When it comes to the Internet of Things, people tend to start thinking that it is some magical technology able to solve all the problems. IoT devices are now easy to buy and there are more and more generic hardware and software choices pragmatically available in the IoT market. Connected devices can complete functions remotely and optimize operating systems altogether. In general, a successful IoT project centers around mastering device management and making automated processes a reality. However, with all the possibilities to have a cost-effective solution and get rid of unstructured data for good, there are several major issues that need to be addressed.
These challenges include:
The IoT connectivity market is highly fragmented with multiple technologies and ecosystems. For effective IoT device management, connectivity is a necessity rather than an option. While the low-power cellular standards continue to command the majority of the wireless IoT market, unlicensed ISM bands and small form factor satellite technologies are emerging as viable options for remote and low-cost applications.
The growing number of IoT devices increases the amount of data to be stored and processed. That is why the interconnection of devices is crucial to ensure smooth data transfer. However, if one device malfunctions, it can corrupt the data of all the others. Clearly, this creates a demand to have advanced software for quality control and data backup if needed.
Connectivity issues are a major concern for enterprises that are working with IoT technology, as many of the installed devices are not well-checked and simply do not comply with global standards. According to a recent Beecham Research study, more than 70 percent of businesses face connectivity issues when implementing their IoT technologies (IoT Business News, 2021). Such numbers are unpleasing and show that IoT network management requires effort and reliable hardware and software.
How to Address this Issue?
The easiest way to address key considerations on connectivity is to choose smart devices and gateways with battery backup and third-party software compatibility. Many IoT devices are compatible only with IoT applications and sensors from one manufacturer, significantly limiting tracking devices’ capabilities in terms of comprehensive analysis and connectivity. That is why you have to choose the most cost-effective solution, open-source software, and hardware carefully, paying attention to connectivity options.
Connecting devices to a united IoT ecosystem is crucial for the creation of a smooth automated production line or asset management, or any process your company needs to optimize. That is why if you want to avoid such a problem, you have to choose a manufacturer, which doesn’t have any problems with adopting third-party software features and integrating other devices without any problems.
Basically, just a technical solution is needed to solve this issue. If a producing company is willing to be inclusive in terms of allowing clients to use the desired software together with the devices it produces, the question of integrating devices will not be raised as an issue at all.
TEKTELIC Communications is a company, which pays huge attention to customers’ requests and needs, including more integration considerations and interoperability options. We are very proud of the fact that all of our gateways can integrate any third-party LoRaWAN device. You can also use your own LoRaWAN server and application, so we do not bind you to our devices and give you a choice of what to use. We want to help you create automated processes rather than simply sell our products.
Another IoT solutions challenge is security. IoT security is a growing challenge in the enterprise world, particularly as IoT devices become more prevalent and complex. These devices need to be protected against cyberattacks by hardening their components and implementing security frameworks. This includes monitoring, updating firmware, and managing access. Security measures must also address threat response and remediation of vulnerabilities.
One of the most common IoT security challenges is the risk of home invasion, which is a major concern for home automation. Because home automation systems can share personal information, hackers could target these systems and steal sensitive information. Fortunately, there are several ways to secure these devices, including enforcing strict legal and regulatory frameworks and limiting the number of devices that can be installed as well as access to these devices.
Another major challenge is the potential impact of malware. While the majority of IoT information is stored in the cloud, malware that has access to sensitive data can still be used to attack users. Many companies are also careless with software and do not perform software updates regularly, making them a prime target for hackers. For example, many embedded solutions are not wireless and don’t support over-the-air updates. Additionally, these IoT devices often don’t have cybersecurity measures tracking device logs and are therefore susceptible to hacking.
How to Address this Issue?
While security risks are a concern, these vulnerabilities are preventable with proper IoT systems management. If you update the software frequently, you can avoid the risk of a high-profile security breach. In addition, these updates need to be tracked and applied across distributed environments to perform quality control.
To protect sensitive information, IoT products should include unique passwords that cannot be easily guessed. They should also have robust authentication and a reset mechanism that allows users to clear all configuration settings without losing sensitive data. These measures can reduce the risk of data leakage and non-compliance with data protection regulations.
Besides hardening, companies should also evaluate hardware and software choices pragmatically and consider the importance of monitoring network traffic. A deep insight into network traffic is critical as it helps identify malicious events and zero-day attacks. A machine learning-based solution can detect and prioritize issues based on large patterns of network traffic. This kind of insight can help organizations protect their industrial IoT networks and environments.
