Standards and standards organizations
This is a list of technical standards for the IoT, most of which are open standards, and the standards organizations that aspire to successfully setting them.
|Auto-ID Labs||—||Networked RFID (radiofrequency identification) and emerging sensing technologies|
|EPCglobal||—||Standards for adoption of EPC (Electronic Product Code) technology|
|FDA||U.S. Food and Drug Administration||UDI (Unique Device Identification) system for unique identifiers for medical devices|
|GS1||—||Standards for UIDs (unique identifiers) and RFID of fast-moving consumer goods (consumer packaged goods), health care supplies, and other things||Parent organization comprises member organizations such as GS1 US|
|IEEE||Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers||Underlying communication technology standards such as IEEE 802.15.4|
|IETF||Internet Engineering Task Force||Standards that comprise TCP/IP (the Internet protocol suite)|
|MTConnect Institute||—||MTConnect is a manufacturing industry standard for data exchange with machine tools and related industrial equipment. It is important to the IIoT subset of the IoT.|
|OCF||Open Connectivity Foundation||Standards for simple devices using CoAP (Constrained Application Protocol)||OCF (Open Connectivity Foundation) supersedes OIC (Open Interconnect Consortium)|
|OMA||Open Mobile Alliance||OMA DM and OMA LWM2M for IoT device management, as well as GotAPI, which provides a secure framework for IoT applications|
|XSF||XMPP Standards Foundation||Protocol extensions of XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), the open standard of instant messaging|
Enabling technologies for IoT
There are many technologies that enable IoT. Crucial to the field is the network used to communicate between devices of an IoT installation, a role that several wireless or wired technologies may fulfill:
The original idea of the Auto-ID Center is based on RFID-tags and unique identification through the Electronic Product Code, however, this has evolved into objects having an IP address or URI. An alternative view, from the world of the Semantic Web focuses instead on making all things (not just those electronic, smart, or RFID-enabled) addressable by the existing naming protocols, such as URI. The objects themselves do not converse, but they may now be referred to by other agents, such as powerful centralized servers acting for their human owners. Integration with the Internet implies that devices will use an IP address as a unique identifier. Due to the limited address space of IPv4 (which allows for 4.3 billion unique addresses), objects in the IoT will have to use the next generation of the Internet protocol (IPv6) to scale to the extremely large address space required. Internet-of-things devices additionally will benefit from the stateless address auto-configuration present in IPv6, as it reduces the configuration overhead on the hosts, and the IETF 6LoWPAN header compression. To a large extent, the future of the Internet of things will not be possible without the support of IPv6; and consequently, the global adoption of IPv6 in the coming years will be critical for the successful development of the IoT in the future.
- Bluetooth mesh networking – Specification providing a mesh networking variant to Bluetooth low energy (BLE) with increased number of nodes and standardized application layer (Models).
- Light-Fidelity (Li-Fi) – Wireless communication technology similar to the Wi-Fi standard, but using visible light communication for increased bandwidth.
- Near-field communication (NFC) – Communication protocols enabling two electronic devices to communicate within a 4 cm range.
- QR codes and barcodes – Machine-readable optical tags that store information about the item to which they are attached.
- Radio-frequency identification (RFID) – Technology using electromagnetic fields to read data stored in tags embedded in other items.
- Thread – Network protocol based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, similar to ZigBee, providing IPv6 addressing.
- Transport Layer Security – Network security protocol.
- Wi-Fi – Widely used technology for local area networking based on the IEEE 802.11 standard, where devices may communicate through a shared access point.
- Wi-Fi Direct – Variant of the Wi-Fi standard for peer-to-peer communication, eliminating the need for an access point.
- Z-Wave – Communication protocol providing short-range, low-latency data transfer at rates and power consumption lower than Wi-Fi. Used primarily for home automation.
- ZigBee – Communication protocols for personal area networking based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard, providing low power consumption, low data rate, low cost, and high throughput.
- HaLow – Variant of the Wi-Fi standard providing extended range for low-power communication at a lower data rate.
- LTE-Advanced – High-speed communication specification for mobile networks. Provides enhancements to the LTE standard with extended coverage, higher throughput, and lower latency.
- Low-power wide-area networking (LPWAN) – Wireless networks designed to allow long-range communication at a low data rate, reducing power and cost for transmission. Available LPWAN technologies and protocols: LoRaWan, Sigfox, NB-IoT, Weightless.
