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10 ways to boost IoT Security in Smart Homes

If your home is connected, it needs to be protected. IoT devices are the core technology behind the idea of smart homes, and while the latest devices have addressed patches that made their predecessors vulnerable to security breaches, the onus is still on the end user to ensure that their IoT security is up to date.

To help, 10 members of Forbes Technology Council suggest key steps that homeowners can take to protect their IoT systems from hacks, keeping their data and homes safe from malicious users.

1. Install Latest Security Patches

Make sure your IoT devices have the latest security patches installed and keep a close eye on what ports are open/exposed to the outside world from your device. This will keep your perimeter under control, while security patches will help you fight against the latest threats emerging on the market. – Naveen Bachkethi, CBNITS

2. Segment Your Network

Assume the devices will be hacked, so segment your network with the ability to isolate the network, thereby mitigating zero-day exploit impact. Group them together so that you can control network access by manufacturer and use. – Gavin McMurdo, IStreamPlanet

3. Have A Strong Password Policy

IoT devices are typically hacked because of poor passwords or a default password is never changed. Passwords to access your device or to connect to your network should be complex with a minimum of 15 characters, and to be extra secure, you should change them regularly. – Michael Hoyt, Life Cycle Engineering, Inc.

4. Use Multifactor Authentication

If you have the option, use multifactor authentication with your IoT device. Two-factor or multifactor authentication requires you to log in with a second code that’s usually sent through a text message or email. You can use this strategy to add an extra layer of security to your device, which will help keep your data safe. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

5. Keep Your Router Updated

Keep not just your IoT device patched and passwords regularly changed, but the router as well, as it’s often the first line of defense. The Mirai botnet exploited default IoT passwords to great effect. – Ed Adams, Security Innovation

6. Take A Layered Approach

Gone are the days when you just need to protect the front door. There is no more front door, meaning a layered approach to security is essential. Use top-notch tools for monitoring, logging, anti-malware, and intrusion detection. Be on the lookout for any increase in abnormal traffic, whether messaging, network, or system usage, as that’s a top sign you’ve been hacked. – Maddison Long, CloudOps

7. Don’t Use The Default Security Settings

Double-check that you’re not using the manufacturer default security settings. A common mistake is that consumers simply take for granted that the default settings on Wi-Fi and other connected devices are sufficient. They’re not. Make sure to audit your default settings to make sure firewalls and multifactor authentication is active. And above all, change and strengthen your password. – John Shin, RSI Security

8. Maintain A Global Access Map

As consumers use more connected devices and appliances at home, it is important to maintain a “global access map” to have clear visibility of who has access to what. One vulnerability is voice assistants being located near exposed doors or windows while controlling critical actions like opening a garage door or turning on an oven! – Ahmad (Al) Fares, Celitech – Cellular Data Platform

9. Create A Separate Registration Email

Create a separate email alias for all of the registrations (instead of your normal one) and use it. Think “least privilege” and only give access to things that are required for it to work. Ask yourself, “Do I really need that?” The best security is “no.” As I once told a client, “You want this system to be totally secure. Then don’t take it out of the box.” – Thomas Polk, Midwest Eye Consultants, P.C.

10. Ask The Manufacturer About SSL/TLS

Ask the manufacturer if they are using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Transport Layer Security (TLS). We are all familiar with sites using security certificates. Whenever you see the HTTP change to HTTPS, there is a certificate in play. IoT devices call a website just like a browser does. The problem is too many IoT devices are calling sites without enough security. Asking the manufacturers about SSL/TLS will raise the issue. – David Moise, Decide Consulting

Source : Forbes.com

5 IoT trends to watch in 2021

By via Forbes.com 

Over the past few years, we have seen the IoT and its boundless potential take off. With a pandemic fueled 2020, digital transformation accelerated rapidly, and with increased connectivity, thanks to 5G and faster WiFi and improvements in AI and machine learning, IoT looks set to deepen its roots in our lives and industries. As we close out 2020 and look ahead to 2021 and beyond, we see not just growth in the IoT, but increased use cases and trends surrounding them. The following is a deeper look at the biggest trends taking shape in the next year. 

Umm—Can You Turn Off Your Alexa? 

If there’s one thing the success of Alexa, Ring, Nest, and other smart home devices have taught us, it’s that the IoT is nearly everywhere, if it’s not already. Research shows there will be 35 billion smart devices online by 2021, and that number will rise to 75 billion by 2025. 

