Complex: IoT raising questions as well as connectivity


It is a complex world when it comes to IoT labelling, managing and routing of data, says Dennis Juul Poulsen, general manager at Spirent Tweakker

The Internet of Things (IoT) is increasing the connectedness of people and things on a scale once unimaginable, to the point where connected devices now outnumber the world’s population by 1.5 to one.

The pace of IoT market adoption has come around because of growth in analytics and cloud computing, increasing interconnectivity of machines and personal smart devices, and the proliferation of applications connecting supply chains, partners, and customers.

Nevertheless, for the true potential of IoT to be realised, device, network and billing interoperability issues need to be resolved in the shortest timeframe.

Smart home local hubs

Take smart homes for example; they will become local data hubs to the internet collecting and distributing all sort of different data from smart devices in the home and on to the internet. It could be a maintenance report from the washing machine or energy consumption data from the central heating system. It could also be the security system broadcasting a live video feed. It could be your fridge being linked with the local supermarket to automatically top up essentials.

In the context of mobility, cellular based modules are likely to become data hubs for mobile smart devices such as watches, glasses, health monitors, security alarms, security cameras, cars etc.

Combined these appliances will communicate an unimaginable variety of data points which begs the question; how is all this data to be managed from a commercial and security perspective?

In the case of the connected car, it is becoming increasingly obvious that position data and other sensitive information should be segmented and communicated using a secure tunnel and not through the drivers personal SIM card.

Who pays for what?

Also, there is the question of who will pay and for what data. Should Mr Peterson pay for the maintenance data sent from his AEG washing machine to the manufacturer? Perhaps these types of non-personal data should be carried over using an alternative enterprise tunnel.

A connected device can be viewed as a service and in the smart home context the smart home would be a service domain. The data communicated from a service to the service domain would have to be labelled in some way in order to enable the service domain to manage and route the data properly from smart home to internet. In this way, an AEG user would be able to subscribe to the AEG data service and the subscription and payment relationship would be between AEG and the smart home’s network provider.

As such, a smart home could hold hundreds of smart devices creating hundreds of new revenue streams, hence the makers of the IoT device ecosystems like Samsung, Apple and Google have to enable support for multiple business models.

Controlling connected cars

The question of cost ownership would also apply in the case of the connected car where Audi cars would send frequent service checks to Audi’s service cloud or download software updates of 500 MB. Again, who should pay for the transmission of this data? Audi would make the most from this as they would save the manual labour of manually upgrading the software as this service is normally free to the customers.

Connectivity and subscription management will be fundamental to securing the connectivity and monetizing of M2M devices on the network. From the moment that a farmer plugs in his fleet of M2M remote monitoring applications, it is vital that the equipment is capable of creating a connection and establish a link with the associated subscription service.

The routing of data from source to sink is an integral part of any large scale wireless sensing and IoT solution. Unplugged and/or mobile embedded devices used in such low powered and network (LLN) applications are always severely constrained in terms of available power. Therefore, energy efficient routing of data becomes critical to any long term sustainable solution.

The purpose of IoT, looking at it from a pure business perspective, is to merge existing successful services with new data generated by 50 billion connected devices by 2020. It is all about making the world a more much effective environment to live in with highly improved traceability, security and safety, health monitoring and resource utilisation.

Spirent acquired Mobilethink and its wholly owned subsidiary, Tweakker for a cash consideration of $20 million in September 2014.  Mobilethink is a provider of mobile device management, device analytics and intelligence solutions for mobile operators while Tweakker is a cloud-based mobile device configuration solution specifically targeted at MVNOs.


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