- Very small aperture terminal (VSAT) – Satellite communication technology using small dish antennas for narrowband and broadband data.
- Long-range Wi-Fi connectivity
- Ethernet – General purpose networking standard using twisted pair and fiber optic links in conjunction with hubs or switches.
- Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) – Specification enabling whole-home distribution of high definition video and content over existing coaxial cabling.
- Power-line communication (PLC) – Communication technology using electrical wiring to carry power and data. Specifications such as HomePlug or G.hn utilize PLC for networking IoT devices.
IoT modeling and simulation (and emulation) is typically carried out at the design stage before deployment of the network. Network simulators like OPNET and TETCOS NetSim can be used to simulate IoT networks. Digital Twins may also be implemented to produce updates on the status and health of an asset, based upon sensor readings integrated with a computational model of the asset. The original twin model idea came from, in which a physical operation was coupled with a virtual operation by means of an intelligent reasoning agent. The detailed version of this concept is presented in.
Beyond of networking, a number of API simulation frameworks (such as Hoverfly, Wiremock, sMockin, SoapUI etc..) have emerged to help simplify IoT development. These remove the need for a full end to end integration setup, by allowing developers to quickly replicate the behaviour of any third party web services their application may need to interface with.
Politics and civic engagement
Some scholars and activists argue that the IoT can be used to create new models of civic engagement if device networks can be open to user control and inter-operable platforms. Philip N. Howard, a professor and author, writes that political life in both democracies and authoritarian regimes will be shaped by the way the IoT will be used for civic engagement. For that to happen, he argues that any connected device should be able to divulge a list of the "ultimate beneficiaries" of its sensor data and that individual citizens should be able to add new organizations to the beneficiary list. In addition, he argues that civil society groups need to start developing their IoT strategy for making use of data and engaging with the public.
Government regulation on IoT
One of the key drivers of the IoT is data. The success of the idea of connecting devices to make them more efficient is dependent upon access to and storage & processing of data. For this purpose, companies working on IoT collect data from multiple sources and store it in their cloud network for further processing. This leaves the door wide open for privacy and security dangers and single point vulnerability of multiple systems. The other issues pertain to consumer choice and ownership of data and how it is used. Presently the regulators have shown more interest in protecting the first three issues identified above. IoT regulation depends on the country. Some examples of legislation that is relevant to privacy and data collection are: the US Privacy Act of 1974, OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data of 1980, and the EU Directive 95/46/EC of 1995.
Current regulatory environment:
A report published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in January 2015 made the following three recommendations:
- Data security – At the time of designing IoT companies should ensure that data collection, storage and processing would be secure at all times. Companies should adopt a “defence in depth” approach and encrypt data at each stage.
- Data consent – users should have a choice as to what data they share with IoT companies and the users must be informed if their data gets exposed.
- Data minimization – IoT companies should collect only the data they need and retain the collected information only for a limited time.
However, the FTC stopped at just making recommendations for now. According to an FTC analysis, the existing framework, consisting of the FTC Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, along with developing consumer education and business guidance, participation in multi-stakeholder efforts and advocacy to other agencies at the federal, state and local level, is sufficient to protect consumer rights.
A resolution passed by the Senate in March 2015, is already being considered by the Congress. This resolution recognized the need for formulating a National Policy on IoT and the matter of privacy, security and spectrum. Furthermore, to provide an impetus to the IoT ecosystem, in March 2016, a bipartisan group of four Senators proposed a bill, The Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act, to direct the Federal Communications Commission to assess the need for more spectrum to connect IoT devices.
Several standards for the IoT industry are actually being established relating to automobiles because most concerns arising from use of connected cars apply to healthcare devices as well. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is preparing cybersecurity guidelines and a database of best practices to make automotive computer systems more secure.
A recent report from the World Bank examines the challenges and opportunities in government adoption of IoT. These include -
- Still early days for IoT in government
- Underdeveloped policy and regulatory frameworks
- Unclear business models, despite strong value proposition
- Clear institutional and capacity gap in government AND the private sector
- Inconsistent data valuation and management
- Infrastructure a major barrier
- Government as an enabler
- Most successful pilots share common characteristics (public-private partnership, local, leadership)
Criticism and controversies
IoT suffers from platform fragmentation and lack of technical standards a situation where the variety of IoT devices, in terms of both hardware variations and differences in the software running on them, makes the task of developing applications that work consistently between different inconsistent technology ecosystems hard. Customers may be hesitant to bet their IoT future on a proprietary software or hardware devices that uses proprietary protocols that may fade or become difficult to customize and interconnect.