But the increase in devices isn’t the trend worth noting here. Security is the name of the game. The IoT is still maturing, and in some cases, it is far from private or secure. With so many devices, IT managers are struggling to understand how many devices are actually connected to their networks leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Not to mention, when are devices active and collecting data, and when are they not? As we head into the new year, we’ll likely see an increase in the security surrounding smart devices, including AI-driven, automated ability to scan networks for IoT devices. Leaders in the space will be heads down in the coming year seeking to make their technology more private and secure like Amazon, which unleashed a series of new features in its most recent Alexa Live event that enable users to more readily and easily take control of data and privacy settings. Apple also made a massive campaign in recent times around privacy. I expect amongst big tech for this to be a trend as we seek to build consumer confidence around the applications and experience, while data safety and privacy must also be a consideration.

More Use Cases in More Industries

While the IoT reputably got its start in smart homes and smartwatches/fitness apps, we’ll see a lot more to the IoT in the coming year. This is because the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been a focal point of industry dating back to the programmable logic controller of the late 1960s. Now, we’re seeing industrial shift to “industry” with, for example, an increase in health care apps (a.k.a. the Internet of Medical Things or IoMT) that allow doctors to monitor patients’ well-being remotely and in-home health apps that allow people to check heart rates from home. Other industries are starting to realize that the IoT can help them, too. Soon we’ll see the IoRT (Internet of Retail Things), IoLT (Internet of Logistics Things), and IoWM (Internet of Workforce Management), as big business realizes that the Internet of Things can monitor, for instance, not just where someone is, but where they are, what they like to buy, and (using analytics) what they’re most likely to buy if prompted in the right place at the right time. In other words: the IoT has the ability to mean big money for almost any industry. Stand by for what’s next.

Read de full text 

Using IoT data to drive customer satisfaction

When the term Internet of Things (IoT) first gained popularity a decade ago, many futurists looked forward excitedly to the commercial and industrial applications of these always-on, always-connected data sources.

Today, smart homes and internet-enabled personal devices are ubiquitous and commercially successful, but B2B applications haven’t seen the same success. Vast pools of underutilized IoT data are left to grow stale in organizational silos.

It’s little wonder, when one considers the numbers:

Nearly 80 zettabytes? That’s 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. “We’re building IoT systems that take data from all these devices, and this data is classified as alerts,” or active signals, says Dave Wright, ServiceNow’s chief innovation officer. “The challenge then becomes: What do you do with all of these alerts?”

There’s untapped value hidden within these massive data volumes, Wright believes—particularly when IoT data is integrated with a customer service management platform (CSM) using smart workflows. Device data can be analyzed to prioritize service calls, for example, add value to a customer contract, even predict and prevent costly equipment failures.

“With the number of connected assets set to increase dramatically,” — an estimated 41.6 billion devices by 2025, according to research — “it’s important that we start to analyze and understand the business context of any given device,” Wright says. “In the world of connected assets, no one has really focused on this before.”

Read more @Forbes

Powering Up Smart Cities Around The World

Jim Craig, Pieter De Jong and Val De Oliveira from the FIWARE Community explain how FIWARE is driving the development of smart digital solutions in a faster, easier, interoperable and affordable way, following an open source approach that avoids vendor lock-in.

When we talk about Smart Cities, topics such as ICT, big data and Internet of Things often spring to mind, and rightfully so. However, the scope of Smart Cities reaches far beyond software, hardware and data.

Smart Cities represent distinctive ecosystems of collaborative frameworks: private and public businesses, not-for-profit organisations, social enterprises, citizens, etc. These ecosystems facilitate the transformation of cities into enablers of economic growth, innovation and well-being. Under this concept, cities become more efficient, resilient to environmental challenges, cost effective and sustainable, providing citizens with a better place to work, live and socialise.

In this context, we invite you on a journey of digital transformation, with practical examples focused on sustainability, data economy, and the efficient management of public services – from the citizen’s standpoint. We will show you how FIWARE Foundation1 members are guiding cities and helping them to embrace the Smart City concept.

Cities such as Amersfoort, Antwerp, Málaga, Santander (to mention but a few) – part of the Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) network – of which the vast majority of its 150+ cities have already adopted FIWARE technologies, are great examples of how cities can boost growth and deliver more efficient services with the help of the growing FIWARE’s Community, ultimately creating more livable environments where both citizens and businesses can thrive.

Delivering Smart Cities to enhance life

Technical innovation projects, using enterprise open source software, can be used to improve the infrastructure of cities and enhance the lives of citizens.

Current outlook and future challenges

Reports from the United Nations forecast that the world’s population will grow to 9.8 billion by 2050 and 68% of people will live in cities. This growth will stress city infrastructures.

Cities around the globe are already struggling with a range of challenges, including air and water quality, pollution, congestion, overcrowding, poverty, waste, health and social care, energy, transport and travel. The deepening climate crisis, in which we are already experiencing an increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, intensifies matters.

