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Internet of Things

Next-generation IoT security

Applications and use cases include utility, military, financial, and end-user interoperability.

IOT has new protocol stacks that help device manufacturers create and cooperate. This includes:

MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport), CoAP, AMQP, DDS, HTTP, WebSocket, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

Challenges of Blockchain with IoT

CoAP works like HTTP with minimal overhead and multicasting. Due to application overhead and processing requirements, native HTTP won’t operate on IOT devices.

Data Distribution Service (DDS), like CoAp, provides the application layer for embedded systems to communicate with IOT devices. This protocol is for low-power devices.

What is the next generation IOT security framework?

How does blockchain affect the privacy and security of IoT?

Is an IOT device the new endpoint for the enterprise?

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Articles Autonomous Vehicles Technology Internet of Things

Internet of Things Enhancing the next generation, Future of Transportation

By definition, “Internet of things” is the concept of devices connected by a series of protocols in order provide greater interoperation, capacity, and sense of self-automation combined with artificial intelligence in order simplify daily workstream processes. While this concept seems complex, the “Internet of things” is actually a very simple workstream.

 

Vision

 

Having actual real time data from active sensors feeding into artificial intelligence engines is the future of energy efficiency and better safety transportation. Having the car make quick adjustments to the drive path to avoid an accident or a possibly having an IOT sensor continuous adjust the airflow to keep the car cooler to conserve battery power is closer to near term than most people realize. Tesla’s (Tesla) self-driving feature continues to make headlines as the next up and coming feature that will help drive greater connection between the car and the IOT sensors deployed through the cities and highways. Blackberry (Blackberry QNX) through their autonomous car division in Canada developed an operating system that connects all 452 IP enabled sensors inside the car. By using their QNX operation system, these sensors can communicate with traffic lights, sense when another car is nearby or if the driver has a medical emergency, the vehicle will be smart enough to notify and proceed to the nearest hospital. These are all becoming acceptable use cases for IOT.

Internet of things transportationWill autonomous cars and other forms of transportation work without an IOT strategy? The challenge is not the lack of vision for IOT, the major issue is the lack centralized engineering standards and protocols. For an autonomous car to communicate with remote IOT sensors like stop lights, each sensor within the car will need to continued need to be operational and with the most updated software firm to insure predictable operations. The revolution of “Over the Air” software updates in real time became mainstream with the cell phone manufacturers like Samsung (Samsung OTA) and Apple. With the car hosting so many IOT sensors, how would the car be able to keep up with the constant change in firmware and security patches? Blackberry along with competing solutions from Toyota and other car manufactures place a huge reverence of the core real-time operating systems to receive the various firmware’s and apply the various patches in a flow and staggered fashion. As an example, when a car comes to a complete stop, the real time operating system could begin to apply secondary patches to the various “idol” sensors in the car. Once the car begins to move, the updates will either complete or enter a pause state.

 

Alignment to the “Smart City” Internet  Of Things Strategy

Many cities around the world continue to evolve their infrastructures to include smart power plans, smart transportation, and industrial 4.0 factories. These IP enabled systems combined with a robust 5G infrastructure, slowly becoming the new normal in urban development. Having a greater “interconnection” between the infrastructure and consumption layers within society not only will develop a much cleaning method of energy consumption, this new “smart” thinking is a behind the need for a greater efficiency in the infrastructure itself. By using self-driving autonomous cars, cities can now offer self-driving cars as a service for those that cannot afford transporting by having a series of vehicles circling the city limited assisting many that need to get somewhere quickly. These IOT powered cars will connected through a series of control sensor, traffic cameras, and updated real road conditions while also providing value consumption data based on usage of the service. Currently today in North America, the “ The battery-powered Xcelsior (New Flyer Bus) AV from New Flyer” is currently being used in Connecticut to provide driver-less transportation services.

Companies like Advantech (Advantech IOT) in Taiwan and Qualcomm (Qualcomm IOT) in San Diego California are examples of industry thought leaders in developing IOT sensors and devices for the “Smart City” evolution. Several more companies like Google, Amazon, and Cisco Systems also continue to drive innovation and IOT standards. IOT as an industry is driving several eco-system partners helping to develop security standards, better use of a “over the air firmware” deployment, and cloud-based applications to analyze the data in real time for faster and more efficient solutions. The future of IOT is a lesson in continued change, agile development, and a true collaboration of cities, states, and nations to connect the world to make a different in how we live together.

The Internet of Things is just one of the markets NextGen excels at, please have a look at all the markets we specialize in.

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Articles Internet of Things

Internet of Things Devices with C-LOC Off-Loading Overhead

Internet of things (IOT) devices according to Gartner (Gartner IOT) will reach close to 25 billion activation’s by 2023. Many of these devices will support a wide range of business functions including Real-time inventory updates inside of the retail markets along with a continued platform adjustment to a global supply work-stream. IOT itself as a strategy exists primarily as a result next generation sensor and cloud-based application platforms. The devices ranging from sensors within the home to a fully robotic factory in Vietnam relying on the several elements to work in tandem including IP transport layer, access to the closest Cloud platform for computation of analytic information through artificial intelligence.

