The Layers of IoT

2018-07-16T17:19:14+00:00

The adoption of new technologies is on the rise and this is especially true for IoT. The Internet of Things (IoT) is defined as a paradigm in which objects equipped with sensors, actuators, and processors communicate with each other to serve a meaningful purpose.

According to McKinsey—an American worldwide management consulting firm, the economic value generated by IoT could reach $11.1 trillion a year by 2025. This indicates that companies can gain a lot by implementing IoT. However, for successful IoT implementation, understanding the IoT architecture is imperative and crucial part of this architecture are the IoT layers.

The Layers of the IoT Architecture
Conventional IoT architecture is considered to have three layers which are the perception layer, the network layer and application layer. However, another layer was added to the list later and that is the support layer, which lies between the application layer and the network layer. There is another model for IoT layers, which is the model most people refer to when trying to understand the IoT architecture. This model includes seven IoT layers;

Layer 1: The Things Layer
This layer of IoT comprises of devices, sensors and controllers. Connected devices are what enable the IoT environment. These devices include mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets, micro controller units and single-board computers. The connected devices are the real endpoint for IoT.

Layer 2: Connectivity/Edge Computing Layer
Layer 2 is the connectivity/ edge computing layer, which defines the various communication protocols and networks used for connectivity and edge computing. It is a distributed architecture where IoT data is processed at the edge of the network.

Layer 3: Global Infrastructure Layer
Layer 3 is the global infrastructure layer, which is typically implemented in cloud infrastructure. Most of the IoT solutions integrate with cloud services. A comprehensive set of integrated services, IoT cloud can provide businesses with useful insights and perspective on customers.

Layer 4: Data Ingestion Layer
Layer 4 is the data ingestion layer, which includes bigdata, cleansing, streaming and storage of data.

Layer 5: Data Analysis Layer
Layer 5 is the data analysis layer and relates to data reporting, mining, machine learning etc.

Layer 6: The Application Layer
Layer 6 is the application layer, which comprises of the custom applications that is actually making use of the things data.

Layer 7: People and Process Layer
Layer 7 is the people and process layer. This includes people, businesses, collaboration and decision making based on the information derived from IoT computing.

The Infrastructure of An IoT Platform

2018-07-16T17:21:11+00:00

As more and more companies adopt IoT, the task of building and deploying an IoT project is getting tougher. Challenges are a plenty, but with a sound understanding of the IoT platform and its infrastructure, you can increase your chances of making a successful transition. Here is the infrastructure of an IoT platform explained.
There are five pillars making up an IoT infrastructure and they include platforms, access technologies, data storage & processing, data analytics, and security. An essential part of any internet-connected device, these five pillars are what enable growth for future IoT solutions. While all five pillars of the IoT infrastructure are important, we’re only interested in the IoT platform and its infrastructure. So, let’s get to it.

Understanding IoT Platform
Often referred to as middleware solutions, internet of Things (IoT) platforms are a combination of function from multiple vendors, which include the following:
•Sensors or controllers
•Software to analyze and interpret the data
•A gateway device to amass and transfer data back and forth to the data network
•A communication network to send data
•The end application services creating much of the value

Collectively, the above solutions are referred to as the value chain of IoT. One of the main objectives of IoT is connecting devices with each other. An IoT platform ensures this by providing the basic layer of services with interoperability between nodes, cloud services as well as basic IP networking, security, application layer and device management. This also ensures high level IoT application development. Put simply, an IoT platform provides all the key ingredients to build secure and efficient IoT applications.

Choosing the Right IoT Platform
You must first understand what a fully integrated IoT platform can provide you. This will ensure that you have everything required to connect and deploy an IoT device. Following are some of the things to look for in an IoT platform:

Scalability
As the number of connected devices grows, the intricacy of handling data increases. Therefore you need to think about scalability when choosing an IoT platform. Even if you don’t have many connected devices when you first implement IoT, you need to ensure that the IoT platform you choose can tackle increased data load as you connect more devices. The right IoT platform will support millions of devices with different technological requirements, providing continuous insights from the collected data without compromising efficiency.

Disaster Recovery
In today’s data-driven and the increasingly connected world, data security is a major concern. Whether it is due to a natural disaster or a cyber-attack, your IoT platform should be able to handle any IT infrastructure outage. Ensure that the IoT platform comes with a disaster recovery plan and can vide failover clusters to take over the workload in case of any downtime.

