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Electric charge points

A charging point is the device that powers the electric vehicle. There are many types with different features: power, charging time, installation cost…
Remember that the use of an electric vehicle reduces
– CO2 emissions
– Noise
– Pollution
– Maintenance and fuel costs

If you want to know, What an electric charge point is? and how to install it?. Download the information guide designed as a part of the MAtchUP project. 

Source lasnaves.com

The real cost to develop an IoT product

The two most common concerns for companies getting into IoT are the cost of initial software development (or “integration”) and ongoing expenses after devices have been deployed. As key stakeholders ponder over the ever-present build vs buy dilemma, the ones who lean towards building often tend to significantly underestimate both.

So what goes into IoT product development and maintenance? What kind of budgets and timelines should you as an entrepreneur plan for if you choose to invest in building your own software rather than choosing one of the available platform solutions? We’ll try to break it down for you in this quick overview.

This article is specifically focused on IoT software; we can talk about hardware in another post. We can also spend a whole new article talking about the true hidden costs of integrating IoT into business operations. E.g., preparing your organization, getting all of the right departments to use the new tech, customer support needs you never thought about, etc. If you would like to hear about that, put it in the comments section.

Software Components and Expertise Required

Let’s take a look at a minimum set of software products you would need today to run a connected product, business or service.


Firmware is software that is uploaded and then runs on the hardware. It provides a low-level control for the device’s specific logic. Networks and connectivity are a part of firmware development and crucial for any IoT implementation.

Expertise required: embedded development: C, C++

When you work with electronics, firmware development is the key piece of software, and it is very beneficial to have your own engineering team working on it. Firmware development can be split into two parts: writing code that runs the business logic and controls the device’s electric circuit and code that manages the connectivity and data transfer to/from the cloud.

You would also need resources to test the firmware. Count in another QA specialist or trust your engineers. An important element to consider is integrating firmware over-the-air updates (OTA or FOTA) from the very beginning. It can mitigate a lot of issues but can also create a lot of trouble when executed poorly. 

FOTA technology allows manufacturers to remotely install new software, release patches and bug fixes, or update features and services after the device has been deployed to the jobsite, home, or office. FOTA involves recurring costs, mostly on the Cloud side. Often this functionality is covered by IoT platforms.  

As with any other software development, in a long-term perspective, expect fixing bugs, releasing new versions, dealing with memory leaks, providing technical support, etc. The major ongoing expenses you would face are human resources to perform all of these tasks.

Once your company collects enough data for analysis, another piece could become important: optimized ML models that can run on the device. For such development, you would need a data scientist familiar with embedded tech experience. 


Cloud is any service made available to users on-demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider’s servers. The IoT servers have different purposes, like administration, monitoring, data gathering, and analysis.

Expertise required: Backend development based on a choice of technology, big data processing, DevOps (maintenance and support).  

You can develop your own server application or use services like AWS, Azure and build on top of that. If you decide to build your own backend, you would need highly skilled engineers with a deep understanding of the solution chosen and a support team to maintain the system once deployed. 

Count in at least one DevOps engineer to keep an eye on the system when in production.


Recurring costs, apart from salaries, are cloud hosting, domain names rent, SSL/tls certificates purchase and updates, storage, and backups.

Depending on whether you choose to develop your own backend or stick to a ready-to-use solution, the initial investment range will vary. However, running a cloud server will always involve recurring costs and will only increase once your business scales up.


Once the device is connected, in today’s reality, you would need a user interface to interact with the device or service, configure it, control and monitor remotely, visualize processes, etc. It can be a touch control, a mobile app, a web app, a voice app (e.g., Amazon Alexa skill), etc.

Working with deployed connected products usually requires two different apps: customer-facing applications and applications for internal company use (device management, analytics, device health tracking, data traffic). 

Expertise required: design thinking, product ideation, UX, visual design, mobile, and front-end development.