The devices are built for most part to be very light weight, small firmware footprint, and reliable. These sensors built by Advantech in Taiwan, Qualcomm in San Diego, and Cisco Systems are designed to operate in various environments, low compute resources, and with a sustainable battery. When software engineers design the firmware for IOT sensors, they account for computing, battery usage, and environmental conditions. The develops also need to account for future proofing of the device. IOT is a constant changing marketplace. As more businesses in retail and industrial 4.0 factories continue to find ways to leverage IOT, the demand on the sensors becomes even more challenging.

Internet of Things – The Evolution of the C-LOC

Cloud based location over cellular is a much-needed added element of the IOT landscape. Prior to developers and companies leveraging these services, the burden of computing location fell squarely on the device itself. The sensor using 4G, 5G, or LTE cellular services will use these IP based communication transport to signal the location of the device to a centralized data collection point like Amazon IOT or Advantech – IPAAS cloud platform. The continued updating of the location of the sensor proved to be a battery drain on the device. By moving the overhead of the location computing off the sensor and relying more on a cloud-based location services, this reduced the overall battery consumption while extending the life of the sensor.

Reducing Overhead

IOT sensors deployed today for retail and automated factories need to execute several computations on the device itself. Each workload including firmware updates, location-based services via GPS, and transmitting critical system log data places a strain both on the battery source. IOT companies continue to innovate ways to reduce the need for these services to be executed on the device itself to save on battery resources and overall sensor digression. One area that has made a great impact on the sensory is leveraging C-LOC or better known as cloud-based location over cellular.

Where does C-LOC Make Sense

Like other technology strategies when it comes to C-LOC, “one size does not fit all”. IOT transcends some many different markets and use cases including iRetail and factory automation within industrial 4.0. Each of the use cases have different location services requirements that could leverage C-LOC capabilities.

Retail

Retail early on became an early adopter of IOT partial due to change in the market landscape and costs. Many retail outlets including Tiffany’s, PETCO, Walmart, and Costco leverage IOT in a variety of ways.

• 77 percent of retailers see that Internet of Things changes the customer experience. (IOT Retail study)
• 89 percent of early movers in retail gain increased insight into customer preferences and behaviors from the Internet of Things. (IOT Retail Study)
• 77 percent of early movers in the Internet of Things in retail create opportunities to better collaborate with (new) partners in delivering products and services to customers. (IOT Retail Study)

Everything from the IP enabled security cameras, digital signage, RFID tagging, badge readers, to real-time update on inventory and goods in transit. The actual deployment of the IOT sensor could be a fixed device with real-time location updates or a static label with a shelve life of 24 hours. In the retail space, many of the sensors will be stationary for an extended period. The device may not need to communicate in real time the location of the device. In many cases, the device will only need to communicate location information on a per quarterly or yearly basis. However, the sensors that are constantly in motion including mobile scanners, high end retail products and inventory receiving bins, these devices absolutely could leverage the C-LOC functionality. By off-loading the location computation, these active sensors will be able to in service much longer while saving the battery life for other firmware applications needs including security controls or authentication.

Industrial 4.0

As more global factories become inter-connected, the need for IOT sensors to support plant operations has become critical. Within the industrial 4.0 framework, the deployment of robotics to handle vase amounts of production work is critical to overall profitability of the organization itself. Yes, with humans being replaced with machines is nothing new, the data coming off the robotic systems helps organizations maximize their investment in the factory by sending these data streams to the cloud-based platforms like Amazon IOT and Microsoft Azure to process the information through artificial intelligence. The AI engines can proceed vase amounts of data quickly, giving the organizations time sensitive feedback to make needed corrections to their production workflows. The need to have updated and real-time location of the IOT sensors is critical to the success of the production site. Without C-LOC services, these robotic IOT sensors will be expiring the battery as a rapid rate, requiring frequent replacement of the devices. If you’d like to discuss your hiring needs in the IoT market or any of the other’s we service, please reach out.

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Articles Internet of Things

Internet of Things – Future of Transportation – Enhancing the next generation

By definition, “Internet of things” is the concept of devices connected by a series of protocols in order provide greater inter operation, capacity, and sense of self-automation combined with artificial intelligence in order simplify daily work-stream processes. While this concept seems complex, the “Internet of things” is actually a very simple work-stream.