Intelligent Edge Devices and Cloud Infrastructure
Your IoT platform should provide edge intelligence capabilities to extend the power of the cloud to your mobile and IoT devices. This will facilitate an intelligent edge that can bring computing power, data, applications, and intelligence to all the places where your data already exists. This will allow your edge devices to take decisions based on the local data that they generate, while enabling them to leverage the benefits of cloud to configure and manage those devices.

Compared to the singular approach, hybrid cloud approach can ensure more benefits. The hybrid cloud combines the best of both worlds, by giving the ease of accessibility of private cloud and scaling capabilities of public cloud. With an IoT platform that provides hybrid cloud, you can retain all the business-critical information on-premises, while storing the less critical information in the public cloud. This will reduce the latency and access time significantly.

Communication Protocols and Standards
All IoT platforms must directly or indirectly offer protocol translation. Some of the protocols that your IoT platform must be able to support include CoAP, AMQP, HTTP and MQTT. Also ensure the scope to implement a custom protocol and the ability to handle it from the backend.

Protocols of IoT

2018-07-16T17:21:57+00:00

In IoT, the most important thing is the connectivity among objects. From a single constrained device to a whole range of cloud systems, IoT extends to a whole host of devices and systems—all connected by a set of protocols that allow devices and servers to talk to each other. Following are protocols of IoT explained.

Physical and Data Link Layer Protocols
The physical and data link layer comprises of the IoT objects and physical networks connecting them with other objects or network. There are many protocols and standard technologies for physical and network access protocols. These protocols and technologies suits variable applications and network sites and are used for interconnecting computers and mobile devices. Some of the popular physical and data link layer protocols and standards are as follow:
•Ethernet
•Bluetooth Low Energy
•Wi-Fi
•Wireless HART
•Zigbee
•Z-wave
•RFID
•WiMax
•LTE-MTC
•Cellular (GPRS/2G/3G/4G/5G)
•CDMA
•NBIOT

Physical and Data Link Protocols for LPWAN
LPWAN is a low power long range wireless network in which battery powered IOT devices surrounded by wireless sensors are interconnected. Used for machine to machine communication, LPWAN have a coverage network greater than Wi-Fi but less than cellular technologies. There are many physical and data link protocols specified for LPWAN and some of them are as follows:
•Sigfox
•LTE M-1/ LTE- MTC
•LoRaWAN
•RPMA
•EC-GSM-IOT

Physical and Data Link Protocols for Lan, HAN and PAN
There are many IoT protocols for the Personal Area Network (PAN), Home Area Network (HAN) and Local Area Network (LAN) and following are some of them:
•EEE 802.15.4e
•Zigbee
•WirelessHART
•Thread
•MiWi
•Z-Wave
•DiGiMesh
•HomePlug

Physical and Data Link Protocols: RFID and Mobile Standards
RFID based protocols include RFID, DASH7 and NFC. Also, many common mobile standards are evolving to accommodate IoT applications and these include: GPRS, GSM and CDMA.

Network Layer Protocols
Network layer is part of the infrastructure layer in IoT reference architecture. This layer is responsible for addressing and routing of data packets. Till now, IPv4 had been the standard protocol for network layer. However, since this protocol has a limited address space incapable of coping with the scalability of the IoT applications, a new IPv6 standard has been developed to accommodate address space sufficient to enable addressing the billions of IoT devices. There are other network layer protocols as well and the popular ones include the following:
•6LoWPAN
•6TiSCH
•6Lo
•IPv6 over Bluetooth Low Energy
•IPv6 over G.9959

Transport Layer Protocols
Transport layer is part of the infrastructure layer in IoT reference architecture and is responsible for routing of data packets over a network. At this layer, ordering of packets, error detection and correction in delivery of data packets is performed. The commonly used transport layer protocols include the following:
•TCP
•UDP
•DCCP
•SCTP
•RSVP
•DTLS
•TLS
•RPL
•CARP
•CORPL
•QUIC
•uIP
•ROLL
•Aeron
•CCN (Content Centric Networking)
•NanoIP
•TSMP