Application development ideally starts early when a company defines a business case, common use-cases, user experience, and product lifecycle in general. It’s an iterative process similar to any software development. Generally, it can be split into phases: requirements, UX (user experience) + visual design, web and mobile application development, delivery, support.

Note that a really high bar has been set for great user experience, design, and friendly apps during recent years. 

Any software development is an ongoing process. While your product is live, you will be facing bug fixing, optimization issues, support questions, redesign requests, new features development, etc.

Data Management and Maintenance costs

In this term, we have to separate the hosting and maintenance costs. The hosting cost is more affordable in the long run and helps to eliminate multiple risks compared to the cost of having a team maintain a cloud on their own.

Timeline and Budget

I’ve been working in software development for over 20 years, and I don’t believe that any high-quality software can be developed in less than 9 months. Add a time buffer for bug fixing, requirements, and documentation writing, and you get a 12 month period – a more realistic timeframe. If you disagree, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 

Building IoT Software

As you can see, building your own IoT software from scratch is not a cheap endeavor, especially with a team based in the USA. If you have all of the right people on board and have a bulletproof ROI model for your IoT investment – go for it, build in-house. But if you are an OEM whose main focus remains on their core products and you care about optimizing costs and your time to market – then you are probably better off leveraging a solid IoT platform. Those folks have already spent those years (and in most cases, millions) building out the software you need and testing it out with real clients, in real-world conditions, with all of the priceless learnings that come with that.

Source www.iotforall.com

15 Tech pros on the best IoT applications on the market right now

From voice assistants to smart home devices, the Internet of Things is rapidly changing both how we live and how we work. With a projected 83 billion IoT connections by 2024, this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.


As the IoT continues to grow and add new functionalities, it’s important to understand what’s currently available and how these devices can transform life for consumers and businesses. Below, 15 tech experts from Forbes Technology Council discuss the best IoT devices and applications on the market right now and why each is so valuable.

1. Touchless Transaction Devices

The best IoT devices include those that enable touchless transactions, such as contactless payment and data collection and tracking devices. From a standpoint of cleanliness, these include any devices that reduce the transmission of germs and help to end the pandemic. Additionally, in the work-from-home era, home automation has become extremely popular, which also reduces contact transmission in the home. – Kevin Beasley, VAI

2. Personal Fitness Devices

The best IoT devices are those that support personal fitness, which has become a leading issue in our current time. The ability to go to health clubs has been diminished by regulations, and many individuals choose to avoid it for health reasons. What has kept me and others sane through this period is the Peloton bike. – Thomas McElroy, Level-1 Global Solutions, LLC

3. Ingestible Diagnostic Devices

Myriad ingestible medical devices are coming to market with multiple different use cases. The ability to ingest a “pill” that then pulls data from inside your body and delivers that information back to deep learning frameworks is huge. Forget wearable tech—ingestible tech is something that can replace that market. – Damian Ehrlicher, Protected IT

4. Health Monitors

As an avid fitness geek and cyclist (and overall geek), I like to monitor everything I can about how I am feeling and recovering—both more important than ever in the era of Covid-19. Devices such as WHOOP and the Oura Ring see patterns, understand our health and compare data with millions of users and athletes around the world. I have been impressed by how they’re able to detect Covid-19 early and improve recovery. – Jason CarolanFlexential

5. CGM Devices

As a Type 1 diabetic, seeing continuous glucose monitoring devices moving to support the IoT is a huge advance. The benefits of delivering seamless remote monitoring of blood glucose for parents when their children are out or sending alerts directly to medical professionals are huge. Given the potential size of the market and the effect these devices can have on well-being, they top my list. – Al KingsleyNetSupport Limited

6. Infrastructure IoT

The best IoT devices on the market are the ones we don’t ever see. The critical infrastructure all around us that keeps the cars moving through your city and the water pumping to your house are performing invaluable tasks for us every day, and most of us are totally unaware. Consumer IoT development is exciting, but infrastructure IoT is where the real magic happens. – Dick Wilkinson, New Mexico Supreme Court