Vision

Internet of things transportationHaving actual real time data from active sensors feeding into artificial intelligence engines is the future of energy efficiency and better safety transportation. Having the car make quick adjustments to the drive path to avoid an accident or a possibly having an IOT (Internet of things) sensor continuous adjust the airflow to keep the car cooler to conserve battery power is closer to near term than most people realize. Tesla’s (Tesla) self-driving feature continues to make headlines as the next up and coming feature that will help drive greater connection between the car and the IOT sensors deployed through the cities and highways. Blackberry (Blackberry QNX) through their autonomous car division in Canada developed an operating system that connects all 452 IP enabled sensors inside the car. By using their QNX operation system, these sensors can communicate with traffic lights, sense when another car is nearby or if the driver has a medical emergency, the vehicle will be smart enough to notify and proceed to the nearest hospital. These are all becoming acceptable use cases for IOT.

Will autonomous cars and other forms of transportation work without an Internet of things strategy? The challenge is not the lack of vision for IOT, the major issue is the lack centralized engineering standards and protocols. For an autonomous car to communicate with remote IOT sensors like stop lights, each sensor within the car will need to continued need to be operational and with the most updated software firm to insure predictable operations. The revolution of “Over the Air” software updates in real time became mainstream with the cell phone manufacturers like Samsung (Samsung OTA) and Apple. With the car hosting so many IOT sensors, how would the car be able to keep up with the constant change in firmware and security patches? Blackberry along with competing solutions from Toyota and other car manufactures place a huge reverence of the core real-time operating systems to receive the various firmware’s and apply the various patches in a flow and staggered fashion. As an example, when a car comes to a complete stop, the real time operating system could begin to apply secondary patches to the various “idol” sensors in the car. Once the car begins to move, the updates will either complete or enter a pause state.

Alignment to the “Smart City” Internet of things Strategy

Many cities around the world continue to evolve their infrastructures to include smart power plans, smart transportation, and industrial 4.0 factories. These IP enabled systems combined with a robust 5G infrastructure, slowly becoming the new normal in urban development. Having a greater “interconnection” between the infrastructure and consumption layers within society not only will develop a much cleaning method of energy consumption, this new “smart” thinking is a behind the need for a greater efficiency in the infrastructure itself. By using self-driving autonomous cars, cities can now offer self-driving cars as a service for those that cannot afford transporting by having a series of vehicles circling the city limited assisting many that need to get somewhere quickly. These IOT powered cars will connected through a series of control sensor, traffic cameras, and updated real road conditions while also providing value consumption data based on usage of the service. Currently today in North America, the “ The battery-powered Xcelsior (New Flyer Bus) AV from New Flyer” is currently being used in Connecticut to provide driver-less transportation services.

Companies like Advantech (Advantech IOT) in Taiwan and Qualcomm (Qualcomm IOT) in San Diego California are examples of industry thought leaders in developing IOT sensors and devices for the “Smart City” evolution. Several more companies like Google, Amazon, and Cisco Systems also continue to drive innovation and IOT standards. IOT as an industry is driving several eco-system partners helping to develop security standards, better use of a “over the air firmware” deployment, and cloud-based applications to analyze the data in real time for faster and more efficient solutions. The future of IOT is a lesson in continued change, agile development, and a true collaboration of cities, states, and nations to connect the world to make a different in how we live together.

If you’d like to learn more about NextGen’s experience in placing “A Players” in the IoT market, please reach out to us here.

Categories
Articles Digital Transformation Internet of Things

Customer Experience Reimagined: IoT-Enabled CDP

Customer experience, more precisely online interactions and digital experiences. has been marked by an unprecedented shift due to the recent pandemic.

According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, U.S. e-commerce spending is expected to total between $850 billion and $930 billion this year, reaching $1 trillion in 2022. Research indicates that 72% of all e-commerce transactions will be attributed to mobile in 2021, which is unsurprising given changing consumer behaviors that drive demand for diverse mobile applications. Between 2021 and 2025, the mobile apps market is positioned to increase by $653.91 billion, advancing at a CAGR of nearly 21% throughout the forecast period.

The proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT)-connectivity is further contributing to market growth of mobile applications because IoT data enables various functionalities that can generate consumer-to-brand touchpoints. Organizations are using IoT data as a critical component in personalization and engagement to improve the CX and deliver category-defining mobile experiences.

Globally, connected IoT devices are on track to grow to 30.9 billion units by 2025, which presents a number of opportunities if organizations have the capabilities to effectively harness IoT data and leverage advanced analytics to significantly improve the CX.

Customer data platforms (CDP) enabled with IoT capabilities play a vital role in helping organizations obtain a greater understanding of customer data and behaviors, and the capabilities to leverage that data for personalized, digital-first experiences.

Capitalizing on the Potential of IoT

As more devices and consumer products become connected to the internet, customer expectations of engagement with a business is fundamentally altering. Salesforce research indicates that for 80% of customers, the experiences that a company delivers are as important to them as products and services.

Consider Starbucks, who uses IoT data to create omnichannel experiences that are widely acknowledged as best-in-class. For example, Starbucks has disrupted the loyalty rewards program model by making it possible to reload cards on any channel, and any modifications to a profile or card is updated in real-time throughout all channels. They use IoT data to better understand customer preferences and trends, reduce potential bottlenecks at drive-thru windows, and allow customers to directly trace their coffee source.