IoT's amorphous computing nature is also a problem for security, since patches to bugs found in the core operating system often do not reach users of older and lower-price devices. One set of researchers say that the failure of vendors to support older devices with patches and updates leaves more than 87% of active Android devices vulnerable.
Privacy, autonomy, and control
Philip N. Howard, a professor and author, writes that the Internet of things offers immense potential for empowering citizens, making government transparent, and broadening information access. Howard cautions, however, that privacy threats are enormous, as is the potential for social control and political manipulation.
Concerns about privacy have led many to consider the possibility that big data infrastructures such as the Internet of things and data mining are inherently incompatible with privacy. Writer Adam Greenfield claims that these technologies are not only an invasion of public space but are also being used to perpetuate normative behavior, citing an instance of billboards with hidden cameras that tracked the demographics of passersby who stopped to read the advertisement.
The Internet of Things Council compared the increased prevalence of digital surveillance due to the Internet of things to the conceptual panopticon described by Jeremy Bentham in the 18th Century. The assertion was defended by the works of French philosophers Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. In Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison Foucault asserts that the panopticon was a central element of the discipline society developed during the Industrial Era. Foucault also argued that the discipline systems established in factories and school reflected Bentham's vision of panopticism. In his 1992 paper "Postscripts on the Societies of Control," Deleuze wrote that the discipline society had transitioned into a control society, with the computer replacing the panopticon as an instrument of discipline and control while still maintaining the qualities similar to that of panopticism.
The privacy of households could be compromised by solely analyzing smart home network traffic patterns without dissecting the contents of encrypted application data, yet a synthetic packet injection scheme can be used to safely overcome such invasion of privacy.
Peter-Paul Verbeek, a professor of philosophy of technology at the University of Twente, Netherlands, writes that technology already influences our moral decision making, which in turn affects human agency, privacy and autonomy. He cautions against viewing technology merely as a human tool and advocates instead to consider it as an active agent.
Justin Brookman, of the Center for Democracy and Technology, expressed concern regarding the impact of IoT on consumer privacy, saying that "There are some people in the commercial space who say, 'Oh, big data — well, let's collect everything, keep it around forever, we'll pay for somebody to think about security later.' The question is whether we want to have some sort of policy framework in place to limit that."
Tim O'Reilly believes that the way companies sell the IoT devices on consumers are misplaced, disputing the notion that the IoT is about gaining efficiency from putting all kinds of devices online and postulating that "IoT is really about human augmentation. The applications are profoundly different when you have sensors and data driving the decision-making."
Editorials at WIRED have also expressed concern, one stating "What you're about to lose is your privacy. Actually, it's worse than that. You aren't just going to lose your privacy, you're going to have to watch the very concept of privacy be rewritten under your nose."
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed concern regarding the ability of IoT to erode people's control over their own lives. The ACLU wrote that "There's simply no way to forecast how these immense powers – disproportionately accumulating in the hands of corporations seeking financial advantage and governments craving ever more control – will be used. Chances are big data and the Internet of things will make it harder for us to control our own lives, as we grow increasingly transparent to powerful corporations and government institutions that are becoming more opaque to us."
In response to rising concerns about privacy and smart technology, in 2007 the British Government stated it would follow formal Privacy by Design principles when implementing their smart metering program. The program would lead to replacement of traditional power meters with smart power meters, which could track and manage energy usage more accurately. However the British Computer Society is doubtful these principles were ever actually implemented. In 2009 the Dutch Parliament rejected a similar smart metering program, basing their decision on privacy concerns. The Dutch program later revised and passed in 2011.
A challenge for producers of IoT applications is to clean, process and interpret the vast amount of data which is gathered by the sensors. There is a solution proposed for the analytics of the information referred to as Wireless Sensor Networks. These networks share data among sensor nodes that are sent to a distributed system for the analytics of the sensory data.
Another challenge is the storage of this bulk data. Depending on the application there could be high data acquisition requirements which in turn lead to high storage requirements. Currently the internet is already responsible for 5% of the total energy generated and this consumption will increase significantly when we start utilizing applications with multiple embedded sensors.