Service Delivery Protocols
The layer has a prominent role in an IoT architecture. It is the service discovery or service management layer which differentiates an IoT network with that of typical internet network. The IoT devices need to connect and communicate with web or cloud based services and applications for IoT implementation.
There are some protocols designed to resolve host IP addresses rendering IoT services and applications. These protocols help identifying servers hosting IoT services by their namespaces and allow an IOT board to connect with one (Unicast) or group of servers (Multicast) over the network. Following are some popular service delivery protocols:

•mDNS
•DNS Service Discovery (DNS-SD)
•uPnP
•Simple Discovery Service Protocol

Application Layer Protocols
This layer lies above the service discovery layer. It is highest layer in the architecture extending from the client ends. It is the interface between the end devices and the network. This layer is implemented through a dedicated application at the device end.

Responsible for data formatting and presentation, the application layer is typically based on HTTP protocol. However, HTTP is not suitable in resource constrained environment because it is extremely heavyweight and thus incurs a large parsing overhead. For this reason, there are many alternate protocols that have been developed for IOT environments and they include:
•MQTT
•SMQTT
•CoAP
•DDS
•XMPP
•AMQP
•REST
•MQTT-SN
•STOMP
•SMCP
•SNMP
•LLAP
•SSI
•LWM2M
•M3DA
•XMPP-IOT
•ONS 2.0
•SOAP
•Websocket
•Reactive Streams
•HTTP/2
•JavaScript IOT

Importance of IoT Security

2018-05-22T12:34:44+00:00

The internet of things (IoT) has made the world more convenient, efficient and enjoyable, with the dramatic surge of internet-connected devices transforming how individuals, households and businesses interact on a day-to-day basis.

From baby monitors to digital assistants to sensors monitoring traffic on major highways, a plethora of IoT devices connected to networks are helping drive many benefits for users. While the benefits of IoT devices are undeniable, the internet of things is vulnerable to security threats. Here are some ways to secure your IoT devices.

Secure Device Hardware Accessibility
Software security has proven inadequate to thwart the known threats. A networked device lacking adequate hardware security can be easily hacked by an end-user.

So, how can you overcome this security flaw and secure your IoT devices against end-users? By encrypting and protecting configuration bit streams. Moreover, equipping your devices with tamper protection, zeroization, and secure key storage can significantly reduce the chances of a successful attack. The hardware will identify unauthorized access and tampering, and zeroize when tampering is detected.

Secure Port Communication
Communication to and from the device needs to be secured using encrypted communication. One way to ensure this is avoiding the use of insecure encryption algorithm. Using weak encryption algorithms creates a false sense of security. We think that our encrypted data will never be decrypted and stay hidden as long as we want. However, that will only be true if you use solid encryption algorithms or follow secure encryption processes.

Use Encryptions
Encryption can help prevent unauthorized access to data and devices. Part of a complete security management process, encryption uses standard cryptographic algorithms to secure data at rest and in transit between IoT edge devices and back-end systems. This helps maintain data integrity and prevent data sniffing by hackers.

Use Authentication
All communication with your IoT devices should be authenticated using strong passwords, authentication protocols or time-based authentication tokens.

Ensure Protection Against Phishing and Malwares
Antivirus software can provide a critical layer of protection against attacks. They limit communication to only known, trusted hosts, blocking hackers before they can launch an attack.
Employ Middleware Hardware Physical Security
A category of software, Middleware Hardware Physical Security provides a platform and applicationswhich are designed to integrate multiple unconnected security applications and devices and control them through one comprehensive user interface.

By controlling access to hardware and software, physical security eliminates the possibility of anyone damaging or stealing devices or data. Moreover, it limits physical interaction with equipment and implements systems to ensure that equipment is safe from environmental threats and to promote physical security.

Global IoT Market – It’s Evolution, Growth and Future

2018-05-22T12:30:51+00:00

With the exponential growth in internet usage, the internet of things (IoT) is expected to take the world by storm in the future. In fact, many consumers and companies are already migrating to IoT as they foresee the internet of things having a huge impact in the coming years. Here is everything you need to know about the evolution of the global IoT market, its growth and future.