The opportunity for Smart Cities

Concentrating citizens into large “smart” metropolitan areas provides economies of scale and helps us avoid exceeding the carrying capacity of the planet. To become truly smart requires a fundamental change in how existing cities are operated, and new ones are developed and run. Silos need removing and interoperability needs common information standards. Cities need to facilitate third parties to develop solutions, which in turn can be used by city administrators to deliver enhanced and new services to citizens.

In Smart Cities, efficiencies can be achieved through circular economy processes. Examples of this include generating renewable energy locally, harvesting and reusing water, and growing food in urban plots. Public transport can be affordable or even free in Smart Cities, reliable, uncongested and non-polluting. Health and social care can be supported by remote monitoring and video systems.

Ultimately, Smart Cities are about enhancing the delivery of services to citizens, services that support life events, literally from cradle to grave.

How do we get there?

“Rome wasn’t built in a day” and this holds true for Smart Cities. However, there are already many examples of technology being used to deliver elements of Smart Cities.

Public administrators of cities and wider metropolitan areas need to develop a big picture plan. They can then deliver against this in small, incremental pieces, like building Smart World models (made entirely of Lego bricks), in collaboration with trusted partners.

Some critical factors to deliver this approach are:

  1. A modular architecture using open standards. This allows you to start small, grow and adapt quickly.
  2. A rock solid foundation. The architecture is only as good as the foundation it is running on. This has to be secure, scalable, intelligent, distributed, extensible, resilient, responsive, and supportive of innovation.
  3. An enabling support ecosystem. The foundation needs to be backed by enterprise-grade support 24/7 and every day of the year. It must deliver this with infrastructure that is invisible.

Read de full paper  @Forbes

An Introduction to IoT Applications in Education

Education represents the greatest way we can ensure our continued technological and cultural growth. By ensuring that the next generation has the best possible tools and resources at their disposal, we create a foundation for future success. The Internet of Things (IoT) can provide us a way to measurably improve education for the long-term, without swallowing the budget.

How Can We Improve Education?

Methods designed to enhance the educational experience often seek to augment the quality of education or access to it, but fewer dramatically impact both simultaneously. Let’s look at some examples, considering the United States’ educational framework:  

  • Teachers: Hiring more teachers may increase access to education, but it will likely lead to a decrease in quality. Rapid hiring both is both detrimental to the quality of instruction and is not scalable as school districts have limited access to funding and administrative personnel.
  • Textbooks: Purchasing new textbooks is costly and therefore limiting in terms of the quantity that can be purchased for students. On the other hand, buying used textbooks may be cheaper, thereby providing greater access to educational material. However, it also limits learning to older pedagogic modules and outdated information, which may stunt or even decrease educational quality.
  • Reform: There’s a constant push for educational policy change at the local, state, and national government, yet the fight seems perennially futile. That’s not to say it’s fruitless; in fact, educational policy change can rapidly change lives for the better. Nonetheless, achieving greater funding and educational reform proves time-intensive and difficult due to a lack of bipartisanship. The goals of such initiatives are often to increase the quality of and access to education, but we need interim solutions while policy changes are delayed.

As we have seen, improving quality and access to education is no easy task. Increased hiring and spending are relatively straightforward processes once budgets allocate to these initiatives, but do they truly accomplish the goal of improving education? And if hiring and spending are not the answer, what is? I argue the answer is technology.

Where Technology and Education Meet

Technological enhancements have historically driven increases in the quality of and access to education globally. And out of all technologies that have impacted education, the internet has likely had the most profound effect on the way we teach and learn.

Today, you can take a class at Harvard from your living room. You can effectively replace high school with online resources such as Khan Academy. It’s possible to learn practically any skill, subject, or philosophy with YouTube. Users can take degrees online, find tutors from all over the world, and even have your math homework done for you, for free.

The internet’s impact has extended to the classroom as well. School districts permit students to take classes online, grade and class management systems such as Blackboard are universally used, and research and learning materials are more accessible than ever before.

But what’s next? The remainder of this article and series will explore how IoT will be one of the next great technological advancements in schools, universities, self-learning, and education in general.

1. Foreign Language Instruction

One of the most powerful mechanisms for learning foreign languages is immersion, whose secret weapon is real-time feedback. When learning French in France, you get real-time feedback from native speakers “for free.” These environments are difficult to recreate outside of countries where the language is spoken.

That’s where IoT comes in. Using connected devices to determine whether students have made the correct statements or selections in foreign language simulation environments, teachers are able to provide real-time feedback to students and automatically monitor student progress.

2. Connected / Smart Classrooms

The classrooms of the future will be truly tech-enabled. AR will make dissection day much more humane by obviating the need for actual animals. VR will replace history class with up-front seats to Charlemagne planning for war and science class with a true-to-size demonstration of the particles that make up life as we know it.