Organizations need to capitalize on the CX potential of IoT data via solutions like IoT-enabled CDP. CDP solutions enable first-party data to be collected and unified, providing a cohesive view of the customer. It also eliminates fragmented data and marketing silos by connecting other systems and marketing tools to create a centralized source of truth for customer data.

IoT data, however, is simultaneously a challenge and an opportunity.

IOT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCEOn one hand, IoT generated data is sensitive, which impacts regulatory and compliance protocols. Additionally, IoT data is unstructured, complex, frequently anonymized, streams in real-time, and often must be combined from numerous IoT devices – all of which have implications on the existing infrastructure.

On the other hand, IoT data can provide a powerful competitive edge. CDPs with built-in IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities offer critical advantages via automation, intelligence, segmentation, and prediction that helps maximize the potential of customer data. AI is able to discover patterns in data and analyze information to provide meaningful insights, in addition to performing complex customer segmentation. ML can identify customer segments and continuously self-learn to become smarter over time depending on the training data and models.

IoT-enabled, advanced CDP solutions offer benefits that can fuel a memorable Customer Experience.

Sustainable personalization: Data security and privacy concerns are growing and we’re witnessing the end of third-party cookies. Advanced CDPs with real-time capabilities can help brands provide personalized experiences on the customer’s terms during critical moments.
Augment inter-departmental data: The value of customer data isn’t limited to sales and marketing teams; it’s an enterprise-wide factor in organizational flexibility and transparency. CDPs offer streamlined integration with both external and legacy solutions to further augment existing data from other departments.
Respond to emerging trends: As pressure to extend cohesive omnichannel experiences grows, organizations need the capabilities to instantly respond to fluctuating market trends or conditions. Advanced CDPs can enhance marketing efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and enable more robust agility to respond to constant change.
Tailored marketing content: Brands can eradicate siloed marketing efforts per channel to provide more relevant, innovative marketing and sales content based on unique customer interests, such as product usage tips or interviews with a content creator.

Trends and Developments Shaping the IoT-Driven Customer Experience

Market momentum for CDPs is quickly evolving alongside technological advancement and adoption. In 2018, semiconductor firm ARM Limited acquired enterprise data platform provider, Treasure Data, to advance device-to-data IoT platform development.

Customer communications platform provider Twilio acquired CDP provider Segment for $3.2 billion in 2020 to improve their suite of customer engagement software and enable companies to extend connected CXs that revolve around high-quality data.

These examples demonstrate the market direction of CDP as a catalyst for an enriched CX. According to Gartner, by 2023 70% of independent CDP providers will be acquired by larger marketing technology vendors or will diversify through M&A to enter adjacent categories like multichannel marketing and personalization.

There are so many uses for IoT, in particular when AI and predictive analytics are integrated.  Its not just global conglomerates in healthcare and medical devices. Many startups are building IoMT, aka the Internet of Medical Things, that allow doctors to monitor patients’ well-being remotely such as newest advances in heart monitoring and diabetes management.  And of course there is the IoB aka the Internet of Behaviour that takes into account individual customer trends, location-based services marketing, and uses predictive analytic to discover accurate buying habit.  Still others include IoLT aka the Internet of Logistics Things as in SCM, IoRT aka the Internet of Retail Things, and where DX all started and is evolving with IoWM aka the Internet of Workforce Management.

Future-Facing Customer Experience Programs will be Predictive

Internet of everythingOrganizations today are collecting and integrating IoT data to produce rich customer insights. CX leaders who are looking to future-proof their CX programs are enhancing their data and analytics capabilities and looking to predictive insights to:

● Build more connected customer experiences.
● Pinpoint CX obstacles and opportunities in real-time.
● Understand brand-to-consumer interactions on a deeper level.
● Prioritize customers at risk of churn and offer personalized solutions or compensation to stabilize the relationship.
● Gain a more holistic perspective of customer value potential.

With predictive insights from IoT data, brands can deliver rapid reimbursement for a shipping delay, or extend proactive customer service outreach when a customer is dealing with some issues in resolving a pain point, for example.

Predictive CDP systems provide companies with an opportunity to connect their Customer Experience programs to business value, such as enabling businesses to refine existing solutions that have a direct correlation to customer loyalty and up-sell behaviors.

According to Allen Proithis, CEO of Captone Partners, “Connected solutions are now table stakes for creating leading customer experiences. IoT data is the fuel for Digital Transformation, and the resulting Customer Experience is the destination. The faster that you can use data to fuel your transformation, the more quickly you will arrive at your ultimate customer experience that transforms the business relationship.”