The Evolution of IoT
First coined by Kevin Ashton—a British entrepreneur in 1999, the term IoT refers to a network of Internet connected objects able to collect and exchange data. Considering that there will be fifty billion connected devices by 2020, IoT has come a long way since it was first coined. So, how did this massive explosion of internet-connected devices occur? There are many possible explanations but this explosion was largely due to the evolution of convergence of multiple technologies, ranging from wireless communication to the internet and from embedded systems to micro electromechanical systems (MEMS).

From the traditional fields of embedded systems to wireless sensor networks to automation and more, a plethora of things helped enable and grow the internet of things. Over the past few years, IoT platforms have enabled rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands, and real-time optimization of manufacturing production and supply chain networks. They have achieved this by networking machinery, sensors and control systems together.

In addition to the above, IoT has helped automate process controls and service information systems. And, this ability of IoT is what gave birth to industrial internet of things (IIOT)—a form of IoT that is expected to contribute $14.2 trillion of global economy by 2030. So, what are the other predictions for global IoT in the future? Let’s find out.

The Future of the Global IoT Market
We already know that there will be an estimated fifty billion connected devices by 2020, but what are other predictions for future of the global IoT market? As the number of connected devices increase, the data collected by organizations will also increase. IoT platforms will employ sophisticated algorithms to analyze and deliver value from this data. Machine-to-machine (M2M) connections—a critical part of the IoT setup, is also expected to grow to eighteen billion by 2022. This will present businesses with a massive opportunity to improve and grow.

IoT is also expected to enhance operational and customer insights in the future. According to Gartner—the American research and advisory firm, IoT will add value and economic benefit worth $1.9 trillion in 2020 alone. Moreover, McKinsey & Company—the American worldwide management company, has identified six ways in which IoT will enhance operational and customer insights. These include tracking behavior for real-time marketing, optimized resource consumption, process optimization, enhance situational awareness, instantaneous control and response in complex automated systems, and sensor-driven decision analytics.

Benefits of IoT

2018-05-22T12:26:42+00:00

No one can doubt that the internet of things (IoT) has made life better. And, this isn’t just about being connected 24/7 through your laptop, tablet or smart phone, it entails much more. Connected devices enabled by IoT are not just improving the lives of individuals, there are also providing many benefits to businesses. In fact, more and more companies today are using IoT to gain a competitive advantage in the market. So, how exactly is IoT benefiting individuals and businesses today? let’s find out.

Connected Computing
Want your phone, television, devices, and vehicles to keep track of what you are doing, viewing, reading and listening to? IoT can help ensure that. With IoT, you can keep track of all your activities in a day even if you move throughout the day, from place to place.

More Data
The more data you have, the easier it will be for you to make the right decision. For example, with IoT, you can know what to get from the grocery while you are out without having to check on your own. This saves time and makes life incredibly convenient.

Efficient Utilization of Resources
With IoT, you can better track your business assets including your tools, equipment and machinery. By providing you real time insights and visibility into your assets and supply chain, IoT allows to run predictive maintenance on critical machinery and infrastructure to improve utilization and throughput.

Improved Customer Experiences
Want your customers to feel more connected to your brand? Then switch to IoT. By collecting and recording data using in-built sensors, you can utilize IoT to retrieve valuable information about your customers which will you to better understand and cater to the customers’ needs. And, this will result in an improved customer experience.

Effective Data Analytics and Related Cost Savings
IoT solutions allow businesses to track the location, timing and search inputs of their customers. This ensures effective data analytics, which allows businesses to interact with and respond to customers in real-time. It is estimated that connected devices and related analytics will help save billions of dollars if they cause even a minimal reduction in inefficiencies, fuel and capital expenditures.

Applications of IoT

2018-05-22T12:24:05+00:00

The number of IoT consumers are increasing by the day and there is always some company launching a new IoT enabled product. Based on predictions, this trend will only increase in the future.

IoT is already allowing us to share and use valuable information in our daily life and some popular applications of IoT are farming, agriculture, greenhouse, industrial automation, smart buildings and supply chain management.

Farming
The way farmers work is being revolutionized by remote farming operations and remote monitoring of livestock enabled by the internet of things (IoT). An application of IoT that should not be underestimated, smart farming is expected to play a crucial role in the economy of predominantly agricultural-product exporting countries going forward.

