Category Archives: IoT Gateway

IoT project risks

3 IoT project risks that prevent companies from adopting IoT solutions (and how to avoid them)

The Internet of Things (IoT) has brought a lot of benefits and disruptive innovations. Despite this, there are 3 main IoT project risks that prevent companies from adopting IoT solutions:

  • IoT security;
  • lack of open standards;
  • integrating legacy M2M/OT equipment with IoT applications.

Driverless cars, fitness trackers, smart manufacturing, precision farming, connected clothing, smart meters that measure utilities, smart sensors to detect mechanical failures, medical devices that can monitor diseases – everywhere you look around the globe there is talk about the Internet of Things.

IoT’s potential is endless. It changes the way that businesses, government agencies and consumers operate and interact to drive new business opportunities; it increases profits, lowers operating costs and increases productivity . Demand for connected devices is growing exponentially. Many companies – from large, multinational enterprise to SMEs – are all looking to capitalize on this trend.

Let’s analyze the 3 major IoT project risks and the way to avoid them. This would allow companies to start integrating IoT solutions and embracing digital transformation.

IoT security: the number one IoT project risk

IoT project risk 1: IoT Security
The main concern of companies adopting IoT solutions is data security

One of the problems that companies are facing with the growth of IoT is security. Connected devices are being developed at a very fast pace with a general lack of security standards or protocols. Companies must look for smart products with security in mind from day one when adopting IoT solutions. This will avoid the risk of breach vulnerabilities.

Security is a major IoT project risk and is today a more complex task. IoT devices are connected and interconnected into a network and are designed to collect and store increasing amount of data – even sensitive ones. Moreover, smart devices need to connect to each other, to the Internet and to the cloud to exchange data. IoT security issues must be addressed at all levels, from the edge to the cloud.  

In earlier years firewall perimeters and virtual private networks enabled IT security. The widespread use of mobile phones, connected applications and the increased level of sophistication of the attackers has led to breaches in those fortified perimeters.

Because of the lack of best practices, security could dramatically increase the cost of IoT projects. Moreover, this lack of IoT security has the potential to scare users away from adopting IoT technologies.

If companies, government organizations and consumers cannot trust that their data is safe, they will become discouraged at the thought of adopting IoT solutions and buy smart devices. Once the breaches begin, adoption of IoT devices is sure to slow down.

Securing IoT devices is not a simple task, especially when projects employ large, globally-distributed deployments. A single security product solution cannot enable end-to-end security: there is no silver bullet. It is essential to look at the entire system. Security must be a fundamental part of the overall architecture of an IoT project, i.e. be built in, not added afterwards.

Lack of open standards

Most IoT edge solutions are based on the integration of sensors, actuators, PLCs, field buses and protocols. Quite often, the specific combination of new and legacy OT technology is the first challenge to overcome when creating an IoT solution.

For example, PLCs are normally connected through serial or LAN interfaces using field-bus communications protocols. While some of these technologies and protocols are open standards, there are literally hundreds that are proprietary and specific to vendors and vertical solutions. Examples in the industrial domain there are field protocols like Modbus or OPC UA, in transportation CAN, or in energy M-Bus.

IoT project risk 2: lack of open standards
Open standards allow a better integration between IoT components

Since there are many different devices, operating systems and programming languages employed on edge infrastructures, the lack of open standards stands among major IoT project risks. It represents a barrier for companies. They would think that adopting IoT solutions is too complex and a waste of time and resources. 

Again, the IoT security issue shows up when there is a lack of open standards. While plenty of standards exist in the traditional IT world, they have yet to be applied in a consistent manner; this would protect IoT devices – deployed at the edge – from breach.

This means that there is a very vulnerable IoT ecosystem with vendors using different hardware, software and third party services, as well as APIs and patch methods. To achieve IoT security, there is the need to establish solid solutions for device discovery with secure identity, authentication and encrypted communications or the underlying protocols are subject to abuse.

Improper security of just one device could result in situations where many other devices in the network become vulnerable. To succeed with IoT, end-to-end security must be a priority. Device manufacturers and software developers need a security model that has a foundation based on open and industry standards to ensure platform and vendor interoperability and incorporate best practices.

Connecting legacy equipment to IoT

To enable IoT solutions that integrate data collected in the field with enterprise IT applications, companies need to connect their legacy equipment (e.g. industrial machinery and PLCs, on-board and in-vehicle components, power meters, etc.) to the Internet.

The simplest, yet most expensive solution to ensure seamless integration between field equipment and IoT applications is to replace the old equipment with new, IoT-ready one. If a person wanted to remotely access and monitor his home heater, he could replace it with a more recent one. The new one would integrate an IoT gateway that can send temperature, consumption and other useful data to my smartphone and make them accessible on the vendor’s mobile app.

