance guidelines and monitor the delivery of medical goods
  • Deploying drones with facial recognition technology to track those who are infected with the virus to ensure they don’t break quarantine and risk spreading the virus

Smart cities, built on the concept of digital municipal systems that do everything from controlling traffic grids to ensuring water quality, preceded COVID-19 and have long been popular. Research by IDC conducted pre-pandemic forecast that $189.5 billion (about £144 billion) will be spent worldwide on smart cities initiatives by the year 2023. Furthermore, it indicated that more than half of global spending on smart cities projects is concentrated in three use cases: resilient energy infrastructure, data-driven public safety and intelligent transportation.

There is huge potential still to be tapped for systems that improve how communities work, live and play. San Francisco’s smart power grid and Barcelona’s digitised waste management systems are just two examples of tens of thousands of smart cities initiatives that are improving the lives of residents.

Nevertheless, without cybersecurity, smart cities are flawed. The more things that are connected, the greater the opportunity for cyber-attackers to infiltrate systems, exfiltrate sensitive data and disrupt potentially critical systems in law enforcement, public health and other municipal applications.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices should be of particular concern because their use in smart cities is growing exponentially. According to the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association, the number of active IoT connections in Europe alone is expected to grow to 740 million by 2026. Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks threat intelligence arm’s 2020 IoT Threat Report found that 98 per cent of all IoT traffic is unencrypted, meaning that any cybercriminals that have successfully bypassed the first line of defence can collect and sell exposed personal or confidential information. Smart cities are great in terms of the new capabilities they bring, but it can all come crashing down around elected officials, government department heads, local businesses, citizens and visitors if cybersecurity is not a top priority.

Secure Smart Cities by Design

Smart cities must be ‘secure by design’. Connected systems for first responders, environmental controls, public internet access, traffic management, green energy and more must be based on rock-solid, intuitive and automated security protocols and policies from the start.

Cybersecurity that is ‘bolted on’ after systems are in place – and maybe after data breaches have already occurred – is next to worthless. Hackers are resourceful and highly collaborative – add-on security initiatives won’t work. One big reason why is the dramatic proliferation of endpoints – different forms of sensor-based systems and devices as gateways for hackers to the cloud where they can access far more.

This expansion of the attack vector is even more problematic when you consider that IoT devices, both for commercial and industrial applications, have innate security challenges because they often can’t support the memory requirements for many cybersecurity protocols. Then, add in the reality that humans—municipal workers, citizens, visitors and businesspeople piggybacking onto municipal Wi-Fi systems—are often weak links in the cybersecurity chain because of poor security hygiene.

Achieve Cyber Resilience

City, region and national leaders can achieve cyber resilience, but a big obstacle to overcome is, ironically, governance. The lack of governance on smart cities initiatives on a wide range of issues such as data handling, privacy policies, access privileges and more, is highly problematic. For example, when hiring a vendor to install smart streetlights, if government officials and their technical teams don’t have the right governance policies in place, there will either be delays or insecure lights installed. If they are insecure, hackers could access back-office systems through the lights, and data exfiltration or worse could result.


Good cybersecurity hygiene by all stakeholders involved in smart cities is imperative. Strong authentication policies, such as frequent and regular changing of passwords, multi-factor authentication and increased adoption of biometrics, are essential. This needs to be a personal commitment by anyone accessing smart cities digital services, but automated policies mandated and installed by the governments must also be created.

In addition, municipalities need people looking after the smart cities programs who have cybersecurity experience and expertise. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hire a team of security engineers, but you do need leaders and practitioners for whom cybersecurity is a familiar discipline. They need to be able to see the big picture and ensure that the technical and operational details are in place.

Tick off the Cybersecurity Checklist

There are key questions that non-technical municipal leaders—elected officials and governmental department heads—must be ready to ask their chief information security officer, CIO and other technical executives who have cybersecurity oversight. These include:

  • What is our documented incident response plan?
  • What are our governance strategies for securing systems, applications, data and identities?
  • Should we allow our legacy IT systems that most likely are not secure by design to connect with newer systems and devices?
  • What kind, and what frequency, of cybersecurity testing are we doing? What metrics do we receive on those tests, and what do we do about the results?

Successful smart cities initiatives require a checklist with four major elements: visibility, to make sure you see what is actually happening in those systems; analytics, to identify risks and abnormal systems and network behaviour; control, to manage and, if necessary, to compartmentalise key systems against threats, and coordination among all key constituents to ensure that security is ‘baked in’ for smart cities initiatives. To avoid hackers infiltrating networks and stealing private data, all stakeholders in smart cities need to ensure their municipalities are fully protected. Adopting the ‘secure by design’ mantra is crucial to making that happen.

Originally published
Smart Cities World | September 21, 2020
Haider Pasha, chief security officer, Middle East and Africa, Palo Alto Networks

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Silver Level Contributor

AT&T, Microsoft boost IoT security

AT&T and Microsoft targeted advances in enterprise IoT security, developing a 4G and LTE-M module enabling connected machines to bypass public Wi-Fi and transmit data to the software giant’s Azure cloud computing service using a private network.

Galen Hunt, MD of Azure Sphere, said in a blog the device will better protect essential equipment and data by tapping heightened security offered by mobile networks, helping enterprises fend off “disruptive” IoT attacks which “jeopardise long-term business value and objectives”.

He explained the AT&T module can be retrofitted to existing Wi-Fi-enabled machines in settings including restaurants and manufacturing plants.

An operator representative told Mobile World Live it is plugged-in via a USB port.

Using AT&T’s networks, the module will enable connectivity for smart machines in more than 200 countries and regions, including remote areas where Wi-Fi is unavailable, Hunt added.

The product is the result of a collaboration between AT&T and Microsoft announced in July 2019, spanning cloud, edge network, cybersecurity and IoT projects.

Originally published by
Diana Goovaerts | September 20, 2020
Mobile World Live

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Gold Level Contributor

Illustration: © IoT For All

IoT devices are everywhere and starting to be used in many industries, as well as in public places. Technological innovations and advancements make it possible for our devices to become smarter, but in some sectors, the adoption rate has been quicker than others.

Education is one sector where adopting new technologies takes longer than many other industries. Smarter devices could improve the interaction between students and teachers as well as provide more efficient education and learning. However, there are specific security concerns involved that have to be taken care of first for schools to adopt devices that would replace traditional books and notebooks. This article takes a look at some of the challenges faced by the education sector when it comes to the use of IoT.