3. Task-Based Learning 

One of the structural shifts taking place in education is the move from a knowledge transfer model to a collaborative, information-sharing system. IoT will have a profound impact on the way we teach, because connected systems free-up teachers from recording and monitoring students, enabling them to facilitate learning rather than merely to regurgitate information. In task-based instruction, students learn-by-doing and teachers assist when needed. IoT systems provide feedback, assistance, and classroom-level monitoring automatically. By signaling teachers for help and by increasing difficulty when necessary, no student falls too far behind nor gets too far ahead—a problem that has always persisted in the classroom.

4. Disability Accommodation 

IoT may prove helpful for students who identify as disabled. Hearing-impaired students may utilize a system of connected gloves and a tablet to translate from sign language to verbal speech, converting sound into written language. Using IoT devices and systems is a constructive way to provide educational assistance to disabled learners.

Other IoT Applications in Education

  • Special education
  • Physical education
  • School security
  • Classroom monitoring using Video-as-a-Sensor technology 
  • Attendance monitoring automation
  • Student physical and mental health
  • Learning from home
  • Personalized learning

Source: https://www.iotforall.com/

What is a Smart City?

A smart city uses cloud-based data and technology to create a more efficient, sustainable, and better quality of life for the people who live there. A smart city alleviates traffic jams and improves resource management by “talking” to its citizens to make data-informed decisions in real time. Smart cities are not a shiny thing of the future: they’re ever-present today.

According to the IDC, smart city technology is expected to grow to $135 billion by 2021. If flying taxis or driverless cars are our future transportation, smart cities are taking population growth and urbanization risks by storm.

Below, we assess the benefits of smart cities and how they can improve the lives of their citizens. For a look at what exactly makes a city “smart” and the world’s leading smart cities, jump to the infographic. (source The zebra

What makes a city a smart city?

A smart city, also called an eco-city or sustainable city, has a system of sensors, networks, and applications to collect data that help connect and improve the city. 

To address issues as diverse as traffic congestion and energy use, a smart city uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) systems to connect the data that optimizes every layer of the city. This data helps trigger actions to streamline urban services, reduce costs, and improve people’s overall quality of life. 

Think of it like this: the city talks to you. It tells waste management when a trash bin needs to be emptied or commuters when there’s an open parking spot nearby. 

The data also improves communication between the people who live there, the city, and the government. This connectivity helps build a more efficient and sustainable infrastructure. In some cities, a mobile app is used where citizens can check updates in real-time. 

Why do we need smart cities?

According to the UN, over 40 megacities with more than 10 million people will exist by 2020, with 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050. While some megacities are already struggling to deal with the influx of residents, smart cities are a solution to help make urban areas easier to live in. Better yet, they can help create a more sustainable future. 

Jesse Berst, the Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, said it best: “Cities are our hope for the future. If you’re in the U.S. or Europe, 80 percent of us live in cities already. We can’t solve the planet’s problems unless we solve them in cities.”

Environmental impact

Reducing carbon — or CO2 — footprints is a driving force behind most smart cities. Improving energy efficiency, storage, waste management, and traffic conditions are some of the most effective ways to do so. Electric vehicles, self-service bikes, smart public transport, carpooling networks, and even charging stations give city dwellers sustainable alternatives to support this mission.

  • City example: Jurong, Singapore launched the Open Electricity Market which encourages customers to be more mindful of their electricity usage, by choosing their own electricity price plan.

    Traffic management

    As a city’s population grows, so does the headache of traffic jams and overcrowded public transportation. Smart traffic signals and control sensors help monitor traffic patterns, optimize traffic flow, and relieve congestion during peak travel times. Reduced congestion, autonomous vehicles, and efficient vehicle routing are other benefits to smart city technologies.  

    • City example: The city of Chicago launched an app for commuters to make online payments, view updated train or bus schedules, and track vehicles in real-time.


    Waste removal

    Smart cities address waste management in a strategic way using real-time data systems. To avoid unnecessary trips to empty containers or overflowing waste receptacles, sensors are installed on containers to collect on an as-needed basis. 

    • City example: In Arlington, Virginia, the Solid Waste Bureau collects waste management data using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, which are placed on all of the collection carts.

      Water and energy management

      Water waste management includes everything from solving unknown leaks to combatting over-usage. Smart water grids and smart water management help solve these issues. Smart water grids (SWGs) allow professionals to monitor the quantity and quality of water that’s transported to homes and businesses. Smart water meters, on the other hand, help spot high consumption, leaks, or low water flow and backflow in pipes. 

      • City example: Cape Town, South Africa uses smart meters to track water usage for customers and relays that data to their accounts. They send out itemized bills based on water consumption. 


      Improved security

      Smart cities allow municipalities to monitor safety and security using Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) surveillance cameras. CCTV cameras are now equipped with facial recognition which helps identify suspicious or dangerous individuals. Newer versions of CCTV cameras also have motion and smoke detectors, fire alarms, and even ways to measure air quality.

