Expediting IoT Growth with Blockchain

[fa icon='calendar'] Dec 19, 2016 1:33:54 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in blockchain, blockchain technology, General, internet, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, tech, TechCrunch, technology

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer/Marketing

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been developed with a centralized communication model as an integral part of its infrastructure. The cloud acts as the centerpiece for IoT communication, allowing devices to communicate, store and process data, and connect through the internet. However, cloud technology will be unable to sustain the sheer amount of data that is being processed with the growing IoT. Blockchain technology can be used to create a more decentralized communication model, helping alleviate the discrepancies of privacy, communication, and scalability for the IoT.

Cloud technology is great for introducing the power and potential deployments of IoT. In a TechCrunch article, the issues of future cloud applications are captured perfectly when author Ben Dickson states, “cloud servers will remain a bottleneck and point of failure that can disrupt the entire network.” The issue is that IoT ecosystems are expanding at an unprecedented rate; the resources that need to be allocated for maintaining the cloud will not be enough to nurture the growth of this technology. The cloud may be the IoT solution at this point in its development, but the costs and demands of processing that much data will become a nuisance. There needs to be an improved system for handling the heavy traffic of smart technology.

Blockchain technology is the answer the IoT industry has been searching for. Blockchain is a Machine to Machine (M2M) communication platform that enables devices to act as nodes and communicate with each other, removing the stress of storing everything in a central server. This innovative technology can help track and monitor the vast quantities of connected deices, allowing for devices to be able to coordinate their transactions directly with other devices. This can help cut down on the expenses of maintaining the enormous cloud networks and data centers.

One way to further understand the blockchain approach is to examine common network topologies. Utilizing the cloud as the centerpiece for IoT infrastructure is essentially creating a star network configuration. This means that each devices is acting as a node that is connected to a central device. The nodes cannot communicate directly; they can only communicate through the central device. The issue with this is that if there is a single point of failure, particularly the central device, the entire network goes down. Blockchain technology enables the network to resemble more of a mesh network configuration. This essentially means that every node is connected to each other and can communicate without going through a central device. This does create some redundancy within a network, but it this could be a more reliable solution for the IoT.

Decentralizing the communication model of the IoT can be an important step in establishing a reliable network for devices to operate within. The security of the IoT would also be improved due to the fact that there is no central point the information has to go through, removing the possibility of data being intercepted at the central device. Even though this technology is very promising, it does not come without problems. Setting up these networks is much more complex than setting up one that runs through the cloud. Once these networks are setup, there comes the issue of creating them on a scale where billions of devices can communicate directly with each other. The future of this technology is unclear due to these roadblocks, but the potential ability to have a seamless network with M2M communication is ideal for the development of the IoT.

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IPv6 and The Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Oct 10, 2016 2:28:20 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in authentication, end-to-end encryption, General, internet, Internet of Things, IoT, IP address, IPv4, IPv6, M2M, machine to machine, NAT, NDP, Neighbor Discovery Protocol, Network Adress Translation, tech, technology

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

A majority of the tech industry has come to accept that the Internet of Things (IoT) will increase in size by the year 2020, enabling around 30 billion internet-connected devices. Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) was the first internet protocol to be released for public use. When it was released, it only allocated enough address spaces to accommodate for just over 4 billion devices, which is clearly not even close to enough space at this point in time. Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6), which is the most recent internet protocol, is the perfect solution for the IoT as it extends the number of address spaces to roughly 340 undecillion.

The IPv6 can essentially provide every person on Earth with around 4,000 usable IP addresses, which is more than enough space to sustain the expected IoT growth. Due to the limited size of the IPv4, implementing IPv6 as the new standard for internet connectivity is inevitable. When IPv4 began to run out of address space, Network Address Translation (NAT) was developed to enable different devices to share the same public IP address. At the time, this was a very innovative solution that compensated for the unexpected expansion of the internet. However, many devices that are being developed today utilize an IPv6 address space. Even though converting any IPv4 addresses to IPv6 may be cumbersome, it is only a matter of time before IPv6 is universally accepted, rendering IPv4 infrastructures completely useless.