State of the Education Sector

When it comes to the education sector and IoT, there are many changes possible that the entire industry could utilize making it look completely different in the timespan of a year or two. IoT provides the kind of value that other technologies don’t by advancing education so much so that its structures and environment could change completely.

Today we have schools and educational institutions sticking to the traditional ways of operation. However, there are also schools that use IoT which allows them to offer more personalized learning at a higher level of efficiency. The use of smart devices on campuses and in schools can improve the students’ access to relevant information, as well as help manage the entire classroom with more transparency and efficacy.

Education Use Cases

Below are a few interesting use cases reflecting the benefits of IoT in the Education field:

Enhanced Student Acquisition
  • Improved understanding of prospective students and their educational needs.
  • Improved forecasting and acquisition of students and faculty through integration of mobile apps to website navigation.
Improved Student Experience
  • Distance learning integration.
  • Student life analysis through device integration for any early detection of patterns that require course corrections for improved academic outcomes.
  • Develop courses and curricula that meet student needs effectively based on student sentiments and their interests.
  • Differentiated services and cost reductions for improved operations.
Research Experience
  • Accelerated research through device integration for faster experimental data collection, and integrated analytics with predictive capabilities

Cybersecurity Concerns

In open environments such as the ones nurtured by higher education institutions, cybersecurity can be a massive problem. It’s quite difficult for many institutions to implement proper cybersecurity practices while striving to teach and share information with anyone who may need it. The enormous number of students passing through an institution’s system each year certainly does not help in that mission, as they all use their personal devices.

The threats could be more severe than you might think, not only for the devices but also the data that is managed by educational institutions. In Florida, there was a cybersecurity data breach through the security system of a virtual K-12 school that jeopardized the safety of the sensitive student and parent personal data. It included the names and birth dates of students, email addresses of the parents, as well as Social Security numbers of the teachers.

Cases like this, clearly show that the level of cybersecurity in the education sector isn’t on a high enough level to deter cyber criminals.

Solving Cybersecurity Concerns

The problem of IoT-related security concerns isn’t exclusive to the education sector but the sensitivity of the assets we are expected to protect in this field is particular. Therefore, Educational Institutions must start teaching cybersecurity not as “a best practice” but rather “by practice”. One way is to start teaching the young generation about cybersecurity in a fun and practical way. As a great example, ISSA France – the 1st French-speaking European chapter of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) has just launched a Holiday Workbook presenting cyber risks to children and their parents.

Besides, to be able to trust IoT devices, connected education campuses must drive a dedicated IoT risk analysis and adopt security assurance by design, rigorous testing, and security standards for the devices and systems in use.

Only by knowing where the weaknesses are and how they can be exploited can we deter cybercriminals from breaking into internet-connected systems to steal sensitive data and cause a massive amount of damage.

Originally published by
Roland Atoui - 

 

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Gold Level Contributor

A new report from the IoT market research firm Berg Insight says that IoT managed service providers have more than 50 million IoT subscribers worldwide.

In Europe and North America, these players hold a combined market share of 15–20 percent. Most IoT managed service providers operate as full MVNOs using their own core networks and platforms featuring connectivity management controls and other value-added services. A key differentiator for IoT managed service providers is the ability to aggregate multiple wireless wide area networks and thus provide superior area coverage, multi-domestic footprints and multi-technology connectivity on a single platform.

Aeris and KORE Wireless have consolidated their positions as leading players in North America, with 14 million and 13 million cellular IoT subscribers respectively at the end of 2019. Sierra Wireless has established a trans-Atlantic subscriber base with 3.6 million IoT connections in both Europe and North America. In Europe, Wireless Logic is the largest IoT managed service provider with about 3.5 million subscribers. The company is systematically expanding its regional presence through a combination of strategic acquisitions and organic growth. 1NCE has grown rapidly to become the runner up in Europe since its launch in 2018, providing cellular IoT connectivity to about 3 million devices at the end of 2019. Additional IoT managed service providers are Cubic Telecom, BICS, Arm, Transatel and Eseye having between 2–3 million cellular IoT subscribers each.

“IoT managed service providers play an increasingly important role in the fast-growing international connectivity segment”, says Fredrik Stalbrand, Senior Analyst at Berg Insight.

Several IoT managed service providers are leading the commercialisation of advanced SIM solutions, based on eUICCs and multi-IMSI SIMs or a combination of the two.

Mr. Stalbrand concludes:

“These solutions offer an alternative to the roaming model, enabling devices to automatically connect to a local cellular network.” 

7931115689?profile=RESIZE_710x

 

Originally published by
IOT Business News | September 15, 2020

 

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Gold Level Contributor

EIT InnoEnergy chooses Boston as its US launchpad

Boston is regarded as a ‘hotbed’ for sustainable energy innovation

The new office will help entrepreneurs develop their innovations and reduce time to market by providing direct access to more than 500 industrial partners in its ecosystem.

European sustainable energy accelerator EIT InnoEnergy has announced its first move into US markets, opening an office in Boston as the launchpad for its expansion.

According to EIT InnoEnergy, the new office will help entrepreneurs develop their innovations and reduce time to market by providing direct access to more than 500 industrial partners in its ecosystem. It chose Boston because it regards it as a ‘hotbed’ for sustainable energy innovation and entrepreneurialism.

Clean energy-focused

Supporting the launch, the accelerator has signed a partnership deal with Greentown Labs, one of the largest cleantech start-up incubators in North America. Both organisations are active members of the Incubatenergy Network, a consortium of US clean energy-focused incubators that have supported more than 500 companies.

The transatlantic expansion will be mutually beneficial to start-ups and partners on both sides of the ocean, offering access to new markets and resources including investors, educators, and talent. By enhancing its ecosystem in this way, EIT InnoEnergy claims it will further dismantle barriers to innovation spurring a wave of new sustainable energy technologies in areas such as offshore wind, storage, and e-mobility.

EIT InnoEnergy said its involvement with the Incubatenergy Network, coupled with organic growth in its start-up portfolio, led it to consider a greater presence in the US to help further accelerate innovation.

The new office is led by Mark Vasu, a founding team member of Greentown Labs, who has been appointed as US operations manager while Elena Bou, EIT InnoEnergy’s innovation director, has joined Greentown Labs’ advisory board.

“Solving the energy transition is a challenge without borders. “By expanding our ecosystem to incorporate more diversity and richness, we can ensure that the very best sustainable energy innovations benefit all corners of the world,” said Bou.