IoT Analytics and Predictions
Analytics and prediction models are becoming an integral part of IoT applications and this presents many challenges for development of IoT systems. For example, for the systems where the privacy preservation is a big concern, transmitting data to the cloud for analytics purposes might seem risky. Another challenges arise when prediction components need to reside on IoT resource-constrained devices or when complex deep learning models need to be integrated to the IoT system.
Concerns have been raised that the Internet of things is being developed rapidly without appropriate consideration of the profound security challenges involved and the regulatory changes that might be necessary.
Most of the technical security issues are similar to those of conventional servers, workstations and smartphones, but the firewall, security update and anti-malware systems used for those are generally unsuitable for the much smaller, less capable, IoT devices.
Network security will remain preferred solution for IoT security products, with sales anticipated to account for nearly US $15,000 mln by 2027-end. End-point/ device security will continue to be the second largest solution for IoT security products. In addition, vulnerability management solution for IoT security products will register fastest expansion through 2027.Revenues amassed from smart grid, and home & building automation applications of IoT security products will collectively account for revenues worth US $26,753.5 mln by 2027-end.
According to the Business Insider Intelligence Survey conducted in the last quarter of 2014, 39% of the respondents said that security is the biggest concern in adopting Internet of things technology. In particular, as the Internet of things spreads widely, cyber attacks are likely to become an increasingly physical (rather than simply virtual) threat. In a January 2014 article in Forbes, cyber-security columnist Joseph Steinberg listed many Internet-connected appliances that can already "spy on people in their own homes" including televisions, kitchen appliances, cameras, and thermostats. Computer-controlled devices in automobiles such as brakes, engine, locks, hood and trunk releases, horn, heat, and dashboard have been shown to be vulnerable to attackers who have access to the on-board network. In some cases, vehicle computer systems are Internet-connected, allowing them to be exploited remotely. By 2008 security researchers had shown the ability to remotely control pacemakers without authority. Later hackers demonstrated remote control of insulin pumps and implantable cardioverter defibrillators. David Pogue wrote that some recently published reports about hackers remotely controlling certain functions of automobiles were not as serious as one might otherwise guess because of various mitigating circumstances; such as the bug that allowed the hack having been fixed before the report was published, or that the hack required security researchers having physical access to the car prior to the hack to prepare for it.
The U.S. National Intelligence Council in an unclassified report maintains that it would be hard to deny "access to networks of sensors and remotely-controlled objects by enemies of the United States, criminals, and mischief makers... An open market for aggregated sensor data could serve the interests of commerce and security no less than it helps criminals and spies identify vulnerable targets. Thus, massively parallel sensor fusion may undermine social cohesion, if it proves to be fundamentally incompatible with Fourth-Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search." In general, the intelligence community views the Internet of things as a rich source of data.
As a response to increasing concerns over security, the Internet of Things Security Foundation (IoTSF) was launched on 23 September 2015. IoTSF has a mission to secure the Internet of things by promoting knowledge and best practice. Its founding board is made from technology providers and telecommunications companies including BT, Vodafone, Imagination Technologies and Pen Test Partners. In addition, large IT companies are continuously developing innovative solutions to ensure the security for IoT devices. As per the estimates from KBV Research, the overall IoT security market would grow at 27.9% rate during 2016–2022 as a result of growing infrastructural concerns and diversified usage of Internet of things.
In 2016, a distributed denial of service attack powered by Internet of things devices running the Mirai malware took down a DNS provider and major web sites. In May 2017, Junade Ali, a Computer Scientist at Cloudflare noted that native DDoS vulnerabilities exist in IoT devices due to a poor implementation of the Publish–subscribe pattern.
While security is a concern there are many things being done to protect devices. Device data is following cryptographic standards and encryption is being used in end-to-end scenarios. To help with this scenario x.509 certificates are also being used to verify device identity.
Security experts view Internet of things as a threat to the traditional Internet. Some argue that market incentive to secure IoT devices is insufficient and increased governmental regulation is necessary to make the Internet of things secure.
The overall understanding of IoT is essential for basic user security. Keeping up with current anti virus software and patching updates will help mitigate cyber attacks.
