The Internet of Things, like most things that seem new and exciting, is really based on what has gone before, and it will be built incrementally. It is not, and it will not be, a revolution. What is SCADA if not the precursor to the IoT? The difference is that today we can find most of the infrastructure needed already created, and SCADA systems typically were built from scratch.
From the perspective of the designer considering how to add Internet enablement and reporting to a device that (today) is inanimate, most of what you need is there for free. The Internet is ubiquitous, and 3G/LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth® are pervasive. That smart phone in your pocket means you have a screen, keyboard, and network connection for just about any device that needs one. The question becomes, what do you need that is NOT there for you to use/repurpose, and how do you add it?
The obvious thing that is missing is security, but we also demand convenience. Every new device put on the market can’t have its own unique infrastructure and user application. We all have too many passwords and systems to log into. We need common, inclusive infrastructure. It is unlikely that there will be only one, but there can’t be hundreds. This is why we are developing bWare – to provide different manufacturers with a common shared way to Internet enable their devices.
In our view the discussion of IoT has been dominated by home automation and wearable tech. This market will probably develop more slowly than most think, and that space will become crowded quickly. We think the B2B space will move forward at a more predictable pace based on demand for practical solutions to real world problems – generally related to loss prevention and occupational health and safety.
Deployment – new devices should be simple to associate with an enterprise, specific people, and a purpose. We don’t want a new method and software for every device, we will be doing this a lot.
Management – access to the device, its rights and permissions (including who has access to the device and its data), must be securely managed. If the IoT fulfills its promise, we will all have a lot of devices to manage.
Information Reporting – who can see the data must be well guarded, but it also needs to be efficiently managed. We don’t want every byte and every event reported by our devices competing for our attention. We need a clean, noise free way for important information and alerts to reach us, and we need to see what we should do about the information.
bWare was originally conceived as a security system to support our family of electronic locks – bLock. Our focus on the three key characteristics has never changed – it has to be nearly trivial to add a new bLock, they have to be secure and centrally managed, and we have to manage information and alerts efficiently.
What has happened since then is we considered the requirements for our infrastructure, and compared it to other enterprise applications of technology. We found our approach had broad applications, and because of our experience with large scale secure, shared infrastructure, and our intense focus on distributed security and access management, bWare would work for just about any Internet connected information reporting device.
Author: Paul Hanson
Paul is the Founder & CEO of bbotx. He has developed and marketed software products in different market segments in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East over the past 20 years – doing business and working in 40 countries.