The New Customer Experience Imperative

Marketers simply can’t afford to overlook the massive potential of IoT and other new technologies in their strategic CX initiatives. In a hyperconnected era defined by frictionless, data-driven, digital-first experiences across all channels and touchpoints, it’s either deliver a meaningful customer experience (CX) or become obsolete. To compete based on CX, organizations need to deploy the transformational power of IoT when it comes to their CDP.
If you need expertise utilizing a performance-based retained executive search within IoT, DX, or Customer Experience, check out what NextGen can offer you.

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Articles Internet of Things Wireless Ecosystems

5G & IoT – Three Ways it Transforms Business Opportunities

The combination of 5G connectivity and the prevalent IoT adoption is defining the newest frontier in digital transformation. Upgraded standards in high speed cellular connectivity, low-latency and secure data transformation have captured the attention of business executives, policy makers and consumers alike. Business organizations have embraced digital-first remote-working business operations, where productivity is inherently dependent on the user experience of connected devices.

5g concept of internet connection technologyThe Covid-19 pandemic has also pushed the demand for high speed Internet into overdrive. High-speed connectivity has emerged as a necessity and the promise of fifth-generation is delivering for business use cases that rely on the growing network of IoT technologies and data streaming. Progressive organizations that have embraced the combination of 5G connectivity and IoT technologies generating massive data sets in real-time, at higher velocity and across a growing network of nodes. The result are digital initiatives that promise intelligent, data-driven transformation, new operational workflows and unprecedented new business model innovations.

How are 5G and IoT advancement setting the stage for the next wave of digital transformation?

Here’s what the 10-100x faster data transfer speed and 1ms latency improvements mean from a business and technology perspective:

● Immersive User Experiences: Immersive AR/VR experiences will be a reality for front-line field workers in the traditional industries of manufacturing, healthcare and utilities. These technologies rely on real-time streaming of vast volumes of digital information across geographically disparate locations. Traditional 4G networks lack the bandwidth capacity, data transmission rates and fail to match the low latency requirements of most AR/VR applications.

● Scaling Data-Driven Intelligence: Traditional organizations will scale operations on a global scale as a global consumer market is accessible digitally. Business operations will be data-driven with AI-insights obtained in real-time. The market landscape and user requirements tend to change dynamically and are not always predictable. The same concept extends to the technology infrastructure that powers IT-enabled services to such a global audience. Sensors connected across the infrastructure produce vast volumes of data logs on network performance. This information is critical to proactively identify anomalous network activities such as a cyber-attack or data breach. Timely processing of this information depends on gigabit speed transfer rates of data generated by a large distributed network of connected devices.

● Environmental Sustainability: Enhanced network access of Information and services will reduce travel burden, improve energy efficiency and contribute to sustainability goals. 5G and IoT connectivity has made it possible to deploy smart technologies that not only help generate business revenues but focus specifically on improving environmental sustainability. For instance, distributed sensors monitoring air quality around the city control traffic signals and help route the traffic away from regions with high air pollution built-up. Additionally, more employees being able to work for home can reduce the need to travel and contribute to the air pollution in the first place.

According to a recent Gartner research, 5G technologies are expected to reach 21.3% of the total wireless infrastructure. Both the Internet consumers and business organizations will emerge as the power users of 5G and IoT technologies, unlocking the true economic value in the realms of a digitally transformed business landscape. Charles is a leading expert in the 5G & IoT industry, reach out to find your next “A Player” today.

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Aerospace - Aviation Articles Internet of Things

IoT – Making a Case in Aviation Application

The use of IoT technology allows different types of sensor to monitor, locate, and report specific data to centralized servers or be uploaded in the cloud for data analysis. With all the different industries wherein the use of IoT is applicable, the aviation industry presents an excellent economic and technical benefit from this technology.

Airlines and manufacturers that have used IoT have experienced positive results in improving performance and driving down costs. The application of IoT on airlines allows airline personnel and passengers to track the location of their respective baggage.

Manufacturers such as Airbus and Rolls Royce have used the technology to implement a preventive maintenance program by allowing them to monitor the health of the aircraft and engine in real time, this capability also gives engineers a lead time to analyze the transmitted data and prepare for the corrective action even before the aircraft arrive.

IoT-Aviation-Application

With the prevailing trend of autonomy in transportation, it is only fitting that companies would look into further developing this technology that would allow a lean and effective oversight on all branches of operations both on the ground and in flight. If you would like to know more about this subject or are currently interested in finding an “A Player” in this industry, get in touch with Craig now.

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Articles Cyber Security Internet of Things

IoT Medical Devices Cyber Security – Diagnosis and Dispensing

Now that we are fully engrossed in the cyber age, there are rapid advances across the board for all things connected to the Internet and IoT medical devices cyber security is no exception.  These devices, often called “The Internet of Things,” or IoT, has certainly made much of life much easier. For the medical profession, it has certainly become a simple, safe and easy way to monitor patients away from a clinical setting.