“Following an extensive search, it was clear that the Northeast US is the best location from which to expand our ecosystem and Greentown Labs is the perfect partner in the region to work with. Together we can create new opportunities for transatlantic partnerships, research and sales, not only shortening time to market, but also substantially increasing the impact of all involved.”

In addition to the Greentown Labs partnership, EIT InnoEnergy also announced that specialised US VCs including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, TDK Ventures, City Light and Arctern Ventures have joined its VC community.

“I am excited to bring Europe’s most trusted ‘go to’ ecosystem to the US and leverage the network, knowledge, and depth of partnerships it has built in parallel with my tenure building Greentown Labs,” added Vasu.

“EIT InnoEnergy’s expansion into the US is an enormous opportunity to help sustainable energy start-ups, both in the US and in Europe, that are looking to diversify geographically and rapidly scale their operations.”

The Boston location joins EIT InnoEnergy’s pan-European business activity via its network of offices in Barcelona, Lisbon, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Grenoble, Stockholm, Krakow, Brussels, Eindhoven and Amsterdam.

Originally published by
SmartCitiesWorld News Team | September 10, 2020
SmartCitiesWorld

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Gold Level Contributor

Illustration: © IoT For All

In a previous post, we discussed IoT hacker motivations in targeting IoT devices and considered three widely known attack methods. These attacks (Mirai, Stuxnet and Brickerbot) each took advantage of the data path to breach security. In this article, we’ll take a look at service-specific IoT device attacks over SMS and Voice – and explain how attackers are taking advantage of vulnerabilities to access privacy information or generate revenue for their criminal business. 

Attacks via SMS  

In the early 2000s mobile phone scams consisting of unwanted ads sent via SMS were very common. Aside from being annoying, these SMS were also an unwanted cost – charging the recipient for each ad. The SMS ads were quickly prohibited and decreased, but another form of unwanted SMS is still out there – Smishing.

SMS phishing is like email phishing – an attacker invites an unknowing recipient to click on a link which subsequently begins downloading malicious software. IoT cases that include human decision-making of this type, and thereby lend themselves to this attack approach, are limited – for example, payment terminals or order screens are vulnerable. Meaning, for most IoT devices, other attack surfaces are more of a concern. 

In 2019, two vulnerabilities were reported: Simjacker and WIBattack.  These use SMS and a software on the SIM card in order to gain control over a device (note: EMnify SIM cards do not have this vulnerability). Each SIM is a microprocessor and has room for a software applet. Both vulnerabilities use an outdated applet – S@T Browser and Wireless Internet Browser (WIB) – which have not implemented correct security measures. An attacker can send OTA SMS – a special type of SMS that can change SIM configurations – to the device. Usually OTA SMS use a secure key from the operator based on which the SIM can identify if the SMS is originated from the operator – but these applets also accept SMS without security measures. Based on this vulnerability the attackers were able to execute commands on the SIM – like retrieving location information, sending SMS or setting up a call. Both attacks show that the longer a device is out in the field, the more vulnerable it becomes to new security exploits which can ultimately lead to attackers taking over full control of the device. 

Voice Calls  

Voice call fraud is still a major problem for telecommunication operators and their customers – an estimated 28.3 billion USD in 2019. The top fraud type remains International Revenue Share Fraud (ISRF) where customers are tricked into dialing a premium number for which they need to pay a high fee. The premium number provider and the company who rented the number are splitting the revenue. The network provider recognizes the fee associated with the premium number as a charge related to a call their customer made – meaning it ends up on the customer’s phone bill. If a customer refuses to pay the charge, their contract can end up being terminated. 
 
While voice calls are only a corner case of IoT (for example, elevator emergency calls), often the SIM cards deployed in the devices still support voice. An attacker that either gets physical or remote control over a device or SIM card can generate multiple calls without the device owner noticing. In the case where an attacker exploits a security vulnerability such as in the Mirai/Simjacker example and gains control of an entire fleet of IoT devices – the incurred bills could result in the end of the business.   

Recommended Countermeasures 

IoT devices serve a specific purpose when deployed in the field and their connectivity profile should be limited to that purpose. If SMS and Voice features are not needed, for example, they should be deactivated within the connectivity provider portal. This deactivation may also only happen after initial device configuration like setting the APN via SMS. 

Originally posted by
EMnify - 

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Illustration: © IoT For All

While the impact of the IoT industry in the past few years has been nothing short of impressive, the disruption this technology will bring to the financial services market will be just as impactful.

According to a research study by Markets and Markets, the global banking and financial services IoT market is expected to grow from $249.5 million to $2.03 billion by 2023. That’s an eight-fold growth in just five years or a CAGR of approximately 52 percent. IoT technology in the retail industry is also expected to grow to $35 billion by the end of this year.

Below are six key trends that will drive the growth of IoT and big data in finance and retail.

1. IoT Will Make Risk Assessment Seamless and Easy

One area where IoT technology will be disruptive in the near future is that of risk assessment. Think about how risk assessment currently works in the financial services sector. It’s a very subjective process similar to the one that triggered the 2008 Great Recession. Now imagine a future that allows for smart risk assessment by using big data and IoT technologies.

First, IoT and big data will make it easy to acquire vast amounts of data that are used to determine a customers’ risk status. This data can then be smartly analyzed in a way that the risk profile of any company or individual becomes convenient and easy. The data can also be used to forecast future risks for individuals and organizations.

2. IoT Will Enhance and Automate Security in Financial Institutions

IoT technology will contribute to a more secure future, particularly in the retail and financial services industry. 

Connected smart cameras and motion sensors are just two of the smart technologies financial institutions and retailers can deploy for better security. These technologies will not only automatically react to intrusions by thieves and unauthorized third parties (by shutting down certain systems, locking down the premises so that the intruder is unable to leave, and immediately notifying you and providing an abundance of information that you can act upon), but it will also act to protect against environmental hazards that can pose security threats or result in damage.

3. IoT Will Revolutionize Point of Sale (POS) Payments

The POS industry is projected to be worth an estimated $109 billion by 2025, and IoT technology will play no small role in making this happen: while the best POS systems available today have a number of impressive features, POS technology will only evolve. The rise of smart POS systems will result in the widespread adoption of biometric POS, the rise of mobile POS payments, digital product tracking that eliminates queues and makes remote payments easy, and much more.

More importantly, IoT and big data enable the effective storage, processing, and transmission of data in a way that is more secure while providing advanced analytics that thoroughly monitors and notifies you of potential data breaches. This will make POS systems more secure and reliable further enhancing the retail industry.

