VICINITY project at “Boring but lucrative, the real Internet of Things” by Cambridge Wireless
Cambridge Wireless (CW) is a leading industry forum based in Cambridge, UK with a rapidly expanding network of companies (currently over 400 members from 31 countries) actively involved in the development and application of wireless technologies. Their activities are based around a number of special interest groups (SIGs) each focussed on a specific technology and/or market area.
The Connected Devices SIG has been holding events on IoT for some time. This meeting was entitled “Boring but lucrative, the real Internet of Things” and served as an update and summary of where the IoT is now and what the stumbling blocks are to full deployment.
Keith Dickerson and Dave Faulkner (CAL) participated in the SIG.
Key issues for the IoT include:
- Business model: This is not clear yet but will evolve as new applications become available based on [initially] open data. The value of data will be determined once applications based on it are established in the marketplace. Most examples given were of trials to meet one specific objective, such a stress sensors on a bridge. In cities such as London, data from air quality and traffic sensors has been made open to encourage wider use. The IoT has yet to happen and we are still at the M2M data exchange level where most data is locked down in a ‘walled garden’ for a specific application and not available openly for use by other applications. One speaker said that most of the value will be in the analysis of data, and companies will thrive on making data available in a form usable by customers (e.g. banks).
- Security: It takes an average of 82s for a new security camera connected to the Internet to become infected with Mirai malware. Therefore, it is inadvisable to connect sensors to the Internet directly. Instead sensors should be connected through IoT gateways which have the power and processing capacity to implement enhanced security mechanisms. Blockchain was not considered to provide a useful security mechanism for the IoT.
- Privacy: Access to e.g. health data will need different levels of permission depending upon the level of privacy required. Personal data needs to be accessible by a doctor but anonymised for public use.
- Low Power Devices: there are a range of low power technologies (and standards) available for IoT services including LPWAN, LoRaWAN, NB-IoT and LTE-M. The LoRa Alliance is the fastest growing industry alliance and LoRaWAN is being rolled out in Cambridge and extensively in France.
- Standards: A multiplicity of standards will continue to be used for specific applications / communications technologies. Semantic-layer standards will be needed to enable open data from different domains to be correlated.Comment: Trials such as Smart Cambridge could learn from experience in other cities such as Santander and Turin. Standards bodies such as ITU-T publish examples of best practice for others to follow. VICINITY should publish its results in a way that is easily taken up internationally and ITU-T SG20 would be a good place to do this as it covers all UN countries.