Agriculture
An example of this IoT application is smart irrigation systems sensing the soil moisture and taking weather into account to ensure that they only water crops when needed, thus reducing the amount of water usage. This is an example of outdoor agriculture application of IoT. An example of IoT application in indoor agriculture would be IoT enabling monitoring and management of micro-climate conditions such as temperature, humidity and light to maximize production.

Greenhouse
A farming facility, connected greenhouse incorporates the internet of things microcontrollers, sensors and applications. The technology helps to automate and improve the management of greenhouse. Moreover, sensors can detect radiation, pathogens, and air quality to identify dangerous concentrations early and allow people to evacuate.

Industrial Automation
Perhaps, the most talked about application of IoT today is industrial automation. Industrial automation is empowering industries with sensors, software and big data analytics to create efficient processes and products. Industrial automation is revolutionizing industries by increasing manufacturing efficiency.
Sensors embedded in manufacturing equipment and placed throughout a factory can help identify bottlenecks in the manufacturing process. By addressing bottlenecks, manufacturing time and waste is reduced. Industrial automation enables ‘predictive maintenance’, which is using advanced sensing and analytics to predict exactly when machines will need maintenance. This ensures that machines are serviced only when they need it, which cuts total costs and the time machines spend idle.

Smart Buildings
From enhancing security to reducing energy and maintenance costs, a range of IoT solutions are available to control and monitor connected buildings. IoT enables automated processes that allow you to control the operations of a building from a remote destination. With IoT, you can control a building’s heating, air conditioning, security, lighting, ventilation and other systems.

Supply Chain Management
With IoT, you can track goods and exchange information with suppliers in real time. Offering a range of solutions, IoT is helping optimize packaging, inventory management, quality control, logistics and overall management of the supply chain. For example, by placing RFID or NFC tags on individual products, the exact location of single items in a large warehouse can be shared, thus saving search time and lowering labor costs.
Additionally, by allowing you to know exactly what’s in-stock and what isn’t, IoT ensures that you order new products only when needed. This reduces the cost of keeping extra inventory. Also, smart inventory management eliminates the need to manually check what’s on the shelves, reducing labor costs.

Blockchain And IoT – How They Can Collaborate?

2018-04-10T10:02:39+00:00

IoT is everywhere today and it can benefit from collaboration with another disruptive technology: blockchain. Here, we explore how IoT and blockchain technologies can work together to form some kind of synergy.

One of the most Ubiquitous technologies today, the internet of things or IoT continues to be adopted by an increasing number of people each day. According to Gartner—an American research and advisory firm, there were over eight billion connected devices in use at the end of 2017—a 31% increase from the previous year and this trend is expected to continue in the future as well, with connected devices expected to reach twenty billion by the end of the 2020.

Another innovative technology making a name for itself is blockchain, the distributed ledger technology supporting bitcoin and other-cryptocurrencies. It is being touted in many quarters as an innovation that will change how we transact, build trust and transfer value. Many technology experts believe that collaboration between the two disruptive technologies: IoT and Blockchain, will not only herald us into a new era of technology and innovation but will also help deliver enhanced services securely.

Security is the perhaps the biggest advantage of using blockchain technology together with IoT. So, what is it that makes blockchain so secure? The answer is in its architecture. In a blockchain network, each user is governed by a private key and a public key. Upon the initiation of a transaction, the user broadcasts an encrypted message in the network using their private key. The message spreads, reaching members of the network who can decrypt it using their public key.

A digital signature of sorts, the encrypted message is arranged with a probability of two× 160 times. The output appears as follows:

1461501637330902918203684832716283019655932542976

This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to trace the information of the user or vandalize the stored data. Passing from node to node, the signature helps to check any fraud or attempt to breach data in case there is disagreement regarding an order.

What IoT and Blockchain Collaboration Can Help Achieve

IoT comprises of connected devices that are used every day such as vehicles, wearable tech, buildings, physical devices, etc. With embedded electronics, software and sensors allowing them to send and receive data. This allows us to make intelligent decisions.  An enabler of change, IoT can benefit in the following areas by collaborating with blockchain technology:

Smart contracts

Collaboration between blockchain and IoT can enable automation of large scale remote systems management. This can potentially increase efficiency and reduce the overall costs.

Governance

By enabling the deployment of remote sensors, IoT allows almost anything to be measured. Alongside smart IoT solutions, blockchain technology can be used to ensure that the results are transparent and accessible to the public.