What does this have to do with the IoT? The most important thing to consider is that upgrading from IPv4 to IPv6 will require end-to-end encryption and a stronger authentication process. This is because using NAT creates a middleman in the device communication, removing the ability to have more secure machine to machine (M2M) communication. IoT devices are heavily reliant upon robust and secure communication as the data collected by device sensors can include sensitive information. IPv6 will enable safe M2M communication and allow for the IoT to continue to expand at its expected, exponential rate. There can still be some security risks with IPv6, but it is a significant advancement in comparison to IPv4.

Security aside, IPv6 could be the solution for multi-protocol interoperability between different devices. This is due to the fact that it includes a very large address space, allowing for the internet to be extended to any device. IPv6 utilizes auto-configuration, which is used to establish a link-local address. It can then use its Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP) to check if the address is unused and unique before it saves it. This is a major upgrade for the IoT because IPv6 completes its address conflict detection before actually using the address itself, which IPv4 did not do.

When it comes to things such as mobility and scalability, IPv6 is well equipped to handle the plethora of IoT devices that will soon be creating networks within homes and cities. This upgraded internet protocol brings more functionality and more security than IPv4 could offer, while ensure every device will have a unique IP address. As the IoT world continues to expand at such a rapid pace, its dependency on IPv6 is an unavoidable step in creating seamless device interoperability and communication.

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Humble Beginnings of the IoT

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 26, 2016 1:44:23 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in cloud computing, data analytics, General, Internet of Things, Internet Society, IoT, Kevin Ashton, M2M, machine to machine, networking, RFID, tech, technology

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The Internet of Things (IoT), that has been portrayed as an impending revolution, is not a new concept, but is the culmination from many years of connecting objects through computer networks. Kevin Ashton didn’t coin the phrase we use today until 1999 (while referring to RFID tags in supply chains), but the idea that he was employing came about earlier in the 90s when machine-to-machine (M2M) industrial solutions offered closed networks for device communication. Although these types of connections are not new to the tech world, they have only recently gained more ground in potential applicability.

This past October, the Internet Society put out an IoT overview and marked a number of key trends that have sparked the recent interest and excitement regarding connected devices. The pervasiveness of cheap connectivity has dramatically increased over the past few years, which is visible in one way because of the ubiquity of home Wi-Fi networks. In addition, the widespread adoption of IP-based networking creates an avenue for interoperability between devices.

Advances in circuit development and its miniaturization have also drastically changed the way we think about connectivity. The smart phones that many of us have in our pockets possess the processing power which surpasses some of the supercomputers of the 90s. Implementing internet connectivity into a device is drastically more advanced compared to when Kevin Aston first praised the possibilities of RFID and can be accomplished in much more diverse applications.

Finally, the most recent developments in data analytics and cloud computing have boosted the excitement to the point it’s at today: with hundreds of articles postulating the potential use-cases and applicability of the IoT. These movements really allow for the data sharing capabilities that enables a product to be “smart” and establish the support system for powerful third-party developers.

While it is exciting to visualize what the IoT will look like when it finally arrives, it’s helpful to look back a little and see how far we’ve come already. The integration of the internet into our daily lives has been an ongoing process for many years, and a lot of the benefits of these trends are soon to become a reality.

For more information, check out the Internet Societies’ overview: http://bit.ly/1XO2YGf

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How Time-Sensitive Networking Enables the IIoT

[fa icon='calendar'] Sep 5, 2016 9:17:20 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in DeviceNet, Ethernet, Ethernet IEEE 802, Featured In, General, Grid Connect, IIC, IIoT, Industrial, Industrial Internet Consortium, Industrial Internet of Things, Industry 4.0. Machine, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, operational technology, PROFIBUS, tech, technology, testbed, time-sensitive networking, TSN

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The world’s first time-sensitive networking (TSN) testbed is being developed in a collaborative effort to change network infrastructure so that it will enhance the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). As this develops, it is essential that Industry 4.0. Machine designers, builders, and users have reliable and secure access to smart edge devices. This will force the current, standard network technologies to transform in an effort to meet the requirements of the next generation of industrial systems.

The testbed itself was designed to assist in creating a new wave of innovative technologies, products, applications, and services for the industrial internet market. The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), comprised of the corporations developing the testbed, are attempting to create a TSN in an “ecosystem of manufacturing applications,” which is based off of new Ethernet IEEE 802 standards. The goal of the testbed is to provide insight on the security of a TSN as well as highlight its real-time capabilities through the use of standard and converged Ethernet.

