Gartner, Inc., the IT research firm based in Stamford, Connecticut, recently published a forecast for the top ten IoT technology challenges for the coming two years. The list covers a lot of ground, from hardware issues like optimizing device-level processors and network performance to such software considerations as developing analytics and IoT operating systems to abstract concepts like maintaining standards, ecosystems, and security.
“The IoT demands an extensive range of new technologies and skills that many organizations have yet to master,” said Nick Jones, Gartner vice president analyst. “A recurring theme in the IoT space is the immaturity of technologies and services and of the vendors providing them.”
Heading the list of needed expertise is security. “Experienced IoT security specialists are scarce, and security solutions are currently fragmented and involve multiple vendors,” said Mr. Jones. “New threats will emerge through 2021 as hackers find new ways to attack IoT devices and protocols, so long-lived ‘things’ may need updatable hardware and software to adapt during their life span.”
To anyone considering the IoT, and particularly the Industrial IoT (IIoT) or Industrie 4.0, this should be a wake-up call. As the recent power-grid hack in the Ukraine shows us, old-school approaches like VPNs will not be sufficient when an industrial system is exposed to the Internet. In the IoT environment, Skkynet’s secure by design approach ensures not only a fully integrated approach for the security issues that many are aware of today, but also a forward-looking approach that will meet future challenges.
Having taken security into consideration, there are other items on the list that we see as significant challenges, and for which we provide solutions. Among these are:
- IoT Device Management – Each device needs some way to manage software updates, do crash analysis and reporting, implement security, and more. This in turn needs some kind of bidirectional data flow such as provided by SkkyHub, along with a management system capable of working with huge numbers of devices.
- Low-Power Network Support – Range, power and bandwidth restraints are among the constraints of IoT networks. The data-centric architecture of SkkyHub and the Skkynet ETK ensure the most efficient use of available resources.
- IoT Processors and Operating Systems – The tiny devices that will make up most of the IoT demand specialized hardware and software that combine the necessary capabilities of low power consumption, strong security, tiny footprint, and real-time response. The Skkynet ETK was designed for specifically this kind of system, and can be modified to meet the requirements of virtually any operating system.
- Event-Stream Processing – As data flows through the system, some IoT applications may need to process and/or analyze it in real time. This ability, combined with edge processing in which some data aggregation or analysis might take place on the device itself, can enhance the value of an IoT system with little added cost. Skkynet’s unique architecture provides this kind of capability as well.
According to Gartner, and in our experience, these are some of the technical hurdles facing the designers and implementers of the IoT for the coming years. As IoT technology continues to advance and mature, we can expect other challenges to appear, and we look forward to meeting those as well.