      • City example: Nairobi, Kenya implemented a communication network that links 1,800 CCTV security cameras to over 100 police bureaus and over 7,000 officers.

        What does it take to become a smart city?

        Not just any city or urban area can be transformed. A city needs to first identify its strengths, key challenges, and goals to work towards. Beyond this, below are the key elements a city needs in place to become a smart city:

        • Infrastructure to support the technologyThis includes both soft infrastructure like regulations, policies, or laws to the hard infrastructure or built environment of roads, utilities, or energy. 
        • Resources and funding for technology. Smart cities require financing to bring the IoT technology to life, often through creative or innovative ways.
        • A taskforce with a leaderFrom a mayor to a city manager, a visionary leader helps to align smart projects and push them forward across the city.  (source The zebra

7 IoT tips for home users

Image Source: Adobe Stock: denisismagilov


Change Default Passwords

According to Brad Ree, CTO of the ioXt Alliance, too many IoT devices have universal, simple passwords, so you should change default passwords and make sure not to reuse passwords. Take advantage of new authentication options, such as Google Authenticator and biometrics, including fingerprint or facial recognition, he adds.

Indeed, default passwords are a major problem across industries because manufacturers share them across product lines and product groups, says Jeremy Boone, technical director at NCC Group. Be aware that more states will pass laws banning default passwords as did California and Oregon. For example, under the California law, single, hard-coded passwords are not allowed, and every IoT device must either have a unique password or require the user to generate a new password before using a device for the first time.

Think with your head

Erez Yalon, director of security research at Checkmarx, points to using some common sense. Think about the kinds of devices you bring into your home and the connectivity they require, he advises. For example, does your baby really need a baby pacifier with an IP address?

Also, just about anything you bring into your home today has a camera and microphone, so start by being aware of the capabilities the unit has and keep it away from your workspace. In addition, turn off IoT devices or put a piece of tape over the camera or microphone when not in use.

Inventory your assets

Consider borrowingg a page from enterprise security pros by creating an inventory of your devices, says Daniel dos Santos, research manager at Forescout Technologies. Even though there’s a lot of focus on the smaller IoT devices, such as babycams and monitors, threat actors are more focused on laptops and smartphones.

“That’s where people store their sensitive data, like their bank accounts and credit cards,” dos Santos says. “And those devices are susceptible to being encrypted by ransomware.”

Segment the home network

With so many devices coming into the home, think about creating a subnet — a segmented piece of a larger network — for your IoT devices, the ioXt Alliance’s Ree says. Most home routers let you run two wireless network names, known as SSIDs, so especially if you’re working from home, you can run one SSID for your work devices and a second one for your home devices and appliances with IP addresses.

Checkmarx’s Yalon echoes Ree about thinking in terms of segmenting devices as they come into the home. For example, when you bring a new device into the house, one of the first questions to ask is which network segment it should reside on.

Buy products from companies that care about IoT security

IoT devices are small devices that often cost $10 or $20 — $100, tops — so margins are thin. That’s why so many IoT manufacturers don’t build security into their devices. On smaller-ticket items, there may not be much of a choice, but for some of the more prominent IoT devices, Checkmarx’s Yalon advises to take take note of how the different companies respond once security researchers point out vulnerabilities in their products.

On two different occasions, once with an Amazon Alexa and also with Google-Samsung on an Android camera, Checkmark found some flaws, and both times the giant tech companies took responsibility and responded within a few weeks with security patches, Yalon notes. Google surprised Checkmark by first releasing a “quick-and-dirty” fix almost immediately to make sure its users were safe, even at the expense of temporarily deactivating a specific feature. Once that was out the door, Google started working on a long-term fix. Amazon, too, was very collaborative and transparent during the entire disclosure and remediating process, Yalon says, not only mitigating the specific attack vector, but learning what the company did, thinking ahead, and placing safety measurements for other attack scenarios.

Look for different features in products that make it easier to reset the device, NCC’s Boone adds. “Take the time to see if there are any added security features and what the security posture of the company is before bringing something into your home,” he says. “At least for now, people should buy from first-line suppliers and known manufacturers.”

Patch and update frequently

Make patching and updating software on your IoT devices a regular part of your routine, Forescout’s dos Santos says. Also, ensure the latest version of the firmware is loaded on the device before using it, as well as turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) on IoT devices and enable https so all web browsing activities are encrypted.

The ioXt’s Ree advises checking to see whether the security has been enabled on your printers or home security cameras. Typically, manufacturers don’t lock down items such as these, so the bad guys can enter your network by sneaking through your peripherals and IoT devices. You can check by entering the IP address of your browser on the command line, and the interface for the product should come up. In many instances, it takes three or four steps to arrive at the passwords link — and that’s if you get past other obstacles because the browser may not tell you to click “Advanced” on the settings.