Identity Management

In times of connected, smart devices that gather information about us and share it with the world, allowing people to effectively control and manage their identity in the digital space is crucial. By allowing people to opt in or out of providing access to personal information, blockchain can help to secure the information of people in the IoT space. This is great news for all involved.

What Is IoT? Understanding IoT And the Technology Behind It

2018-04-03T11:44:14+00:00

Internet of Things or IoT as its popularly known is changing everything, including how businesses function.

Understanding IoT

A system of devices connected to the web and each other, IoT includes a plethora of devices including smart phones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, light switches, tablets, wearable device, garage doors, fridges and more.

IoT is applicable in the business world as well where it is used to improve business operations, make smarter decisions and design or manufacture smarter products.

Some reports predict that there will be over twenty billion web connected devices by 2020. And, these are conservative numbers. Some estimates say the numbers could exceed a 100 billion. Regardless of which figure turns out to be true, the number of devices connected to the web by 2020 will be significant enough for us to consider how IoT will impact the world in the future.

IoT and Increased Data

IoT is expected to add significant data to data streams. For this reason, it’s crucial for individuals and organizations to be in a position to manage the broad impact that IoT technology will have on technical areas, business strategy and risk management.

With IoT, it is possible to get access to a considerable amount of useful information without having to ask for it. This includes the online habits of customers and how they connect to the web each day.

Not only does IoT provide you with valuable customer data, it also increases your knowledge about machines. For example, if engines and vehicles are connected to the web, then they can inform you about problems and the software will provide you with diagnostic reports which you can use to fine-tune production.

Over time, IoT will provide you with many useful bits of data. By putting together these pieces  of data that you receive over time, you can get a clear understanding of your business operations, your customers and the audience you want to target in the future.

Pre IoT, businesses had to manually perform inspections, report inefficiencies and then inform the supplier about any issues in quality or volume. Today, software connected to the web reports this data in real-time, allowing businesses to know exactly when they will run out of supplies.

 

Smart Savings with Connected Offices

2018-04-02T11:18:02+00:00

The design and management of a workplace has  profound effect on the productivity, creativity and engagement of those working there. A poorly designed and/or poorly managed workplace can lead to an unproductive and unsatisfying work experience and if this happens too often, it can increase staff turnover and have a negative effect on the company’s bottom line.

Enter ‘smart office’—the brave new world that promises to revolutionize the workplace but can it really improve things? A buzzword, smart office refers to an office space that utilizes smart or connected devices to improve efficiency and the office environment. The main objective of the ‘smart office’ is to create a congenial and well-managed work environment but it is also positioned to lower energy costs and increase workplace visibility to allow monitoring of unusual activities/ irregularities inside office spaces.

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

Smart technology enables efficiency and productivity and this is no secret. By providing staff with the right tools and a connected environment, a smart office helps streamline processes to make them quicker and more practical, resulting in less time spent on repetitive tasks each day. By providing your staff the training to work in a connected or smart office, you can increase their productivity and allow them to operate as efficiently as possible.

Connected offices can also help you to keep track of staff in the workplace. For instance, IoT solutions and connected devices can be used to detect whether employees have entered the office and what rooms are in use. This will allow you to monitor who is in the office and will help you reduce meeting rooms being unnecessarily booked out or large meeting rooms being used for only a couple of people. With connected offices, you get necessary insight into internal processes and procedures, which allows you to adapt whenever necessary.

Reduced Energy Usage

Connected offices feature IoT devices and sensors and this helps to reduce energy usage in the workplace. Using IoT devices and sensors throughout the facility, offices are identifying and enacting steps that not only lower energy usage, but also help reduce their carbon footprint. With these connected devices and sensors, management can control lighting, the environment and other-energy consuming systems. This helps to ensure that there is no energy usage in an unoccupied space in the office.

Better Management of Office Space

A Connected office and IoT solutions makes it easier to manage office space, which in turn allows you to manage office space more efficiently. Some of the practices used in smart or connected offices to manage space includes hot desking and shared spaces. These practices enable more efficient use of the total square footage to ensure that less space is needed per person. The practices are enabled using IoT solutions such as space management software and sensors.

 

Switch now to a connected office that uses IoT solutions to ensure smart savings and align your business perfectly with the modern global trends and get it ready to take on new challenges.