This is all fine and good, but there is a fundamental question of IoT that needs answering: Are these safe and secure when away from a closed environment? This article is going to address the issues home devices face and possible ways to prevent cyber attacks and/or hacking.

Dispensing for IoT Medical Devices Cyber Security

The number one concern of healthcare professionals looking at and addressing potential problems is the HIPAA. This protection act of 1996 means patients under the care of physicians have a reasonable expectation of privacy and are protected under a patient/medical professional relationship. IoT’s are free from human intervention by and large.

This means the patient carrying the device is completely removed from interacting with it on any level. Most of the IoT medical devices are used strictly for monitoring, data collection and medical dispensing. They are passive because the medical professionals are looking for a true a baseline as possible and is only effective when the patient is at ease with or completely unaware of the device. This lack of concern in cyber security for medical devices is the problem.

ISSUES AT STAKE

The information transmitted, no matter how insignificant at the time, could be used to gain identity information. The IoT’s are often coded to the patient with a name, number and medical coding information. All that would be needed is access to the information on the device, and personal, private information is available. This includes social security numbers, medical information and possible fiscal information to boot. This compromised information is enough to wreak havoc on a medical practice, hospital or medical equipment distributor – if not all of them in conjunction – all because of a HIPAA violation.

Solutions for IoT Medical Devices Cyber Security

While computers have software to keep them from attacks, these medical devices do not. There is scant little that can be done if malfeasance is intended. A skilled and determined computer hacking specialist with the understanding of IoT’s can quickly and easily undermine its basics. Doing so would cause serious issue with the medical professional monitoring the patient and for the patient, who could, as a result, receive incorrect treatments and/or medications. Unable to track the information back to a source, this could potentially open a flood of medical malpractice suits, and there would be little the medical professional could provide as a substantial defense.

POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

Medical administration in conjunction with information teams and network security specialists should realize there needs to be a move from the “Internet of Things” to “Security of Things” to protect themselves, their practices and patients from hacking. There are a few things that could be considered.

DATA ENCRYPTION

Safe and secure encryption should be on the forefront. As more and more medical practices move from paper to online and cloud patient records, the same can be said for IoT’s. Signed contracts with network encryption professionals about software and the devices themselves should be a first step. Each contract to include audits, verifications and regular testing to ensure the validity and security of the data on the IoT.

​​​​​AUTHORIZED DEVICES

​A Holter monitor is one of these IoT’s. Its purpose is to collect a 24 hour EKG for cardiac patients in various settings for the best possible heart function in normal settings. The contract should provide for each device to collect only the necessary information and nothing more. Systems that download, read or output the information is additionally a part of the contract.

To address needed IoT medical devices cyber security, the device should be built in a such a way that any tampering of any sort is quickly noticed and/or built in such a way that the device immediately informs the medical professionals. Patient contracts protecting the device is also a sound idea.

The physical security of the device itself also should not be overlooked. The device should be configured to prevent data storage media from being accessed or removed, and the device itself should not be easily disassembled. In short, building a strong security to protect data during transmission is undercut if the data can be removed from the device itself.

CREDENTIALS

No one but a medical professional can dispense medical advice, so only those who will be reading the results need access to the data contained thereon. All information should only be retrieved under a secure server under select passwords. Focusing on cyber security for IoT medical devices, only the absolutely necessary individuals outside of those interpreting the data need access to any element of the entire procedure.

PERSONNEL

diagnosis-dispensing-IoT-medical-devices-cyber-securityProper training for every step only makes sense. All medical professionals are bound under an ethics code with severe penalties for infringement. There have not yet been any serious attacks on medical IoT’s.

When will it happen is the question. Ideally, every possible step should be covered; however, there is no guarantee of anything until an attack.

What are your thoughts and opinions on the issue of IoT medical devices cyber security, and what steps in addition to those mentioned would be a necessary part?

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Articles Industrial Automation Internet of Things

Industrial Robotics Cyber Security Challenges in IIoT

The line is blurring between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). As more industrial robotics equipment is connected to the industrial internet of things (IIoT), the vulnerabilities increase. Among the many devices being added to networks are robotic machines. That’s raising red flags for some experts. And it has many people worried. What are the risks associated with connecting an army of robots? It’s the stuff of science fiction.

 

Industrial Robotics Cyber Security Concerns on the Rise

 

The World Robotics Report 2016 gives us some insight into the scope of global automation growth: “The number of industrial robotics deployed worldwide will increase to around 2.6 million units by 2019.” It says that the strongest growth figures are for Central and Eastern Europe. The report cites China as the market for growth, and says that North America is on the path to success. “The USA is currently the fourth largest single market for industrial robots in the world,” according to the report.

TechCrunch contributor Matthew Rendall says “Industrial robotics will replace manufacturing jobs — and that’s a good thing”. He writes that the “productivity growth” behind 85% of job losses is all about machines replacing humans. Luddite and famous poet Lord Byron would not have been pleased. But Rendall is not bothered. He says that “more is getting done” by industrial robotics that are safer and more reliable than human beings.  And he believes that this robotics revolution will be beneficial to workers and society in the long run.