In order for TSNs to be taken seriously, it will be crucial that there are sufficient security measures utilized in order to protect the safety of IIoT users. It is essential that the TSN security is integrated as a layered system, meaning security is implemented throughout the network, because simply adding security as an additional feature at the end of development (air-gap security) leaves the network vulnerable as it is only a perimeter-based measure of defense. One beneficial aspect of time-sensitive networking is its ability to determine the exact instance data was sent and when it is supposed to arrive; if anyone intercepts packets of data it will be easy to tell. That being said, TSNs require a central management aspect that have the power to alter entire networks, which could be a challenge in terms of developing security.

The use of deterministic Ethernet will alter the various safety systems for TSNs by allowing messages to be scheduled from safety applications in order to provide high availability for safety systems. The real-time, synchronous mechanisms of the deterministic Ethernet will enable the connection of more devices and more machines, creating a powerful and integrated IIoT. Mike Justice, president of Grid Connect, believes that its use as a control network has the potential to replace other existing networks such as Profibus and DeviceNet.

As the real-time capabilities of deterministic Ethernet continue to develop, there will be several applications that will benefit from the use of a TSN. Machine-to-machine communication would improve as it needs to operate with low latency and high synchronization. Safety-based communications could access data more efficiently as it is currently mostly done through hardwiring. General motion and robot controls would improve as accessing data through standard communication could be done with ease. Essentially any latency-sensitive application would be much improved through the use of a TSN.

Another interesting application of a TSN can be observed through cloud and edge computing as they provide an infrastructure that will improve the functionality IoT technology. The use of deterministic Ethernet through TSNs could theoretically allow for machine control to be executed within a cloud environment, but there isn’t much room for error regarding latency in communication. Even though consumer and industrial applications of cloud-based machine control have different demands in terms of real-time dependency and data consumption, they are still in the foreseeable future if network stability can be established. Private, local clouds have had success in controlling machines, but large public clouds are more concerning with problems such as technical issues, data confidentiality, and security.

Time-sensitive networking is a feasible option for advancing the IIoT as long as it delivers on its promises of speed and security. It will be a major improvement to converge from information technology (IT) to operational technology (OT) in regards to the security and integration of cloud services. Justice states that “The controls industry is conservative and will follow the IT market in a few years after security issues are well-addressed.” The ability of TSNs to connect machines to the cloud and create real-time data messaging and analytics will improve the overall functionality of the IIoT.

 

Read more at: https://www.controldesign.com/articles/2016/how-time-sensitive-networking-enables-the-iiot/?start=4

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Technology Leaders Converge for Six Events in Las Vegas this November

[fa icon='calendar'] Aug 11, 2016 3:12:38 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Events, Featured In, General, Grid Connect, Internet of Things, Internet of Things West, IoT, Las Vegas, M2M, machine to machine, November, tech, technology

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A vast majority of the technology industry’s leaders and innovators are coming together in Las Vegas this November. Through a series of six different conferences, all covering different technological specialties, the industry’s brightest minds will connect and discuss the most advanced technology. These companies will be working together in an effort to discover new market opportunities and pave the way for future technological advancement.

During these conferences, several very important technical topics will be dissected. The topics of interest include cloud-based control of devices, interoperability, cyber security, advancements in wireless connectivity and low power design, and the development of the advanced technology for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine to Machine (M2M) applications. Grid Connect was recognized as leading and emerging IoT player, and will be considered one of the technical experts at the Internet of Things West conference.

For more information: http://www.remotemagazine.com/main/news/technology-leaders-converge-for-six-events-in-las-vegas-this-november/

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How Singapore is Envisioning the Internet of Things

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 4, 2016 2:32:00 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Beeline, big business, China, data, General, Global Far East, government, GSMA, housing, Internet of Things, IoT, Korea, M2M, machine to machine, MyTransport, OECD, public transit, Singapore, Smart City, smart homet, Smart Nation, Smart Nation Initiative, startup, tech, technology

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By Joe Duncan, Marketing

Many of the countries in the Global Far East have made definitive innovations to the Internet of Things (IoT). According to the OECD, Korea is leading the world in devices online per 100 inhabitants at 37.9, with the next closest competitor ranking in at 32.7 (The US weighs in at a measly 24.9). In addition, China’s efforts to establish a solid base in the Internet of Things has been intensive; GSMA reported in 2015 that, “China leads the world in the adoption of M2M services, with 74 million connections at the end of 2014, representing almost a third of the global base.” And although these numbers are compelling, Singapore’s vision for a Smart Nation has already begun to show what a Smart City might look like.