4. More Efficient Inventory Management

Retailers very well know the cost of an inefficient inventory management system. Data shows that U.S. retailers lose an estimated $45 billion annually due to not having the required inventory in stock and a whopping $224 billion due to having excess inventory. 

IoT and big data will be able to fix inventory woes. Automated IoT inventory management systems that make real-time tracking of inventory easy at the point of sale will be in every retail store sooner rather than later. The inventory system automatically generates data to show currently in-stock items and effectively analyzes this data to predict future inventory requirements.

5. Smart Asset Movement and Monitoring

Asset monitoring is currently partially automated due to the use of computers and technology, but still involves a lot of manual process and checks. IoT and big data will change this.

First, IoT will automate the process of gathering data and real-time information that can be automatically analyzed to understand the current state of things and predict the future. IoT also makes effective use of sensors attached to assets to track them (paying attention to variables that include temperature, humidity, proximity, and movement) and then automatically generate useful data about these assets. This allows for enhanced real-time monitoring of the health and movement of assets.

6. Increasing Use of Wearable Tech for Financial Transactions

Smartwatches and wearable technology that automatically monitor human health and activity are increasingly prevalent. These devices provide essential information about the health of the wearer at all times. Now, think about something similar for payments: you walk into the bank and the bank’s IoT system connects to your wearable device which sends essential information about your activity to the bank. Not only does this eliminate a lot of time-wasting manual processes and improve customer satisfaction, but it also makes it easier to perform contactless transactions while at the same time ensuring optimal security.

The financial industry is already reaping the benefits of IoT and big data. As more businesses see the advantages of IoT, the adoption rate to improve outdated business practices will rapidly increase.

Originally published by
Bamidele Onibalusi | September 3, 2020
iot for all

 
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In light of the current pandemic, global technology market advisory firm ABI Research estimates that Connected Home devices could see a 30% year-on-year sales surge in the coming months. Not only this, says Daniel Egger, Axiros GmbH and Project Stream Lead for Broadband User Services (BUS) Data Modeling Project Streamsmart home devices are expected to overtake smartphones by 2021, with the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices predicted to reach more than 50 billion devices, according to Strategy analytics.

In order to monetise this golden opportunity within the Connected Home market, service providers must first unlock a truly interoperable ecosystem for user services that vastly improves the consumer experience.

A challenging task for service providers

As smart devices become increasingly prevalent throughout the home and office, consumers and businesses alike are in turn demanding faster, more reliable connectivity. To truly enable and enhance end-users’ connected experience, ubiquitous connectivity must be delivered to all corners of residential and commercial premises, all whilst ensuring connected devices can be seamlessly managed.

How these devices can be managed, monitored, and upgraded can be a challenging task for service providers. And with consumers turning to their broadband service providers for customer support on smart home device-related issues, it further increases complexity and heightens security related problems.

As a result, service providers are being held responsible for poor device and application performance by their customers because they perceive the integration of devices, applications, and internet service as part of their overall broadband experience. This comes down to the fact that consumers often do not have the knowledge to differentiate between “the Wi-Fi” and “the internet”, despite the reality that many consumers buy their Wi-Fi equipment independently of their service provider.

The connected key

Bringing both benefits and challenges, service providers must evolve how the broadband experience is measured and delivered both in the home and for business. This is critical if service providers are to unleash the full potential of the Connected Home ecosystem, and with more than one billion installations worldwide, TR-069 is largely responsible for creating the mass market that stimulated broadband innovation and subscriber adoption.

The evolution of TR-069 and built by vendors and service providers within Broadband Forum, TR-369, also known as User Services Platform (USP), is the protocol for remote IP network CPE management. With the natural extension of the access network, USP is viewed as the intersection between the proliferating Internet of Things (IoT) and can unlock new use cases for the customer. Addressing interoperability and balancing the needs of the consumer and service provider, USP provides a unified approach to deploying, managing and controlling connected devices in the home.

Evolving requirements

With the design of USP, there are several new ways of establishing multiple connections to different Endpoints. One major evolution to the standards and Endpoint IDs is that every participant in USP has a unique identifier. Operators have the ability to use these IDs in very different ways and allow an Agent such as a games console, Wi-Fi connection or streaming service to talk to different Controllers such as a handheld device or a computer and know exactly which Controller requires which data.

Operators’ ability to place the to/from Endpoint IDs becomes a key element of any Records (which are the low-level packets sent between USP participants) for routing. USP also provides the ability to address multiple Controllers and more can be added via discovery mechanisms, so multiple Controllers can be easily installed and communicated with simultaneously. This is alongside a dedicated configuration per Controller and commands which allows Controller specific targeting.

Presenting a choice of Message Transfer Protocols (MTPs), operators can choose the best possible connectivity for Controllers and re-use the existing infrastructure. Operators can have different MTPs for different Controllers and configure them how they see fit, allowing each Controller to communicate in the most efficient way. It also enables Controller Trust which define access controls for each Controller and restricts the abilities the Controller has on the data model.

Greater security

As the number of data from new applications and services continues to grow, so too does the number of security threats and potential issues for the end-user, which didn’t exist previously.

That is why it is critical that service providers think ahead and deploy solutions that meet the criteria for being future-proof from malicious hackers looking to take control of the device. But no matter the challenges that service providers face, such as reducing costs, improving customer support, or differentiating themselves with a unique label to consumers – USP was also designed specifically as the saviour in providing a platform for mastering the Connected Home.

Superior experience

When it comes to the golden ticket of generating additional revenue streams, USP allows for the roll-out and implementation of new applications much more easily without affecting existing installations. USP is incredibly important in the mass deployment of broadband networks and are vital in creating a stable ecosystem for Connected Home implementations at scale. This, in turn, will enable service providers to unleash the full potential of the smart home, providing them with the means to offer a superior Connected Home experience, as well as monetise on the smart home ecosystem

The author is Daniel Egger, Axiros GmbH and Project Stream lead for Broadband User Services (BUS) Data Modeling Project Stream.

Originally published by|
Anasia D'mello
IoT Now

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Congestion on core road networks is a major problem for many countries around the world. Indeed, according to the largest ever study of global traffic, conducted by INRIX in 2017, congestion in the US alone costs $305 billion (€257 billion).

In the UK, Highways England estimates the cost of congestion on the motorway and major road network to be in the region of £2 billion (€2 billion) every year.

