The Internet of Things (IoT) promises a future where everything is online. But today, a lack of standards makes it difficult to connect. To learn how developers can solve this problem, I spoke with Ido Sarig, Vice President and General of IoT Solutions Group at Wind River, an Associate member of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance (Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance).
Below are key excerpts from my interview. For more on this topic, see my interviews with Kontron and McAfee.
What are the biggest challenges to deploying IoT solutions?
We summarize the biggest IoT deployment challenges into three categories, connectivity, manageability and security. Today, much of the industry’s effort is focused on connecting legacy or “brownfield” devices that were not designed to be connected and even designed to make connectivity difficult in order to protect them from network-borne threats. Developers must figure out not only how to connect brownfield devices but how to safely connect them. Security is arguably the overriding issue in the IoT, inseparable from performance and reliability. The number of network-based attacks on embedded devices that control critical infrastructure is increasing at an alarming rate, as is the attacks’ sophistication.
Another challenge is the lack of a single standard for connecting to networks. Many brownfield devices use proprietary protocols and will require gateways to connect with IP-based networks. And if they are already IP-based, they may be using a wide variety of protocols. Developers will need to be able to build gateways that support virtually any communication protocol.
The next challenge is how to manage the device remotely over time. The device needs to be provisioned securely with software updates as they become available. When a device is not performing properly, users need to be alerted and be able to diagnose the problems remotely without the risk of disruption or downtime.
How can developers address these issues? In particular, how do standards and multi-vendor solutions help?
Delivering secure and reliable IoT solutions requires an end-to-end view that encompasses the endpoint device, the connectivity layer, the gateway, and the application running in the cloud. For example, security challenges need to be factored in at every level. Virtually every known type of hardware and software security measure comes into play in IoT. Secure booting at the device level, access control and authentication, application whitelisting, and firewalls and intrusion prevention systems are just some of the tools at hand to respond to security threats.
The benefits of the IoT have been thus far constrained by the complexity of issues like this. As standards coalesce, market needs and business cases become more sharply defined, and operators and device manufacturers are freed to focus on the true value they can deliver: innovative new services and applications.
What role do you see for standards bodies like the new Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)?
Organizations such as the IIC bring together expertise and the tools to bring smart connectivity, high security, and manageability to the market. These consortia will help expedite the realization of the IoT through specialized skills and expertise required to build intelligent devices which typically reside outside the core competency of operators and device manufacturers.
What role do you see for ecosystems like the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance?
In order to reach its full potential, the Internet of Things requires a robust and collaborative ecosystem to be in place. Ecosystems like the Intel IoT Solutions Alliance bring together the hardware, software, firmware, tools, and systems integration players that are all necessary to advance the IoT.
How you are using standards and ecosystem collaboration to create IoT solutions?
The IoT market is fragmented and this fragmentation stifles widespread adoption. Many different vertical industries are creating applications that tend to have little overlap, making it difficult to scale IoT solutions. There are also complexity and customization requirements. The technologies involved in creating intelligent systems are extremely broad and complex. Most solutions do not provide a seamless end-to-end experience between the business backbone and the system or device domain, and thus must be customized to some degree.
Standards in technology or application deployment are evolving slowly. Much development is taking place in isolation. The core components of IoT architectures have often been implemented in an ad-hoc fashion, using multiple competing standards in development and deployment. Few operators or device manufacturers can create IoT-based solutions without significant assistance from partners, who may as yet be outside of their current ecosystem.
As part of Intel IoT Group, Wind River is collaborating with Intel on IoT solutions like the Intel® Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things (Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT), which includes Wind River* Intelligent Device Platform XT. Based on our industry-leading operating systems and development tools, Wind River Intelligent Device Platform XT serves as the software backbone for intelligent gateways. It is a complete software development environment that provides pre-integrated and fully tested ready-to-use components to secure, manage, and connect intelligent gateways. Earlier this year, we also introduced the next-generation version of our Wind River* VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS), re-architected into a modular and scalable platform to address the new market opportunities created by the IoT. VxWorks is the first major commercial RTOS to be enabled on the Intel® QuarkTM SoC X1000.
Contact featured member:
Solutions in this blog:
Wind River Systems is an Associate member of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance.
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance
Editor-In-Chief, Embedded Innovator magazine
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