The Internet of Things has become a popular and easily identifiable phrase. In a world where lightbulbs can be programmed when to turn on and off and coffee makers hook up to the Wifi, IoT encompasses all such previously neutral objects that can now connect to networks or systems and have the ability to obtain and transmit data.
This working definition has functioned for the purposes of common consumption especially as the popularity of IoT has risen, but as the security details of IoT have become more forefront, it is important that the definition has been altered.
By the newly released guidelines on the IoT from the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (DHS S+T) Directorate, a device can qualify as part of the Internet of Things by having the ability to be detected, be authenticated on a network and be updated. If a device or parts of a device may be found by a network or system, then recognized and trusted by the system and contain that ability for updates that upgrade the security and other features, then it follows the guidelines for being part of the IoT.
Some items originally suspected or labeled as part of the IoT now may no longer be if they don’t follow these guidelines. Security cameras, for example, need to have the ability to be upgraded and updated with security features as technology advances.
The IoT easily finds importance and a role in a technological society that is becoming more and more data driven. With wearables in the IoT like Fitbits that garner information like people’s daily walking distance and monitored heart rates, the familiarity of the IoT expands. As the IoT spans into wider markets and security concerns come into play, businesses need to consider the legal ramifications this system may come to include. Groups like Paul Hastings have already begun to act as counsel for situations like advising Samsung on its mobile payment system. As technology continues to evolve, the litigation involved will contain cross-disciplines of the law.
The IoT is already proving its other possible uses as cities and their first responders are relying on connected devices to provide safety in the face of natural disasters. Peachland, British Columbia has employed the use of a fire-fighting sprinkler trailer to help protect homes from fires common in the area. Once people had cleared from the area and from the danger of the upcoming fire, firefighters were able to monitor and fight the fire remotely from a safe distance. Water was spread evenly to avoid mudslides and by utilizing video surveillance and other technology, all of the houses were spared.
As the IoT becomes more commonplace as data collectors and used by many businesses, large companies like Microsoft are beginning investments to make managing these embedded devices easier. Microsoft has led this pack by creating a centralized hub that allows endless amounts of connected devices to be managed in one place. Microsoft’s new Azure IoT Hub functions as a single management system to communicate with all the devices for powering applications and streamline the work of developers to cooperating with the Azure software. Additionally, Azure incorporates with the rest of Microsoft’s cloud devices and their IoT suite software.
Azure’s payment structure depends upon a per-message hierarchy. A free tier exists for up to 500 devices and 8,000 messages per day, whether it is to Azure or back to the device. Higher tiers eliminate the restriction of devices and have higher ceilings on messages per day.
With several partnerships with Dell, HPE, Advantech and Libelium, Azure is future-casting to create software for these companies that will integrate easily with Azure. Now businesses may be enticed to adopt the Azure system because the integration has already been done for them. It is an easy solution for organization and management as the IoT becomes more incorporated into their businesses.
The future of the IoT proves dynamic and interesting as more devices join the fold. With changes to the definition adjusting the course of the IoT, more technological evolutions await on the horizon.