As Chris ShannonCEO of Fotech Solutions says, the economic burden of congestion means that many countries are now trialling the concept of ‘smart motorways’. The first test of a smart motorway project took place in 2006 in the UK, and since then the concept has attracted a lot of interest with schemes becoming common in several countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland.

‘Smart motorways’ actually comprise several different variants. Regardless of these nuances though, the most common and visible features of a smart motorway include some use of the hard shoulder as a traffic lane and variable speed limits. These measures are intended to increase road capacity and to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible.

‘Improvements to be made’

Evidence from the UK, which currently has the most deployments, suggests that there are still improvements in the technologies that underpin smart motorways to be made.

While data shows that smart motorways have increased capacity by up to a third, a recent report published by the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) highlights that although smart motorways carried 10.7% of motorway traffic in the period 2015-18 (inclusive) they accounted for, on average, 11.4% of the serious casualties.

As such, smart motorways are a potentially powerful solution to the issue of congestion, but if their use is to be expanded we have to ensure that the risk to drivers is minimised. If anything, smart motorways should be safer than the normal road network.

If this is to be achieved, then we need to take a look at the fundamental technology that underpins smart motorway initiatives.

The limitations of smart motorways

The key technical issue for smart motorways is the reliance on cameras and induction loops. Typically loops or cameras are installed every 400 metres along a smart motorway. Clearly, these ‘point’ sensors cannot deliver full continuous monitoring of the entire motorway.

There are inherently gaps in the coverage and these gaps are where delays and errors creep in, which in turn increase the risks for drivers. For example, the DfT report highlighted that the camera-based system used to identify broken down vehicles or drivers experiencing issues still takes an average of 17 minutes to spot a vehicle in trouble.

It then takes a further 17 minutes for a rescue team to arrive on the scene. If a driver is in trouble on a fast-moving motorway, a half hour response time is very obviously a significant risk.

Unfortunately, installing sensors at more regular intervals is very costly and so there will always be compromises in the coverage point sensors can provide. But how can we use technology to improve performance and in particular speed up incident detection times?

Using fibre networks as additional sensors

There is potentially a solution already in the ground. The sensor networks for smart motorways are already connected via fibre cables and this fibre could be put to use as a sensor in its own right. For fibre owners and installers there is a significant opportunity to offer more value to smart motorway schemes.

Wherever fibre is installed alongside a motorway, the addition of Distributed Acoustic Sensor (DAS) technology can effectively convert the cable into thousands of vibration sensors as if you are deploying an army of microphones along the roadway.

These vibration sensors can detect the unique ‘acoustic signature’ of a range of disturbances in the road disruptions in the flow of traffic or changing behaviour in the vehicles (i.e. slowing down/speeding up/changing lanes) and inform operators on what incidents have taken place, exactly where it happened and when it happened.

By virtue of being fibre-based, this system inherently provides full coverage of the entire length of the motorway ‘filling in’ the gaps between cameras and loops to increase the efficacy and accuracy of identifying incidents.

Fibre sensors also provide automated alerts in real-time boosting response times. This is crucial to minimising the potential disruption to keep traffic flowing even more smoothly and minimising risks to drivers.

While smart motorways remain in their infancy, it is clear that they are an appealing solution to the challenge of congestion. However, safety of the road users must be paramount. While existing sensors provide a certain level of performance, we must explore every possible technology that can make systems more effective and minimise risk. Fibre infrastructure has a massive role to play in delivering on this challenge.

Originally published by
Chris Shannon, CEO, Fotech Solutions. | August 27, 2020
IoT Now

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Illustration: © IoT For All

There’s plenty of talk about the negative aspects of connected devices. From faulty security to privacy concerns, critics only seem to grow louder as more devices proliferate contemporary life. What many neglect to focus upon, however, is the Internet of Thing’s incredible potential for good.

IoT can actually make the impossible possible. The United Nations has identified 17 goals for sustainable development by 2030 and connected devices are set to prove critical to achieving many of these lofty goals.

For example, smart agriculture is empowering farmers to produce better crops and more food, in turn driving down food prices and availability in the fight against hunger. IoT projects are bringing clean water to developing regions, and helping connect all the elements of power production and consumption to unlock green, affordable energy.

An impact in but a handful of these fields have the potential to positively transform global society and should be kept in focus as the technology only continues to evolve in the aftermath of COVID-19. Let’s look at three ways connected devices are helping to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals amidst the “new normal”.

Goal #1: Zero Hunger

Ending hunger, achieving food security, and improving nutrition are major societal obstacles that have only been thrown into relief by the current pandemic. As recognized on World Population Day – July 11 – the global population continues to steadily rise toward 8 billion people in the midst of a health crisis that affects food systems. This impact is disproportionally felt by the poorest among us, with The World Food Programme warning against a “hunger pandemic” as a result of virus restrictions in regions like Latin America.

Global farming, if left unchecked, will need more land to feed more mouths. Therefore, The UN is calling for sustainable agriculture in an effort to produce higher quality food in larger quantities over the next decade. Smart farming, aided by the power of IoT, is a step towards making this a reality.

Smart farming is expected to produce two major changes in the way food is produced. First, precision farming is expected to bring control and accuracy to farmers by arming them with the most up-to-date information on their cattle or crop. For example, field sensors to record the weather and soil sensors to determine moisture empower farmers to best use their resources.

Second, automation and data. Better-connected farms are likely to allow farmers to do much more with less. New agricultural tools will make farms more efficient and automate the crop or livestock production cycle, ideally leading to more food at cheaper prices for our ever-growing global populace.

Goal #2Clean Water and Sanitation

Despite some progress, billions of people still lack access to clean water and sanitation. According to figures from The Water Project, 783 million people – or one in nine people on our planet – do not have access to safe and clean drinking water. Moreover, more than half of the world’s population lack safely managed sanitation, and 3 billion people lack basic handwashing facilities at home – the most effective method of coronavirus prevention.

Many water systems have been installed worldwide in the fight for clean water but 65 percent are reported to break within the first two years. This is because traditional water filtration systems rely on user fees and proper oversight to preserve the infrastructure, often leaving donated solar pumps and filtration systems broken for years in desperate communities. There is major potential, then, for smart solutions to oversee the ongoing maintenance of installed water systems to ensure the supply of clean water.

Take the work being done by Oxford University on water metering and conservation in East and West Africa. Researchers have found that installing accelerometer sensors into hand pumps can accurately detect if the pump is working and how much water is being produced by it. Another research program is using this data – which is transferred via GSM network to a central server – to determine the depth of the water beneath the pump in order to monitor its condition. This enables an accurate breakdown prediction to be made before the pump actually stops working with the aim of reducing downtime to zero.

