IT Trends

Security Tops List of Trends That Will Impact the Internet of Things

Are you ready to deal with "denial of sleep" attacks? Those are attacks using malicious code, propagated through the Internet of Things, aimed at draining the batteries of your devices by keeping them awake. And it's one of the top 10 technology trends affecting IoT in the near future cited by market research firm Gartner in a new report.

According to Gartner's Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst: "Experienced IoT security specialists are scarce, and security solutions are currently fragmented and involve multiple vendors," said Mr. Jones. "New threats will emerge through 2021 as hackers find new ways to attack IoT devices and protocols, so long-lived "things" may need updatable hardware and software to adapt during their life span."

The new report spotlights technologies, trends and "principles" that should be on every IT professional's radar "through the next two years" (2017 and 2018).

"The IoT demands an extensive range of new technologies and skills that many organizations have yet to master," said Jones in a statement released to coincide with the report's release. "A recurring theme in the IoT space is the immaturity of technologies and services and of the vendors providing them. Architecting for this immaturity and managing the risk it creates will be a key challenge for organizations exploiting the IoT. In many technology areas, lack of skills will also pose significant challenges."

The report identified 10 tech trends to watch:

  1. Security. According to Gartner, threats extend well beyond denial of sleep: "The IoT introduces a wide range of new security risks and challenges to the IoT devices themselves, their platforms and operating systems, their communications, and even the systems to which they're connected. Security technologies will be required to protect IoT devices and platforms from both information attacks and physical tampering, to encrypt their communications, and to address new challenges such as impersonating 'things' or denial-of-sleep attacks that drain batteries. IoT security will be complicated by the fact that many 'things' use simple processors and operating systems that may not support sophisticated security approaches."
  2. Analytics. According to Gartner, IoT will require a new approach to analytics. "New analytic tools and algorithms are needed now, but as data volumes increase through 2021, the needs of the IoT may diverge further from traditional analytics," according to Gartner.
  3. Device (Thing) Management. IoT things that are not ephemeral — that will be around for a while — will require management like every other device (firmware updates, software updates, etc.), and that introduces problems of scale.
  4. Low-Power, Short-Range IoT Networks. Short-range networks connecting IT devices will be convoluted. There will not be a single common infrastructure connecting devices.
  5. Low-Power, Wide-Area Networks. Current solutions are proprietary, but standards will come to dominate. According to Gartner: "Traditional cellular networks don't deliver a good combination of technical features and operational cost for those IoT applications that need wide-area coverage combined with relatively low bandwidth, good battery life, low hardware and operating cost, and high connection density. The long-term goal of a wide-area IoT network is to deliver data rates from hundreds of bits per second (bps) to tens of kilobits per second (Kbps) with nationwide coverage, a battery life of up to 10 years, an endpoint hardware cost of around $5, and support for hundreds of thousands of devices connected to a base station or its equivalent. The first low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs) were based on proprietary technologies, but in the long term emerging standards such as Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) will likely dominate this space."
  6. Processors and Architecture. Designing devices with an understanding of those devices' needs will require "deep technical skills."
  7. Operating Systems. There's a wide range of systems out there that have been designed for specific purposes.
  8. Event Stream Processing. According to Gartner: "Some IoT applications will generate extremely high data rates that must be analyzed in real time. Systems creating tens of thousands of events per second are common, and millions of events per second can occur in some telecom and telemetry situations. To address such requirements, distributed stream computing platforms (DSCPs) have emerged. They typically use parallel architectures to process very high-rate data streams to perform tasks such as real-time analytics and pattern identification."
  9. Platforms. "IoT platforms bundle many of the infrastructure components of an IoT system into a single product. The services provided by such platforms fall into three main categories: (1) low-level device control and operations such as communications, device monitoring and management, security, and firmware updates; (2) IoT data acquisition, transformation and management; and (3) IoT application development, including event-driven logic, application programming, visualization, analytics and adapters to connect to enterprise systems."
  10. Standards and Ecosystems. Gartner noted that as IoT devices proliferate, new ecosystems will emerge, and there will be "commercial and technical battles between these ecosystems" that "will dominate areas such as the smart home, the smart city and healthcare. Organizations creating products may have to develop variants to support multiple standards or ecosystems and be prepared to update products during their life span as the standards evolve and new standards and related APIs emerge," according to Gartner.

The complete report, "Top 10 IoT Technologies for 2017 and 2018," is available for a fee.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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