A lot of the excitement and press surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) centers on home automation, wearable electronics, and other consumer applications. But industrial applications of the IoT, such as predictive maintenance and integration of the supply chain are likely to be the more compelling use cases, at least in terms of ROI. For Industrial IoT (IIoT) to realize its potential, however, it must overcome some substantial challenges.
Here's an industry perspective on what challenges IIoT must overcome in the coming year. To make navigation easy, I have links to the topics at the bottom of the page. You can also use the “Next” and “Previous” links to page through the list.
Virtually everyone agrees that security is a critical issue for Internet-connected industrial systems. Dell Inc., a member of the Industrial Internet Consortium, listed security at the top of its list of IIoT challenges. Industrial attacks are becoming increasingly common, with malware such as BlackEnergy being found in multiple SCADA systems.
The recent data hack at Sony is a prime example of the kinds of damage that a company can sustain when its information systems get breached. “It doesn't take much to extrapolate such an attack to a company with Internet connected devices,” says David Beberman, vice president of marketing at Aicas. “There have been many scenarios studied that project significant harm and potential loss of life from such hacks. The technical challenge is to secure Internet-connected devices from cybernetwork attacks, as well as local physical attacks. A similar challenge exists for the cloud-hosted services, such as data analytics. The business challenge is to ensure that security is taken seriously and designed in by the equipment vendors, not looked at as a cost center and patched on after the fact.”
The challenge is substantial, and may require new industry practices be developed and adopted. “Controls engineers today frequently 'air-gap' systems to completely isolate from the external threats,” says Todd Walter, senior group manager at National Instruments and member of the AVnu Alliance. “Before connecting operations systems to the IT system guarantees on security and stability are needed.”
“Platforms have to 'learn' how to interact with a multitude of services and data/command streams often associated with different domains,” says Oleg Logvinov, director of market development at STMicroelectronics. “That creates new requirements for security, privacy, identity management, and access control. In many cases such requirements have significant implications at the silicon level demanding novel architectural solutions in SoCs designed to drive IoT.”
To read more of this external content, go to ” Standardization, breaking down silos and adopting data centric design.”