Sensors in this way generate very useful insights. Indicators related to water distribution can be obtained near real-time, pressure within pipes can be measured at different locations to reveal leaks, and water quality can be measured continuously. Moreover, sensors show promise in sanitation by linking to appropriate back-end systems to determine when a pit or sanitation tank has reached capacity and needs to be emptied. Fixing and maintaining water systems is vital in securing supply and IoT is showing great promise in this effort. 

Goal #3Affordable and Clean Energy

While steps are being made to bring affordable and clean energy to all corners of the globe, there is much progress to be made in the 2020s. Roughly 840 million people continue to live without electricity – down from 1 billion in 2016 and 1.2 billion in 2010 – with renewables contributing only 17% to the global energy grid. Wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal power, and biomass energy are growing in the general move away from fossil fuels and connected devices are driving efficiency and automation in this shift.

IoT connects all the elements of power production and consumption, improves visibility in the processes, and provides real control at every step of energy flow. Sensors and connected devices allow companies to access real-time energy data and transmit it to the power grid for advanced storage and analysis. The benefits are two-fold, with connected devices enabling decision-makers to build data-driven optimization strategies and users to understand their energy consumption habits and adjust accordingly.

Automation is particularly important when it comes to generating clean energy. In wind or solar, for example, IoT devices can help detect the most favorable conditions for energy production and automatically change the direction of turbines or panels. Using devices and their data for the monitoring and efficient working of these power generators enables for maximum efficiency to improve power output and reduce operating costs. Not only does IoT enable better operation control in this way, but it also improves safety on the premises.

As in the case for more reliable water supplies, maintenance for clean energy systems is also hugely improved with IoT. Generation, transmission, and distribution sensors enable remote asset monitoring and management, something of import when energy production plants are distributed and social distancing is mandatory. Meanwhile, better load management is possible thanks to new insights on voltage control, load switching, and network configuration. Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for all requires new efficiencies – and these are being made possible by IoT.

Conclusion

The UN Sustainable Development Goals have been seriously underscored in the international fallout of COVID-19. They were important before the pandemic, now they are integral. Hunger, thirst, and energy needs have only become that much more pronounced in the downturn following the pandemic. Action must be taken, and connected devices and multi-use sensors offer a way to achieve these endeavors in the face of uncertain recovery. When implemented cautiously and conscientiously, IoT presents an opportunity to change the fate of billions for the better.

Originally published by
Carsten Rhod Gregersen | Carsten Rhod Gregersen - CEO and Founder of Nabto, Nabto, the company providing a peer-to-peer (P2P) based platform to IoT devices.

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GSMA Intelligence cut its forecast for global IoT revenue in 2025 to $906 billion due to the impact of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, with earnings from professional services set to be one of the hardest hit segments.

In its August update, the analyst company noted even at its revised level revenue was an almost threefold increase on 2019. Previously it expected IoT revenue to be $1.1 trillion in 2025.

Analysts noted as part of their response to the pandemic, enterprises had readjusted to focus on remote access and automation, placing the short-term emphasis on software tools and cloud.

“As enterprises focus on survival, discretionary spend is currently under scrutiny to preserve cash, which negatively impacts IoT consulting revenues in particular,” GSMA Intelligence added.

“Some latent spend from 2020 will shift to 2021 and beyond, but as economic growth returns we expect IoT professional services revenue growth to return to preCovid-19 levels, with systems integration the main contributor to revenue.”

Regional differences
Although tempering its overall revenue forecast, it noted there would be regional variations, with Asia Pacific least affected. In several markets here, it added, IoT was being deployed in state-sponsored initiatives to mitigate the impact of the crisis.

By contrast, it pointed to a “bleaker outlook” in Latin America, with Brazil cited as a country where 50 per cent of enterprises had struggled securing return on investment for IoT deployments.

In terms of devices, it stood by numbers published in early June, stating the net increase in IoT devices would dip 45 per cent in 2020. Here it stuck by long-term forecasts predicting device numbers to double between 2019 and 2025.

Originally published by
Chris Donkin | August 17, 2020
Mobile World Live

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The IoT network currently covers 306km of expressway

The Korean Expressway Corporation is building the IoT network with Semtech’s LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol as the first stage of a four-year deployment plan.

The Korean Expressway Corporation (KEC), a government affiliated company building and managing expressways in South Korea, has built a network based on Semtech’s LoRa devices and the LoRaWAN protocol for its expressways as the first stage in a four-year Internet of Things (IoT) deployment plan in the country.

The network already provides functionality in areas such as smart parking and trash bin fill monitoring at rest areas and real-time condition tracking for shock-absorbing barriers and guardrails.

High-quality IoT network

In 2019, KEC deployed 78 LoRa-based gateways over 306km of expressway. Systems integrator Woojoo Telecom and SK Telesys, a LoRa-based gateway manufacturer and network server provider were selected as operators for the project, conducting communication tests on roads and in tunnels to establish the high-quality IoT network.

“Semtech’s LoRa devices and LoRaWAN networks represent the ideal infrastructure on which to build Korea’s next-generation IoT solutions,” said Hyo-Hoon, Kim, manager at SK Telesys. “We want to continue to uphold Korea’s leading technology culture and provide citizens the basic right to enjoy Internet infrastructure freely.

“One of our main goals is providing citizens and local businesses with the opportunity to innovate and create their own IoT applications. With LoRa, developers can quickly and effectively create solutions to enable a smarter, more efficient home for us all.”

In the coming years, KEC plans to expand the LoRa-based network’s applications to include landslip detectors, road-freezing sensors, electronic displays, fire extinguishers in tunnels, and expressway lights.

By continuing to migrate applications from legacy 3G/LTE connectivity to LoRaWAN, KEC expects to reduce operating cost by up to $2m per year.

“LoRa devices and LoRaWAN networks cover hundreds of uses cases essential to city and often countrywide infrastructure,” said Marc Pegulu, vice president of IoT for Semtech’s wireless and sensing products group.

“The increasing implementation of large-scale, flexible applications reflects the rising demand for massive IoT worldwide. These deployments increase efficiency and cost savings for those government entities providing public infrastructure such as nationwide expressways, and LoRa devices represent an ideal technology and connectivity backbone.”