TEKTELIC understands how important is to monitor security and device health for a successful IoT project. We have both software and hardware protection in the devices to reduce physical installation difficulties and prevent data leaks. Speaking about hardware maintenance and protection, we offer a line of outdoor IP67 devices and gateways and a separate line of ATEX-certified products. For example, KONA Macro IoT Gateway is a great outdoor gateway option, which has a wide variety of deployment variations. It can be mounted to the pole, wall side, or lamppost due to its hardened enclosure, lighting protection, temperature resistance, and sustainability to any weather changes.
KONA Macro IoT Gateway is a fully integrated and tailored solution for metering, industrial, and smart city purposes. It has a plug-and-play installation, so only minimal knowledge is needed to set it up. Besides, Macro has an integrated RF filter that prevents the surrounding noise from influencing the gateway and rejects cellular and paging interference.
Speaking about software security and access, we should mention that the huge benefit of the LoRaWAN network is that all the messages in transmission are encrypted and can be decrypted only by a particular gateway, which has a certain key. So, even if data from an IoT device reaches the wrong gateway in proximity, it will send it back as the keys will not match. Such a line of action ensures the security of IoT integration and usage.
Power consumption is one of the most critical issues when designing IoT devices. These devices are often large, heavy, and expensive, and many of them can consume large amounts of power. Ultimately, these monitoring machines need better energy-management systems.
Many IoT systems are battery-powered and it might seem like a benefit. However, this can pose a variety of challenges as not all batteries have a long life and may require a recharge. Many smart devices are placed in remote locations and access to them may be limited, so constant battery change and recharge will not be an option. Plus, the change itself requires additional spending and leads to an unpleasantly surprising expense statement at the end of the year.
The first step is to understand how IoT devices use power. For example, embedded radios often consume the most power. In order to reduce this power consumption, these radios can be turned off or minimized. Another solution is the wake-up radio concept, which involves using a dual radio transceiver to maintain a low-power state. This approach could lead to devices with long battery life.
How to Address this Issue?
In order to address the power consumption issue, it is necessary to choose low-power operating devices and those having long battery life. A good method to reduce power consumption is by enabling IoT devices to go into sleep mode after a specified period of time. This strategy can help extend battery life by at least 50 percent. Moreover, it can make IoT devices more energy-efficient by suspending the real-time clock and processor.
Another solution is to implement demand response programs. These programs work by sending signals to IoT devices to reduce power consumption during times of peak demand. They help manage the grid as a whole by reducing the need to add more capacity. Some utilities provide incentives to building owners for participating in these programs.
IoT data can also help organizations manage their energy usage outside the IoT platform. Real-time data from different IoT devices can show outlier patterns in the energy consumption of major systems, which can help organizations initiate quick maintenance and repair. Similarly, smart lighting systems and thermostats can monitor the changing needs of building occupants and respond accordingly.
TEKTELIC has always paid attention to the energy issue, and that is why we’ve managed to create products with long battery lives and low power usage. It is not a new software feature but most of our tracking sensors have an event-based start, so they are not active and do not consume energy when there is no data change to transmit. For example, ORCA is an asset-tracking device with a battery life of up to 5 years. So, you can deploy and use it for 5 years straight without even thinking about the recharge. Besides, it has an event-based startup, so when an asset, which is under tracking doesn’t move, ORCA enters sleep mode and doesn’t account for energy consumption.
ORCA can be attached to industrial carts, packaging machines, robotics, and industrial applications. It has LoRaWAN, GPS, and BLE connectivity, which allows using it indoors and outdoors with the same efficiency level. Besides, ORCA can be a part of an end-to-end asset tracking solution, which allows companies to track all the assets and analyze unstructured data remotely using our application, network server, device, and gateway. Our low power consumption approach optimizes hardware maintenance, eliminates the need to spend money for routine battery changes, and helps address key considerations of energy use.
The Internet of Things connectivity market is growing rapidly and is a significant opportunity for businesses and consumers alike. At the same time, IoT challenges exist and it is important to understand and address them accordingly. IoT devices need reliable bidirectional signaling in order to collect and route data and provide the necessary levels of connectivity. In addition, IoT data streams should be encrypted to ensure privacy and security. These data streams need to travel from point A to point B quickly and reliably. As the Internet of Things continues to grow, more challenges will need to be overcome. At the same time, if you choose a reliable provider and thoroughly approach the choice of devices, you will be able to handle the challenges listed in a matter of minutes.
In case you need further details about IoT device management, LoRaWAN networks, and other characteristics to consider, feel free to contact the TEKTELIC sales team, they’ll be happy to answer all your questions.