The Smart Nation Initiative, as the Prime Minister’s Office explains it, “adopts a people-centric approach to rallying citizens, industries, research institutions and the government to co-create innovative solutions.” The idea is that government, big business, startups and everyone else would get involved in the creative process. Government agencies are releasing much of the data gathered from sensors around the city into the public domain for use in analytics and as a good-faith invitation to participate in the generation of IoT solutions. Public transit is already partnering with mobile applications like Beeline and MyTransport to ensure streamlined service in transportation, but maybe the most exciting development so far has been in their emphasis on smart home technology.

The Housing and Development Board of Singapore has extended smart home solutions to 3,200 homes in the Yuhua estate, including “elderly monitoring systems that provide peace of mind to caregivers of loved ones, and Utility Management Systems that help manage household utilities usage.” Singapore intends to extend the Internet of Things through a collective community of sensors and a unified platform. As far as specific technologies are concerned, maybe Singapore isn’t any farther along than anyone else. Products for the IoT are still developing to their fullest potential, and there is still so much progress yet to be made before the smart home is a widespread occurrence.

On the other hand, Singapore’s developments do show a great deal of movement in the big picture. By creating an environment where the IoT can thrive by facilitating city-wide programs and encouraging the expansion of Smart initiatives. In effect, Singapore is working to support a network infrastructure with public sensor data and extensive connectivity. The benefit of this will be that products released into this setting will have more initial use-cases, a higher rate of acceptance and will be able to interact with the IoT infrastructure already in place.

Learn more, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJjPeKc-ekE&index=2&list=PLmGkYf0auQJyhg7DmHJZuXQrCWNw_qd9D

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The Internet of Things and Networking

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 27, 2016 2:26:02 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in ConnectSense, connectsense, gateway, General, Grid Connect, Internet of Things, IoT, M2M, machine to machine, Nathan Rockershousen, networking, smart home, Wi-Fi, wifi

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

The Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing to grow at a rapid pace as more devices are becoming connected. However, the IoT is rendered useless without a system of networking to support it. As WiFi-enabled devices increase in popularity, the demand for networking will expand substantially. IoT-based technology is disrupting the current networking market due to vast amount of data that is collected and the quantity of devices connected to the Internet. Companies will be expected to have extremely efficient networks that will allow for real time analysis. In addition to this, simply having faster Internet speeds is essential in supporting the rise of IoT devices.

One of the developing applications of IoT devices is found within the smart home. Smart technology devices require extremely fast networks. The IoT-enabled ConnectSense sensors and Smart Outlet rely on networking to enable machine-to-machine communication. Your ConnectSense products collect large quantities of data in order to provide you with accurate and efficient analysis. Improving the ConnectSense cloud is one of the ways Grid Connect is able to help you adapt to the implementation of IoT devices in your home. The best way to fulfill the necessity of having a fast network is by creating quicker router speeds and ensuring that WiFi is able to be accessed everywhere in the home with a more advanced networking framework.

A strong network is essential for the use of various IoT products, whether it’s a smart home device, a piece of wearable technology, or even if it’s for an industrial application. Managing your network can be accomplished with the use of a Grid Connect gateway device to improve USB, serial, or custom sensor connections. Gateways and other networking devices can help improve networking abilities in order to support the demanding nature of connected and data-driven devices. Finding a perfect network configuration will compensate for whatever quantity of data your IoT devices are bringing in.

It is clear that the impact the IoT is having on networking is only going to expand as the demand for a more connected and efficient world continues to increase. Having quality control of networks will allow for an improved customer experience. Creating networks that can handle a great deal of traffic and data will allow you to be prepared for the IoT’s disruption of the networking market.