All this rush to automation might be the best thing since jelly doughnuts. But one question could make all the difference between abysmal failure and glorious success:  Can we keep them secure?

Challenge in Industrial Robotics Cyber Security

 

We probably don’t need to worry about robots taking over the world any time soon. (Let’s hope, anyway.) What concerns security experts is that our computer-based friends can be hacked. Wired Magazine reports how one group of researchers was able to sabotage an industrial robotics arm without even touching the code. That’s especially worrying when you think that most industrial robotics have a single arm and nothing else. These devices are made to make precise movements. Hackers can change all that.

Industrial-Robotics-Cyber-Security-300x225German designer Clemens Weisshaar addressed the issue in a form at Vienna Design Week in 2014.  “Taking robots online is as dangerous as anything you can put on the web,” he said. In a video from the forum, Weisshaar talked about how even his company’s robot demonstration in London had been hacked within 24 hours. They even tried to drive his robots into the ground.  “If everything is on the internet,” he said, “then everything is vulnerable to attack.”

Industrial robotics cyber security challenges are only one part of what many are calling Industry 4.0. It’s a trending concept — especially in Germany — and it’s another way of referring to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To understand what this is about, we should first reach back in the dim recesses of our minds to what we learned in history class in school.

The Industrial Revolution, as it was originally called, took place in the 18th and 19th centuries. It started in Great Britain and involved the harnessing of steam and tremendous advances in production methods – the 1st.  Next came the 2nd roughly from 1870 until World War I in the USA. This involved the use of electricity to develop mass production processes. Th 3rd brought us into the digital age. Part four is upon us now.

A video from Deloitte University Press introduces us to the Fourth Industrial Revolution — Industry 4.0. It gives a good summary of the four “revolutions”, and it talks about some of the new technologies that now define our age:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Machine Learning
  • Augmented Reality
  • Mobile and Edge Computing
  • 3D Printing
  • Big Data Processing

“These technologies,” says the narrator, “will enable the construction of new solutions to some of the oldest and toughest challenges manufacturers face in growing and operating their business.” They also make up the environment in which hackers flourish.

Industrial Robots Cyber Security Challenges for IoT

 

In this space we have already discussed the security vulnerabilities of IoT devices. We told you how white hat hackers proved that they could commandeer a Jeep Cherokee remotely by rewriting the firmware on an embedded chip. Imagine what hackers with more sinister motives might be planning for the millions of robotic devices taking over the manufacturing shop floor — supposing they are all connected.

Some researchers tackled the issue in a study called “Hacking Robots Before Skynet”. (You will remember from your science fiction watching that Skynet is the global network that linked robots and other computerized devices in the Terminator movie franchise.) The authors had a lot to say about the current state of cybersecurity in the industrial robotics industry.  We can borrow directly from the paper’s table of contents to list what they call “Cybersecurity Problems in Today’s Robots”:

  • Insecure communications
  • Authentication issues
  • Missing authorization
  • Weak cryptography
  • Privacy issues
  • Weak default configuration
  • Vulnerable Open Source Industrial Robotics cyber security Frameworks and Libraries

Each of these topics could probably merit a full article on its own. The researchers explained further: “We’re already experiencing some of the consequences of substantial cybersecurity problems with Internet of Things (IoT) devices that are impacting the Internet, companies and commerce, and individual consumers alike,  Cybersecurity problems for industrial robotics could have a much greater impact.”

What might that impact be? Well, to start with, robots have moving parts. They tell how a robot security guard knocked over a child at a shopping mall. A robot cannon killed nine soldiers and injured 14 in 2007. And robotic surgery has been linked to 144 deaths. It’s not Skynet yet, but connecting robots has its risks.

How we communicate with machines and how they communicate with each other are matters that require significant attention. Arlen Nipper of Cirrus Link Solutions talks about MQTT, which is a protocol for machine-to-machine (M2M) messaging. Manufacturing designers and operators send instructions to one-armed industrial robotics, who work in a variety of industries from automotive to aerospace to agriculture to packing and logistics. All this talking back-and-forth with industrial robotics cyber security has to be regulated. NIST’s Guide to Industrial Control Systems (ICS) Security has a few references to robots. But maybe not enough.

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Articles Internet of Things

IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare

IoT medical devices transforming healthcare by changing every aspect of our social and professional lives as billions of pervasive devices enable the acquisition of timely and accurate information about our personal context, the data gathering transforms what doctors can do with actionable knowledge.

The healthcare sector provides an excellent example of the way in which the future billions of IoT devices will introduce disruptive transformation and new paradigms. In an era where population is aging and incidents of chronic diseases are proliferating, healthcare solution providers are increasingly looking into internet connected devices for remote monitoring of elderly and patients’ conditions.