Originally published by
SmartCitiesWorld News Team | August 14, 2020
SmartCitiesWorld

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Verizon deployed a precision location tracking technology it claimed will enable more advanced IoT use cases across a range of verticals and make existing deployments more efficient.

Nicola Palmer, Verizon’s chief product development officer, stated real-time kinematics (RTK) technology slashes the typical 3 metre to 9 metre accuracy of standard GPS systems to within 2cm, “transforming what is currently possible when it comes to location-enabled services and new IoT solutions”.

The technology is not unique to Verizon: in 2019, SoftBank detailed plans to deploy RTK in Japan to serve autonomous driving use cases.

But Palmer noted “precision location services are becoming more critical” for a broad range of use cases as the IoT continues to grow, citing examples including drones, agriculture technology, infrastructure monitoring and asset tracking.

Verizon said access to better location data will make IoT devices more efficient, reducing costs and risks related to operating with inaccurate information. Coupled with its 5G network, the operator said RTK will also enable more advanced autonomous applications.

It highlighted partnerships with mapping company Here Technologies and self-driving software provider Renovo to develop autonomous vehicle systems which use RTK.

Renovo CEO Christopher Heiser said RTK networks offer “a viable way to deliver these enhanced capabilities to mass-market cars and trucks”.

Originally published by
Diana Goovaerts | August 13, 2020
Mobile World Live

 

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Illustration: © IoT For All

Businesses worldwide spent $1.5 billion on IoT security in 2019. When it comes to connecting devices via cellular IoT, the selling-point is typically the data and derived insights–this is where the customer sees real value, more so than in any security benefits. That said, IoT solution providers not taking security measures into consideration are risking significant revenue and reputation loss in the event of a security breach–both for their own business as well as their customer’s business. 

In the worst cases, the harm done from one security breach will far outweigh any previously created customer value. IoT connectivity providers that can explain and demonstrate their security concepts will gain a competitive advantage. 

Why Are Hackers Focused on IoT?  

IoT attacks increased by 900% in 2019. So, why are hackers increasingly targeting IoT devices? There are several explanations: 

  1. Lack of security software on the devices: Opposed to regular computers, IoT devices do not have a firewall or virus scanner. 
  2. Less experienced device producers: The businesses usually come from the industry vertical and often are lacking the IT security expertise of server/computer manufacturers.  
  3. Multiple devices with the same security mechanisms: Once an attack works with one device it will work with thousands. 
  4. IoT devices are out of reach: device owners deploy their machines remotely. Often an owner won’t realize that the devices have been compromised until it is too late. Once an attacker has control over a device, it could run all day long before being physically shut down by the owner.  

Who Are the Attackers and What Motivates Them?

  • Amateur hackers and script kiddies – usually their objective is fame among their peers, either by targeting a high-profile victim or by demonstrating an ability to infect many devices in a single attack.  
  • Governments/Intelligence organizations – acting in the safety of their citizens, intelligence agencies attempt to secure access to important information. 
  • Political interest groups – they attack organizations that they think are morally corrupt. Examples are groups like anonymous. 
  • Criminal businesses – organizations that take advantage of vulnerabilities within the target to generate revenue for themselves. 

The criminal businesses mentioned above are typically set up as ordinary businesses and are especially relevant in the IoT domain. Their objective is to gain control over a large number of IoT devices and make money out of them, often in one of the following ways:  

  • Selling Distributed Denial of Service attacks – like webstresser.org  (more information via Forbes
  • Using devices for Bitcoin mining (more information via CNBC)
  • Blocking the device operation until the owner pays a ransom (ransomware)  

How Do IoT Attacks Work? 

Mirai 

The most common IoT attack today is the Mirai malware, which originated in 2016. The malware scans the public internet for IoT devices and tries to establish a remote telnet connection using a list of common factory default usernames and passwords. As soon as one device is infected, the malware begins scanning for more victims. All devices become part of the Mirai botnet which is then steered through the attacker’s command and control center. The attackers then execute a DDoS attack, on behalf of their customers, to a target destination in order to take down the servers of the victims.   

Stuxnet 

The Stuxnet computer worm was first uncovered in 2010. The malware first injects Microsoft Windows machines exploiting zero-day exploit or outdated OS versions; initially it spread over USB flash drives. On the Windows machine it looks for the Siemens Step7 software that controls the Siemens programmable logic controller (PLC). With the Step7 software it then installs itself on the IoT device and takes over control. Stuxnet once targeted Iranian facilities and reportedly severely harmed the Iranian atomic program.  

Silex/Brickerbot 

While Brickerbot was discovered in 2017 and Silex appeared in 2019, they have a common attack pattern. Like Mirai, the software scans the public internet and tries to log in to the IoT device with default and weak login and password combinations. After infection, the software overwrites all data and deletes the network configuration, which makes the IoT device unusable, unless someone can physically get a hand on the device. 

Countermeasures to Guard Against Attacks

As seen in the Stuxnet attack, IoT devices in the same network as other machines can be impacted by the vulnerabilities of those other machines. To avoid this, using a dedicated network infrastructure is recommended, instead of using shared LAN or Wi-Fi networks. Alternatively, using cellular communication that separates the communication of the different machines is also preferred.   

The Mirai and Silex / Brickerbot malware show the value of having random and unique log-in credentials for the different devices – this could have prevented the above-mentioned attack. While the devices allowed for remote access by their owners, the access was granted via the unsecured public internet. A more secure way to get remote access to IoT devices is to use IPSec or Intra-Cloud Connect, avoiding the exposure of public Internet.

One way to prevent attempts to steal remote access to IoT devices, as well as completely block attacks, is to use a cellular firewall. With a cellular firewall, devices are only permitted to communicate with a defined subset of IP addresses. The firewall itself is not located on the individual devices, rather on the cellular connection – out of the attacker’s control. 

Key Takeaway: Security First

While the excitement surrounding the brimming potential of IoT connectivity is understandable–and warranted–overlooking IoT device security can prove catastrophic. A robustly secured IoT solution is one that can safely scale globally, enable groundbreaking solutions, and last for years to come.

Originally published by
EMnify -| iot for all

 
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Huawei eyes IoT role for HarmonyOS

Huawei turned its attention to the IoT opportunity as a way to bolster its HarmonyOS play, by targeting what it said were gaps in current device connectivity.

In a briefing, Wang Chenglu, president of the software unit at Huawei’s Consumer Business Group, said the company believed current approaches lack coherency, with this lack of seamless user experience hindering IoT uptake.