6. Fleet Management Software

The most interesting innovation happening in IoT right now is not with the devices themselves—which are mostly sensors and processors—but instead with fleet management and monitoring software. Being able to maintain the health and security of multiple generations of both hardware and software via a set of low-cost devices that are sent out into the field is huge. – Joaquin Lippincott, Metal Toad

7. Sensor Hubs

The best IoT devices incorporate the intelligence required to both sense key parameters of the real world that surrounds them and convey vital telemetry upstream for analytics that maximizes situational awareness. For example, sensor hubs on trucks can provide fleet dispatchers with information about the engine, cargo and even the driver—all essential to ensuring on-time deliveries. – William Bain, ScaleOut Software, Inc.

8. Click Boards

There are a lot of innovative IoT devices on the market today, and the possibilities are endless. However, particularly beneficial is the vast click board portfolio from MikroElektronika, which includes over 1,000 devices. These click boards have become the critical starting point for every IoT project and are a key component of the IoT ecosystem. – Wolfgang Thieme, BehrTech

9. Firewalls

By far, the most important IoT device for businesses is the network firewall you implement to protect, track and control your IoT devices and your network. Put all your IoT devices on a common, separate Wi-Fi network. Most “next-gen” firewalls have threat detection and intrusion prevention. Monitor those reports and talk to your IT department to interpret them. IoT devices attempt to discover the rest of your network and routinely send data back to the manufacturer. – Jim Nekos, Edge Technology Group

10. Climate Control Devices

Climate change is probably the most critical challenge facing humanity today. States and countries have been experiencing more frequent and longer power outages due to harsher weather conditions and record-setting temperatures. The IoT can help to tackle climate change through connected devices such as the Nest thermostat, which can play a pivotal role in managing peak demand and grid stability. – Ahmad (Al) Fares, Celitech – Cellular Data Platform

11. Voice Assistants

The best IoT devices out there are voice assistants. In the future, there will be no keyboards, no buttons, no touch screens and so on for anything from TVs to cars and more—it will all be voice-driven. Even though it is taking a long time to get there, we are closer than ever to that being a reality. Imagine walking around the world with no devices on you and being able to ask for what you need. – Mercedes Soria, Knightscope

12. iPhone 12

The iPhone 12, with built-in LiDAR capabilities, is the best device on the market right now. This device takes us one step closer to creating a digital copy of our world. The inbuilt LiDAR technology allows limitless possibilities for mass augmented reality integration, which will allow us to overlay and enhance the real world with digital capabilities. – Alex Dzyuba, Lucid Reality Labs

13. Smartwatches

For an IoT device to demonstrate its value, it must promise convenience while having the ability to make decisions when its owner can’t. A smartwatch not only provides conveniences such as communication but can also act if the user is unable to—for example, detecting a fall, heart arrhythmia and other issues. As the safety, security and insurance ecosystem grows, this IoT device will become even more instrumental. The next step is the connected car. – Spiros Liolis, Micro Focus

14. Tile Trackers And SmartTags

Tracking devices such as Tile Trackers and SmartTags are amazing. With the introduction of the sticker versions, their usability has greatly increased, and I believe the size will go down even further in the future. Add to that global, low-cost satellite connectivity from companies such as Swarm, and we are looking at never losing anything again. – Vikram Joshi, pulsd

15. The Combination Of Personalized IoT Devices Working Together

In recent decades, we have experienced a transition from mass production to mass personalization. How do we personalize products and services at scale? The answer is with real-time information coming from a secure yet diverse set of IoT devices—cars, TVs, refrigerators, thermostats, medical devices and so on. The IoT of the future is not a single device but a highly personalized platform. – Augusto Perazzo, Me in Te

Source: Forbes.es

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/