This remote monitoring facilitates preemptive medical interventions, while at the same time increasing the patients’ independence, reducing hospitalization needs and alleviating pressures on the healthcare system. One of the most prominent classes of IoT Medical Devices transforming healthcare today is wearable devices, which are personalized and provide rich and real-time information about an individual’s healthcare related context, such as heart rates, activity patterns, blood pressure or adherence to medication schedules.

Wearable devices play an instrumental role in monitoring patients’ diseases and recovery state, as well as adherence to prescribed practices and medication. A large number of relevant wearable devices are already available in the market such as activity trackers, smartwatches (e.g., Apple or Garmin Watches), pedometers, sleep apnea detector and smart pills (e.g., AdhereTech’s smart wireless pill bottle).

Implant IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare

 

A less widely known class of wearable IoT medical devices transforming healthcare are implant devices, i.e. devices that are placed inside or on the surface of the human body. The concept of such devices has been around for several years prior to the rise of the IoT paradigm, as prosthetics that were destined to replace missing body parts or even to provide support to organs and tissues.

Therefore, implants were typically made from skin, bone and other body tissues, or from materials (e.g., metal, plastic or ceramic materials). While the distinguishing line between conventional IoT medical devices and wearable / implant devices can sometimes be blurred, we consider as implant medical devices those attached to the skin or placed inside the human body, instead of devices simply worn by the patient.

Impressive examples of implant devices are: (i) Brain implant devices (i.e. electrodes along with a battery empowered devices) used to manipulate the brain and alleviate chronic pain, depression or even schizophrenia; (ii) Electronic chips implanted at the back of the retina in the eye, in order to help sight restoration.

With the advent of IoT medical devices transforming healthcare, implant devices can also become connected and deliver information to cloud computing infrastructures and other applications. In this way, they can become part of the IoT infrastructure and enable the transmission of medical data from the patient to the practitioner on a regular basis. Moreover, with IoT implants patients no longer need to visit their doctor in order download data from their device or even in order to configure the operation of the implant device.

For example, by enhancing devices such as the electronic chip for vision restoration (outlined above) with a small handheld wireless power supply, one can adjust the sensitivity, contrast and frequency as needed in order to yield optimal performance of the device for different environmental settings (e.g., lighting conditions).

Risks with IoT Medical Devices Transforming Healthcare

 

Despite their benefits, the adoption of implant IoT medical devices is still in its infancy. One of the main reasons is that the development and deployment of implants is associated with several challenges and risks.  In particular, implants are associated with surgical risks concerning their placement and removal processes. Although generally safe, these processes could lead to infections or even implant failures, which makes patients reluctant to adopt them. Moreover, several patients have reported allergies and reactions to the materials comprising the implant devices.

Beyond these adoption challenges, there are also IoT technological challenges associated with the need to understand and optimize the placement and operation of the device. For example, there is a need to optimize radio communications between the implanted device and the receiving devices where the information of the implant is destined. In this respect, low power operation is very important as a result of the need to economize on power capacity, while at the same time complying with applicable laws and regulations, including security and safety regulations.

IoT-Medical-Devices-Transforming-HealthcareFrom a technology viewpoint, implant solutions have to resolve trade-offs associated with efficiency and accuracy against antenna size, power use, operating bandwidth and materials costs. Moreover, implant devices should be appropriate for various body and skin morphologies, while at the same time offering security and data protection features that render them immune to malicious parties that may attempt to compromise their operation.

The above-listed factors render the design of cost-effective implants that adhere to regulations and optimize their operation very challenging. In order to alleviate these challenges, vendors and integrators of IoT implants resort to simulation. Simulation is an ideal tool for modelling the operation of the device and understanding its communication with the body and other devices of the surrounding environment such as gateways or even other implant devices.

Furthermore, vendors are implementing services that aim at increasing the operational efficiency of the devices, such as preventive or predictive maintenance of the device, as well as remote diagnostics and software upgrades (e.g., remote patching). The last batch of challenges concerns the important business issues with IoT medical devices transforming healthcare, especially implants, which are not confined to selling devices.

Rather, it is about innovating digitally and offering a whole range of services as part of the device’s industry ecosystem. Specifically, vendors and integrators of IoT implants need to find novel ways and business models for sharing their data with healthcare services providers and other stakeholders, while at the same time creating new value chains in collaboration with other device vendors, health professionals, home care services providers and other business actors.

The evolution of IoT medical devices transforming healthcare with implants will gradually signal a shift from the offering of an optimal IoT device to the offering of a pool of optimized and personalized healthcare services that will be built by the device’s industry ecosystem. Implant IoT medical devices are here and expected to play a significant role in the on-going IoT-driven transformation of the healthcare landscape. Stay tuned!.

Charles Moore

Charles Moore

DX / CX / CDP IoT & 5G Wireless
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