The Internet of Things (IoT) vision can become reality, enabling the large spectrum of opportunities the industry is imagining, only if it is designed with a security-centric framework, according to experts.
The development of IoT services currently faces many challenges — the difficulties in improving the existing network infrastructure and access, the need to accommodate exponential connection growth and the diverse requirements for bandwidth and reliability.
However, “we strongly believe that a wide-spectrum of innovative IoT applications will keep emerging,” said Chen Jie, Chief Information Officer of ZTE Corp, at CES.
IoT provides tremendous opportunities to industry players and consumers, said Chen. “It will change how society works and how individuals live,” Chen said.
“We’re on the eve of a powerful new IoT-enabled revolution in business and as a global society.”
Obviously, the concept of IoT is booming and becoming a subject of discussion for industry players. Connectivity probably is the most-heard term at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), along with “innovation”.
All companies, no matter how large or small, are trying to come up with solutions for many of the world’s most challenging problems through the Internet of Things (IoT), and they are touching literally every facet of our lives.
Like never before, China’s delegations — including Huawei, Lenovo, Haier, ZTE, Xiaomi and many small startups — queued up to flaunt their innovations, trying to live up to all of this year’s hype with their exhibits ranging from smart homes and smart cars to smart cities and the IoT.
More importantly, Chinese companies are joining the international competition by not only operating in accordance with the industry standards, but also by striving to be part of the standards by serving on various industry committees.
Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE Corp joined LORA (low power wide area) in June, becoming one of the board members with influence on the deployment and development of a low-power worldwide network.
The phrase IoT, originally coined in 1999 by a British technology guru who co-founded the auto-ID center at MIT, refers to the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology communications and senses or interacts with their internal states or the external environment.
According to Gartner Inc, the whole IoT business will generate roughly $310 billion in revenue by 2020 with a compound growth rate of over 60 percent. The growth rate in such fields as vehicle, energy, industry and household security can rocket to 80 percent.
Meanwhile, Chen revealed ZTE’s five-year strategic plan, called M-ICT 2.0, which consists of virtualization, openness, intelligence, cloudification and IoT VOICE. Specifically, ZTE is focusing on smart city, smart home, industrial internet and car internet.
To date, ZTE has been involved in the construction of more than 150 smart city projects across China.
“We have a very active participation in the smart city business,” Chen said. “The number of smart city projects in which we are involved is growing every month. We offer solutions including smart metering, smart lighting and smart parking for municipal and regional governments.”
The smart city execution in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, is one of ZTE’s acclaimed projects. Under the terms of the contract signed in 2014, ZTE will help Yinchuan install smart transportation, surveillance, community, environmental protection, all-in-one cards, tourism, an enterprise cloud, government and a big data analytics center.
ZTE has also created several vertical IoT solutions with local partners, launching a 5G innovative lab with China Mobile last June.
ZTE has its footprint in smart city projects in Laos, Sri Lanka, France, Romania, Turkey, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chile, Venezuela, and Uruguay. Its wireless, wireline and broadband cable services are in more than 70 countries worldwide.
In Paris, “we cooperated with our partners to provide a smart lighting solution for the city, a project we named ‘The City of Lights,'” said Chen. Through sensors in smart streetlamps, the system can centralize resource management and reduce energy costs by 30 percent.
There are fears that lots of devices are threatened as a result of loopholes in security which could be a very big challenge for consumers.
“I would say that the understanding of security in consumer IoT products and solutions is immature”, says Saverio Romeo, Principal Analyst at Beecham Research.
“Attacks on various consumer connected devices show the vast spectrum of vulnerabilities and the inability of protecting against them so far. In contrast, the enterprise IoT security group shows more consciousness of the problem and, consequently, pays much more attention to introducing the right security approach in products and solutions”, he says.
Although, consumers could a couple of things to ensure tight fisted security measures to make sure that their devices are not vulnerable. The sophistication of an IoT approach starts from being really mindful of the device or the solution, Romeo says.
Being aware that security is not an addon, but a key part of the design from the inception of the idea is a key part of becoming sophisticated. The concept of security-by-design summarises that attitude