This is a so-called “greenfield” solution, and is ideal for newborn companies. For the vast majority of companies, to completely replace the old equipment is way too expensive; there is the need to adapt it to the IoT project requirements. It is therefore necessary to retrofit field assets with sensors or IoT smart devices and gateways. This again arises issues related to IoT security or to the lack of open standards. 

IoT risk 3: retrofit legacy industrial equipment
Retrofitting legacy equipment a big challenge in the IoT adoption

In industrial applications in particular, M2M machinery and components (such as sensors, actuators and PLCs) communicate with different protocols. The majority of sensors and IoT gateway solutions are designed to target a specific set of protocols. This ends up having a crowd of devices with different protocols that need to be integrated and managed within the same IT/cloud application.

How to reduce IoT project risks and enhance IoT adoption?

Under the brand name of Everyware IoT, Eurotech integrates a set of hardware and software components to enable end-to-end IoT solutions. They are secure, completely managed, integrated and based on open standards.

Everyware IoT solves all the above-mentioned issues related to IoT projects adoption:

3 key railway standards with which every on-board embedded and IoT system should comply

Railway companies looking for new on-board electronic equipment or intelligent transportation systems should consider products that follow specific requirements in terms of operating temperature, shock and vibration resistance, EMC, and so on, in order to guarantee consistent and reliable performance in harsh and contaminated environments such as trains.

That is why on-board electronic devices like IoT gateways, edge computers and intelligent transportation systems should comply with the parameters defined by specific railway certifications. We will discuss three key standard requirements to meet the needs of today’s on-board railway and rolling stock applications..

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How can people counting make events run smoothly?

Whether it’s venue, catering, speakers, delegates or topics, many factors have to come together in just the right way to create a truly successful conference or exhibition. Weeks, or even months, of planning go into ensuring every detail of even the smallest event is the best it can be. So, once we have everything in place and the conference is underway, how do we know that what we’re doing is working and how can we tell which areas of a show are the most engaging?

We can ask people for their feedback and send post-event surveys all we like but nothing beats hard data that tells us, in real time, what we need to know.

At Red Hat Summit 2015 in Boston, one of the biggest open source technology events in the world, we saw just how easily this issue of event analysis can be addressed.

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Simplifying Complex M2M/IoT Systems with the Multi-Service Gateway Approach

While many M2M/IoT systems are complex, an environmental monitoring system provides an excellent example for the various sensors and devices that must be combined to create a cohesive M2M/IoT system.  Consider a cloud connected environmental monitoring system with high precision air pollution sensors and real time data access.  The system must be rugged and compact to withstand the elements and designed to monitor traffic, industrial, construction and urban areas for temperature, gaseous pollutants, particulates, electromagnetic fields, radioactivity, and sound pollution.   To add another layer of complexity, the system must be built to seamlessly connect to the cloud and send data from the field to the business application in real time.

The M2M/IoT marketplace is full of hundreds of piecemeal technologies that can be cobbled together from different vendors to form a solution, but the environmental monitoring system is best developed using the Multi-Service Gateway approach (Figure 1).

M2M_IoT_gateway_scheme

Figure 1: Multi-Service Gateways consolidate multiple businessrelevant tasks.

A Multi-Service Gateway is ideally suited for the environmental monitoring system to connect sensors, actuators, and meters to the business enterprise. It enables bidirectional communication between the field and the cloud and offers local processing and storage capabilities to provide offline services and near real time management and control of the devices in the field.

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IT-Centric IoT Device Management

The edge of the IoT is where solutions connect, communicate and interact using sensors, actuators, gateways, agents and controllers. As technology advances vendors are touting “advanced management capabilities” for these devices at the edge. These capabilities vary, ranging from the simple ability to turn a device on and off to more complex actions such as updating software, managing Wifi connections, configuring security policies or changing data parameters.esf_framework

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The Benefits of a Java-Based Application Framework for IoT Projects

IoT projects present many challenges, even when the hardware is designed exactly to customer specifications. Building on proven architecture and software building blocks that would require many years to develop, the use of a Java-based IoT application framework will result in shorter, more deterministic device software development. Using an IT-centric approach to implement the device logic in smart edge devices improves both device management and embedded application management. Once this standard software platform is in place, connecting and getting business relevant data to the cloud is simpler than it ever has been before.

An advanced software framework that leverages OSGi and Java both isolates the developer from the complexity of the hardware and communications infrastructure and also complements the Multi-Service Gateway hardware for an integrated hardware and software solution.

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The benefits of IT-centric application development to implement business logic in smart edge devices/service gateways are:

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