“There really needs to be an easy way for consumers to get on the settings and in one or two clicks set the password for the printer,” he says. “Most consumers wouldn’t even think to check their printers and set the password.”

Look for 5G SIMs

So much has been written about 5G technology, though much of it is still hype. However, later this year and into the first part of 2021, start looking for 5G SIMs in standard IoT devices, says Jimmy Jones, telecom business development lead at Positive Technologies. You will benefit by getting the same kind of authorization, authentication, and encryption that you get on your smartphones and on most standard IoT devices.

Source: https://www.darkreading.com/

How to Choose a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) for Your Consumer IoT Product

There are a lot of development boards and SoCs available on the market these days. Choosing the right one for your use case can be difficult. We know this because, well, we love working with IoT devices. Although we don’t build hardware at Yonomi, we see first hand how much variability exists in the hardware spaces. That variability can make a big impact on your IoT project.

In this article, we discuss design challenges, cost and delivery for producing devices at scale across three development approaches for prototyping your IoT use case.

Linux-Cased Dev Boards (Raspberry PI/Intel Edison/Pine 64)

We will use the example of a Raspberry PI to cover the wide range of available Linux dev boards.

Raspberry PI is a highly versatile development board. It has many I/O (In and Out) ports, as well as different versions of the board that fit various use cases. At the core of a Raspberry PI is an ARM processor. It can run many different Linux distributions out of the box and has enough RAM (Random Access Memory) to run the most RAM-hungry processes with ease.

Running a Linux OS gives developers the freedom to quickly write firmware code in many different languages.

There are a few things, however, that tip the scale. Writing the firmware can be easy, but managing firmware updates for devices in the field at scale utilizing OTA (Over the Air updates) isn’t straightforward. There aren’t a lot of supplemental libraries or services available to help with OTA implementation, which takes additional development time and adds cost. If a third-party service is used, it will also incur its own cost to manage the OTA updates for your devices.

Raspberry Pi isn’t an ideal board with which to produce an IoT product at scale. The cost of the hardware is generally higher and includes the need for supplementary functionality on the board to package everything into a user-friendly product. Using a Raspberry Pi may also lead to licensing issues when it comes to deploying them in production.

Overall, Raspberry Pi is a great product for rapid prototyping and testing your use cases. However, it requires additional time, cost and effort to turn it into a production-ready device.

ThinCloud supports an SDK for node.js and has a guide that can be followed to prototype your IoT use-case using a Raspberry Pi.

IoT WiFi SoC (ESP8266/ESP32/Marvell-MW320/Arduino-MKR1000)

We will use the example of Espressif ESP8266 to cover the wide range of available System on a Chip (SoC) boards.

ESP8266 is a low-cost WiFi SoC. It’s available as a dev board by different chip manufacturers. It’s highly versatile, low cost and widely used.

There are numerous frameworks in different languages that you can use to write the firmware. The most widely used language for this SoC is C, but you can also use microPython or mongooseOS to write your firmware. You’ll want to make sure the framework you choose has a lot of supporting libraries and a large community of developers maintaining and managing source code and design.

The ESP8266 dev board comes with many I/O ports and has a small memory and compute footprint. This makes it ideal for uses-cases that involve 2-way control and small data footprint (i.e. a cloud-connected light bulb).

OTA support is built into some frameworks available for this board.

There are several things to consider when choosing an SoC. The small compute and memory footprint can sometimes be an issue depending on the use cases that are being implemented. Poorly written firmware can eat away RAM and unknowingly cause the devices to fail and restart intermittently. An end product based on this SoC would require additional circuitry to turn it into a shelf-ready product.

Overall, systems like the Espressif ESP8266 are great for prototyping and are cheap enough to have in an end product manufactured at scale.

ThinCloud supports a C SDK and has a guide that can be followed to prototype your IoT use case using these types of SoCs.

Custom Hardware

Custom Hardware is the most ambitious way to build or prototype your IoT product. Sourcing all the components and managing a design lifecycle over a custom hardware implementation can be a lengthy and costly process. The advantage, however, is complete control over every aspect of your device.

That said, you would still require business specific logic implemented on the hardware. This approach is only beneficial for large enterprises who have the resources to put together a piece of hardware from scratch.

Designing your own hardware requires a lot of R&D upfront to produce a board that is production ready.

Go Build the Future

Regardless of the dev boards and SoCs available today, all shelf-ready IoT products require certain engineering efforts. Choosing the right SoC for your product can be challenging with new solutions on the market every day. Below is a simple checklist to help you choose the right hardware for your next great IoT product:

  • Ability to factory-reset or roll back to factory default firmware
  • Over the Air (OTA) Updates (Cloud-based end-device firmware updates)
  • Secure way to commission/decommission devices on the network
  • Transport-level and end-to-end security
  • Power supply/battery management module (if required for your use-case)

Source: https://www.iotforall.com/

How does IoT work?