 

Huawei is working to ensure “the mutual connectivity, communication and integration of IoT devices in a convenient way”, he explained. It introduced a feature named Distributed Technology to its Android-based EMUI 10.1 interface to allow different devices to be combined.

Wang added the current smartphone industry had already established “a very rich ecosystem” and expressed hope developers could fully leverage it and use existing assets to cover more IoT devices with minimum cost.

As a target for HarmonyOS, Wang outlined providision of a set of software which can be flexibly deployed across multiple IoT modules instead of having different operating systems for different devices.

The company aimed to make HarmonyOS able to support a variety of devices and equipment, including car telematics systems, smartwatches, wristbands, earphones and robots.

Originally posted by
Yanitsa Boyadzhieva | August 4, 2020
Mobile World Live

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Silver Level Contributor

Illustration: © IoT For All

Despite looking identical on the outside, the features and functionality offered by regular SIM cards for smartphones differ vastly compared to IoT SIM cards, and using a made-for-enterprise SIM can save your business a lot of time and money.

The key difference lies in functionality and manageability – a regular smartphone SIM card just provides connectivity and doesn’t include the additional functionality offered by IoT connectivity providers. These enterprise-oriented functions are precisely what makes it simpler to scale your business. 

Coverage, Cost and Contracts 

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Regular smartphone SIMs have contract terms that are bound to one local network, with differing terms and rates across foreign networks. This has several implications for businesses, which include: 

  • Tedious sourcing and managing of different connectivity providers on a per-country basis, with their respective contracts and bills. 
  • Complex inventory logistics to ensure devices are shipped with the right SIM to the right destination. 
  • High roaming charges that apply when devices are deployed in different countries or move across borders. 
  • Rigid terms predetermined by network operators (including contract periods, usage volume, pricing and packages, and billing periods). Changing contract terms, depending on the aspect, can be difficult or outright impossible. 

This is when IoT SIMs come into the picture with enterprise-focused features and operators behind them. Unlike regular smartphone SIMs that are hard to manage at scale, expensive and complex to deploy across many regions, and come with inflexible terms, IoT SIMs are the opposite and open up possibilities such as: 

  • Contract terms that accommodate your specific business needs (such as usage volume, billing date, and more). 
  • Flexibility to pause, resume and cancel a SIM card subscription, as well as ability to change terms associated with it. 
  • Availability of pay-as-you-go tariffs for additional pricing flexibility. 
  • A single SIM allows access to multiple local networks. This gives better coverage within the country since the SIM can now switch between networks, prioritizing the best available one. 

The ideal network operator of the IoT SIMs would also have arrangements in place for pricing across countries and networks, eliminating the need for using and switching between multiple SIM cards. 

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Originally published by
EMnify | July 30, 2020
IoT For All

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Gold Level Contributor

6 Do's and Don'ts of Developing IoT Products

Illustration: © IoT For All

IoT joins AI and blockchain as one of the most exciting technologies of the last twenty years. Add this to the buzz around 5G and it’s looking like IoT is about to experience a surge in practicality and popularity. As a result, more and more companies are rushing their IoT products to market, eager to ride the wave without necessarily putting that much care into their IoT product development. No matter what area of IoT you’re looking at, here are a few general Do’s and Don’ts to guide your product development process. 

Don’t: Fixate on cost

Expenses are an important factor in any development scenario, especially as far as managers and stakeholders are concerned, so it’s only natural for it to form part of your decision-making process. However, fixating too much on the cost of your system and optimizing too early can distract you from the actual work of product development and delay construction. Over 50% of IoT projects actually fail at this conceptual stage, according to AVSystem.

Do: Push for prototypes

One way to satisfy cost-conscious management but not sacrifice your development time is to focus on releasing prototypes early on. Developing minimum viable models of your intended products helps you forecast the future of their development much better. A working prototype will tell you what’s easy or difficult to build and how much actual production might cost, plus you can show it to customers for early-stage feedback that can really help your development process.

Oren Ezra of Seebo writes, “Prototypes can be used to test behaviors, software and firmware interactions in advance, that will affect the final smart product. For example, they can help to identify possible conflict areas of the product related to the operation of a microphone, speaker, and location of the Bluetooth antenna.”

Do: Use a platform

IoT platforms give you a head start in building an IoT system, but if you’re serious about your products you will probably need to write your own system software. There’s nothing inherently wrong with IoT platforms, they are great for solving particular problems and giving guidance and a framework for your products. 

But, like any off-the-shelf software, they are limited in their broadness. an IoT system that can exist happily on an existing IoT platform is could be too basic and not innovative enough to make waves in the market for some businesses. Writing your own platform allows you to be truly creative with how you set up your IoT system.

If your business is much too busy to develop it’s own platform, make sure you know what you’re looking for in a platform you purchase. Some are scalable, whereas others are more customizable, or secure.

Don’t: Underestimate manufacturing

Often IoT developers get so wrapped up in the intellectual and theoretical part of product design they forget to give proper thought to the actual manufacturing process. Designing and making products that physically work takes trial and error and particular expertise and may require special certifications, all of which often costs time and money. You need to consider manufacturing alongside your development and customer testing stage.

If possible, get into contact with the manufacturers during your product’s development. Ask them about the specifications they recommend for such a product, and whether some features would be feasible.

Do: Use cellular technologies for connectivity

This one is actually a Don’t disguised as a Do: Don’t use Wifi. It’s a simple factor of knowing your audience. While many of your customers will likely expect to be able to connect to your products via WiFi, most companies are not friendly to unknown IoT devices connecting to their networks. As a result, you’re much better off looking at cellular connective technologies like LPWA or LTE-M1, which are low cost and work well with battery-powered devices.

Cellular technologies tend to use less energy, and have already been used for years in the market research shopping scanner devices of companies like Kantar.

Don’t: Assume you know everything

No matter how large your team, no matter how experienced they are, don’t fall into the trap that you don’t have anything to learn. IoT is a complex and ever-evolving field with strands of expertise that spread from marketing to manufacturing and a hundred places in between. In short: it’s very difficult for a team to be consistent IoT experts, and almost impossible for one individual to be. Remember to be humble enough to accept you could learn more. Actively seek out areas you and your team are not confident in and look for training to improve. 

However, don’t let this dishearten you. While you may not be experts in IoT, you are all experts on your own company and products. When it comes to development that’s what really matters, both during product creation and marketing. Focus on how your vision and mission are embodied in your products and the details will fall naturally into place.

Originally published by
IoT for all| July 27, 2020

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