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The Dangers of Protocol Overkill

[fa icon='calendar'] Jun 22, 2015 9:36:32 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Adam Justice, Customer Experience, General, Internet of Things, interoperability, IoT, M2M, protocols, standards

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Standards in the Internet of Things (IoT) are the platform by which devices can communicate. This provides a language for devices to speak in order for them to recognize one another and work in unison. Unfortunately, in recent years, corporate agendas have overshadowed the ideal consumer experience by infusing the market with an overload of protocols, creating a significant barrier to the interoperability of devices in the smart ecosystem.

Adam Justice talks more about this issue and possible solutions here: http://embedded-computing.com/guest-blogs/a-solution-for-standards-overload/

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Join Us at IoT DevCon 2015!

[fa icon='calendar'] Apr 23, 2015 8:45:35 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in data, Events, General, Hubs, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT DevCon, M2M, machine to machine, monitoring, security infrastructure, smart fusion, software, technology

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IoTDevCon_logo

 

 

 


When:
 May 6-7, 2015
Where: Hyatt Regency - Santa Clara, CA
Table #: S6
Silver Sponsor

Machine-to-machine methods, (or M2M), intelligent embedded and/or smart fusion have been around in some form for many years. The Internet of Things (IoT) goes way beyond this capability and interconnects virtually unlimited numbers of smart objects and changes the way we interact with our environment. To help rein in the vast world of IoT, the IoT DevCon will focus on technologies ranging from the ultra-low power microcontrollers to the multicore-enabled aggregation hubs to the software and security infrastructure required for monitoring and management of the enormous bundles of data.

Conference Website: http://www.iot-devcon.com

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Session Title: IoT Standards: Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen
When: May 6, 2:15pm-2:40pm

The Internet of Things (IoT) was named the most hyped technology of 2014 by Gartner, and designers are responding by feverishly working to add connectivity to products in all industries, especially in the connect home, medical devices, industrial automation and transportation. Connected products require a new approach to design. This session will dive into the 10 things designers need to consider when developing IoT devices.

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February 2015 Newsletter – Link Round Up

[fa icon='calendar'] Feb 27, 2015 7:14:59 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in business, business models, connected devices, connectsense, consumers, FIRST Robotics Competition, General, Grid Connect, Huskie Robotics Team, Internet of Things, IoT, IoT design, IoT platform, IWCE, IWCE Expo, Las Vegas, M2M, machine to machine, Napervile North, network range, Newsletters, NNHS, Perry Marshall, robotics, transmission of data, transmission range, Wireless

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Putting User Interface at the Start of Your IoT Design Process - How are your buyers going to interface with your product? This is one of the toughest aspects of Internet of Things (IoT) product design right now. Today’s consumers and business owners expect multiple ways to access and control the world around them and options for connected devices are numerous. > Read More at GridConnect.com

Going the Distance: How Range Affects IoT Design - The network range required for IoT devices plays a surprisingly important role even in the smallest design decisions. After all, the transmission of data is at the core of IoT devices. Transmission range depends on the type of network used, the environment it will be used in, and the types of data being communicated. > Read More at Remote Magazine

Upcoming Event: What You Need to Know About the Internet of Things - When: March 20, 8:30am-12:00pm | Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV - Room N259 - IoT applications have the potential to transform every sector of business by allowing enterprises to take informed decision, optimizing the process, and supporting innovative business models. The combination of ‘low-cost’ connected devices with the need for data drives Internet of Things. Examine business opportunities in everything from M2M to green buildings to smart devices, explore how to create a wireless business ecosystem with IoT platform, and what limitations IoT might have technologically. > Learn More at IWCE Expo

Companies Help Animate Naperville North Robotics Projects - What is 6-foot 5-inches tall and can haul recycling totes and bins to the curb? For members of the Huskie Robotics Team at Naperville North High School, the answer is obvious. It’s their new robot. More than 70 students from Naperville North, as well as a handful of Naperville Central students, are building a tall, 120-pound robot as part of this year’s FIRST Robotics Competition. The Huskie Robotics Team would not be able to function without the assistance of corporate sponsors such as Grid Connect. > Read More at Naperville Sun

What Do You Do When You're 100,000 Miles Away and Your Basement is Flooding? - Earlier this year, Perry Marshall, a revolutionary in sales and marketing, took a trip from Chicago to India. He had just gotten to his destination when he received a text from his ConnectSense Water Sensor that his basement was flooding. So what do you do when you're 10,000 miles away and your basement floods? Here's what Perry did. > Read More at PerryMarshall.com

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