Most devices in the future will be connected with each other and a hyper decision framework will define the further course of action.

Before you understand how IoT works, it is important to understand what are the important pieces and how do they piece together the puzzle, let us, therefore, look at what are the different components involved here.

Components of IoT

The main components that makeup IoT include:
1) IoT Sensors
2) Connectivity/Network
3) Cloud
4) Hyper Decision Framework
5) User Interface

IoT Sensors

The “things” in IoT come to life because of sensors. Let’s take an IoT service example, where the heating of a machine is being monitored. In a typical scenario, a heat sensor would display the temperature on an analog or digital screen and someone would be monitoring it physically or on a more advanced level when the heating goes beyond a threshold there would be an alarm raised. You will need to be in proximity to the alarm to take action.

In an IoT setup, however, this sensor would be able to send a message to a decision engine that has rules built in to take the action.

There are many types of such IoT sensors including temperature, humidity, pressure, CO2, light, occupancy, motion and more. What’s important is that these sensors are an integral part of the ‘IoT device components’. They are the origin of truth and when connected with a decision engine, can make things work.

Connectivity / Network

Now that we understand the sensor technology in IoT and what they do, let’s get to know how they communicate with the decision engine.

Decision engines are not new. They have been in existence for a few decades in the form of PLC’s. Most of these connections to the decision engines have been wired. With the increase in sensors and the proliferation of these in various devices and machines, it became more and more important to connect wirelessly.

Various connectivity protocols using radio frequency technology, have emerged in recent years. Some of the most widely used technologies are, Bluetooth Low Energy BLE, LoRa, ZigBee, SigFox and NB-IoT. There is no need to get flabbergasted by these terms. In simple terms, all these technologies have modulated the radio frequencies to provide wireless connectivity for data originating from IoT sensors.

While all the above technologies have use case-based applications in IoT, the one that has gained the most popularity is BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). Most IoT sensors can send their data to BLE using UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter) and Modbus communication protocols, BLE devices have the ability to transmit this information wirelessly, to other BLE devices and or BLE receivers called Gateways.

While adding many receivers may not be possible either because of the cost or due to infrastructure limitations, BLE devices can be arranged in a Mesh Network, so that the intended receiver can receive the message through nodes that are connected on the Mesh Network. Solutions like these have made the proliferation of IoT sensors and devices across industries such as healthcare, retail, logistics and manufacturing

Once the receivers have received the data, they can send this information to the decision engines, which are mostly sitting in the cloud Private or Public cloud using onboard GPRS, WiFi, or LTE.

IoT Cloud

Now that we have been able to send the data to the cloud, let’s try and understand what is the IoT Cloud and how it is an integral part to understanding how IoT works.

IoT sensors are usually resource-constrained and require a destination where they can send the data. An MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport) protocol is generally used by these IoT sensors to transmit data. MQTT works like a broker that receives and transmits information to whoever subscribes to it on a topic. This MQTT server is generally also called the IoT server. Generally, rules are defined on this server so that data can be filtered as it comes in.

Some have confusion on why should one need an IoT server? The rate at which the IoT sensors send data, a regular server would not be able to handle the requests.

At QuicSolv Technologies, along with the MQTT, we have built a ‘Hyper Decision Framework’ called ISAE. Data from the IoT cloud server, is sent to this framework. Let’s now understand what is ISAE and why is it required.

Hyper Decision Framework – ISAE

IoT sensors have the ability to send data to the cloud. What we do with that data is very important. In one of our employee monitoring solutions, if an employee accidentally enters a hazard area, the hyper decision framework immediately sends an alarm and notification to people involved. So, let’s break this down to understand how IoT worked. The employee tag worn by the employee sent a message to the receiver that ‘I (40567) am here. The receiver sent this message to the MQTT server. The Hyper Decision Framework picked this up and checked if the employee ID 40567 was authorized to be in the area. If not, it sent out the alarms.

So, a hyper decision framework is a set of rules built inside a rule engine that works at hyper speeds. The analysis of information received and mapping this information against a set of rules that may overlap with each other and executing the decision associated with the rule is what we call the hyper decision framework.

As another example, you may experience that in some movie theaters when the theater is not full, the temperature inside could be lower than what is comfortable and when the theater is full, you would like the temperature to be a bit lower to make it comfortable. This is because the HVAC is sending the same amount of airflow irrespective of the number of people inside the theater. By using our Occupancy IoT Sensor, we could send the number of people in the theater to the Hyper Decision Engine and it could automatically regulate the airflow, thereby, not only reducing the cost but also making our movie watching experience better.