Given widespread recognition of the evolving nature of the design and management of the Internet of things, sustainable and secure deployment of IoT solutions must design for "anarchic scalability." Application of the concept of anarchic scalability can be extended to physical systems (i.e. controlled real-world objects), by virtue of those systems being designed to account for uncertain management futures. This "hard anarchic scalability" thus provides a pathway forward to fully realize the potential of Internet-of-things solutions by selectively constraining physical systems to allow for all management regimes without risking physical failure.
Brown University computer scientist Michael Littman has argued that successful execution of the Internet of things requires consideration of the interface's usability as well as the technology itself. These interfaces need to be not only more user-friendly but also better integrated: "If users need to learn different interfaces for their vacuums, their locks, their sprinklers, their lights, and their coffeemakers, it's tough to say that their lives have been made any easier."
Environmental sustainability impact
Also, because the concept of Internet of things entails adding electronics to mundane devices (for example, simple light switches), and because the major driver for replacement of electronic components is often technological obsolescence rather than actual failure to function, it is reasonable to expect that items that previously were kept in service for many decades would see an accelerated replacement cycle if they were part of the IoT. For example, a traditional house built with 30 light switches and 30 electrical outlets might stand for 50 years, with all those components still original at the end of that period. But a modern house built with the same number of switches and outlets set up for IoT might see each switch and outlet replaced at five-year intervals, in order to keep up to date with technological changes. This translates into a ten-fold increase in waste requiring disposal.A concern regarding Internet-of-things technologies pertains to the environmental impacts of the manufacture, use, and eventual disposal of all these semiconductor-rich devices. Modern electronics are replete with a wide variety of heavy metals and rare-earth metals, as well as highly toxic synthetic chemicals. This makes them extremely difficult to properly recycle. Electronic components are often incinerated or placed in regular landfills. Furthermore, the human and environmental cost of mining the rare-earth metals that are integral to modern electronic components continues to grow. With production of electronic equipment growing globally yet little of the metals (from end-of-life equipment) are being recovered for reuse, the environmental impacts can be expected to increase.
Intentional obsolescence of devices
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has raised concerns that companies can use the technologies necessary to support connected devices to intentionally disable or "brick" their customers' devices via a remote software update or by disabling a service necessary to the operation of the device. In one example, home automation devices sold with the promise of a "Lifetime Subscription" were rendered useless after Nest Labs acquired Revolv and made the decision to shut down the central servers the Revolv devices had used to operate. As Nest is a company owned by Alphabet (Google's parent company), the EFF argues this sets a "terrible precedent for a company with ambitions to sell self-driving cars, medical devices, and other high-end gadgets that may be essential to a person's livelihood or physical safety."
Owners should be free to point their devices to a different server or collaborate on improved software. But such action violates the United States DMCA section 1201, which only has an exemption for "local use". This forces tinkerers who want to keep using their own equipment into a legal grey area. EFF thinks buyers should refuse electronics and software that prioritize the manufacturer's wishes above their own.
Examples of post-sale manipulations include Google Nest Revolv, disabled privacy settings on Android, Sony disabling Linux on PlayStation 3, enforced EULA on Wii U.
Kevin Lonergan at Information Age, a business-technology magazine, has referred to the terms surrounding IoT as a “terminology zoo”. The lack of clear terminology is not “useful from a practical point of view” and a “source of confusion for the end user”. A company operating in the IoT space could be working in anything related to sensor technology, networking, embedded systems, or analytics. According to Lonergan, the term IoT was coined before smart phones, tablets, and devices as we know them today existed, and there is a long list of terms with varying degrees of overlap and technological convergence: Internet of things, Internet of everything (IoE), industrial Internet, pervasive computing, pervasive sensing, ubiquitous computing, cyber-physical systems (CPS), wireless sensor networks (WSN), smart objects, cooperating objects, machine to machine (M2M), ambient intelligence (AmI), Operational technology (OT), and information technology (IT). Regarding IIoT, an industrial sub-field of IoT, the Industrial Internet Consortium's Vocabulary Task Group has created a "common and reusable vocabulary of terms" to ensure "consistent terminology" across publications issued by the Industrial Internet Consortium. IoT One has created an IoT Terms Database including a New Term Alert to be notified when a new term is published. As of March 2017, this database aggregates 711 IoT-related terms, however, without any attempts to reduce terminological ambiguity and complexity.