User Interface

Lastly, there needs to be an interface to this entire system. This may manifest typically as a mobile application and it can also be used as a web-based application. This will help to provide the Machine to People interface to the solution.

This interface will help the user to interact with the system, like in the case of home automation the user interface provided will help the user to switch on or off the lights or fan in a specific room. In an industrial application, the shop floor manager can directly control a machine based on the data inputs.

IoT in the Real World

Now that we have understood the concepts, let’s understand a few ‘Examples on How IoT Works’

Shopping Mall – Proximity Marketing

The shopper of today likes to feel and touch a product before making a purchase but also prefers the convenience of a digital lense. Today, IoT is making proximity marketing a reality such that when a shopper who frequents a particular store is in close proximity of that store, IoT sensors can send the information of the user to the hyper decision framework, that will analyze shopper behavior and shopping pattern to send the right message, at the right location, at the right time and to the right person. More examples

Source : https://www.iotforall.com/

Internet of Everything vs Internet of Things: What’s the Difference?

Unless you’re an expert, there’s little difference between the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE). However, the latter term is broader, semantically. In this post, the author will go into the details to explain why IoT software development companies use the term IoE comparatively rarely.

The Difference

The term IoT was coined in 1999 to refer to machine-to-machine, or M2M, communication. IoE appeared a few years later, to describe interrelated elements of a whole system, including people. IoE entails not only M2M communication but also P2M (people-to-machine) and even P2P (people-to-people) communication.

To understand the differences between the three types of communication, let’s consider several examples. Say it got dark outside and you turned on a light in the office, then you sat and typed on a keyboard. This scenario provides P2M examples of IoE.

We are so used to these things that we don’t even realize they are part of a system. Another example: You make a Skype call to your colleague. That’s a simple human-to-human, or P2P, communication. An example of M2M communication, on the other hand, is the process of data exchange between your office temperature sensing devices and the HVAC mainframe.

You might think M2M communication, being technological, is the most progressive means of interaction. but IoE focuses on P2M and P2P interactions as the most valuable. According to a Cisco analysis, as of 2022, 55% of connections will be of these two types. 

IoE is now considered the next stage of IoT development. Maybe this is why there are so few IoT development companies offering IoE development services at the moment. Internet of Things solutions are now more common and widespread.

4 Main Elements of the IoE Concept


By thing, we mean an element of the system that participates in communication. A thing is an object capable of gathering information and sharing it with other elements of the system. The number of such connected devices, according to Cisco, will exceed 50 billion by 2020. 

What are things? In the IoT, a thing could be any object, from a smart gadget to a building rig. In the IoE, that expands to include, say, a nurse, as well as an MRI machine and a “smart” eyedropper. Any element that has a built-in sensing system and is connected on a network can be a part of the IoE.


People play a central role in the IoE concept, as without them there would be no linking bridge, no intelligent connection. It is people who connect the Internet of Things, analyze the received data and make data-driven decisions based on the statistics. People are at the center of M2M, P2M, P2P communications. People can also become connected themselves, for example, nurses working together in a healthcare center.


In 2020, it’s projected that everyone using the internet will be receiving up to 1.7 MB of data per second.

As the amount of data available to us grows, management of all that information becomes more complicated. But it’s a crucial task because, without proper analysis, data is useless. Data is a constituent of both IoT and IoE. But it turns into beneficial insights only in the Internet of Everything. Otherwise, it’s just filling up memory storage.


Process is the component innate to IoE. This is how all the other elements — people, things, data — work together to provide a smart, viable system. When all the elements are properly interconnected, each element receives the needed data and transfers it on to the next receiver. The magic takes place through wired or wireless connections.

Another way to explain this is that IoT describes a network and things, while IoE describes a network, things, and also people, data, and process.

Where Is IoE Applied?

As to the market, we can say confidently that IoT is a technology of any industry. IoE technology is especially relevant to some of the most important fields, including (1) manufacturing, (2) retail, (3) information, (4) finance & insurance, (5) healthcare. 

IoE technology has virtually unlimited possibilities. Here’s one example: More than 800 bicyclists die in traffic crashes around the world annually. What if there was a way to connect bike helmets with traffic lights, ambulances, and the hospital ecosystem in a single IoE. Would that increase the chances of survival for at least some of those cyclists? 

Another example: Do you realize how much food goes to waste, say at large supermarkets, because food isn’t purchased by its best-before date? Some perishable products like fruit and vegetables are thrown away due to overstocks even before they get to the market. What happens if you find a way to connect your food stocks with the racks and forklifts of the supermarket in-stock control system using IoE?

There are endless variations on uses of IoE right now, and many of them are already becoming familiar in our “smart” homes.

Source : https://www.iotforall.com/