The Internet of Things (IoT) is key to digital transformation. The reality is that implementing granular real-time instrumentation enables process and situational intelligence to be exchanged for timely, informed, distributed decision making, which provides broad enterprise and consumer value.

The defining characteristic of IoT is the convergence of IT, operational technology (OT), and telecommunication systems, and the integration of diverse industries. In effect, IoT represents a digital deployment model that spans physical infrastructure, software, applications, productivity tools, people, processes, and intelligent workflows with relevant data being the currency that drives monetization.

The magnitude and scope of millions of connected users and applications, billions of devices, and all their permutations and complex, real-time interactions tests IoT solutions in an entirely new and daunting way. IoT solutions must continuously be able to process and exchange data securely at scale and ensure that the data itself is entirely trust worthy. The mandate for IoT, therefore, is a trusted information supply chain that secures all IoT sensor, communication, interpretation, consumption, and auctioning activities for a broad range of business use cases.

Today IoT has significant security challenges. The digital supply chain effectively increases the attack surface. It takes a single threat perpetrated by a lone hacker to wreak havoc. Once inside a supply chain, threats can lie undetected and dormant—causing potentially devastating outcomes. Compromised data is as much a result of data corruption caused by misaligned firmware, software, and system configuration as it is of deliberate tampering. Every connected entity makes the digital supply chain vulnerable, and the security of any complex system, including a digital supply chain, is only as strong as its weakest link. Perimeter-centric security solutions fall short because they depend on known vulnerabilities and are not effective once a threat is inside the supply chain.

Lack of security and data integrity in some IoT applications has far graver consequences than other types of security breaches. For example, compromised instrumentation data on airplanes can be the cause of crashes, in power plants it can lead to catastrophic failures or outages, and in the case of health monitoring devices it can directly result in death.

With widespread adoption of IoT, the industry is increasingly leveraging blockchain, a mathematically provable protocol for transparent and auditable digital transactions. Blockchain is based on a distributed public ledger and is transparent to authorized participants. Every transaction is publicly recorded and verified. The blockchain technology makes it possible to secure all IoT communication from supplier to system commissioning.

At IDF 2016, Apcera, the company that created the industry’s first trusted application management platform, showcases an IoT application based on Wi-Fi services at airports. Leveraging a partner ecosystem, Apcera demonstrates how guaranteed Wi-Fi fidelity and quality optimizes the security, efficiency, and user experience of public traveler services—such as terminal navigational wizards to redirect passengers to shorter security lines, fast wheelchair access, and intelligent baggage custodial management and retrieval.

Demo ecosystem partners include:

  • Intel Edison chipset provides real-time sensing of all GPS-designated access points.
  • Ericsson Data Centric Security is based on Guardtime's implementation of blockchain technology, which provides time proof, electronic data integrity, and attribution of origin to enable verifiable trust in data. Input data is signed, monitored, and verified continuously as it is forwarded to an analytics engine to ensure that it has not been altered or tampered with and to ensure the output data is verifiable. Keyless Signatures Infrastructure (KSI) time-stamps the sensor data and also signs and verifies the configuration of IoT devices to ensure integrity across the software supply chain.
  • Apcera server-less compute architecture, which is based on AWS Lambda, is used for resource and analytics optimization. The Apcera secure application management platform scales automatically in response to events thereby enabling fast, efficient creation of a real-time analytics pipeline of data streamed from GPS-designated access points.
  • Apcera NATS provides a real-time, high-performance, very lightweight messaging system for connecting IoT messages.
  • Apcera’s Dynamic Policy Engine ensures policy-controlled discipline throughout the entire IoT platform including devices, data, communication, security, compute, and business actioning.

Going to IDF 2016? You can see all this in action at our demos in the IDF Technology Showcase.

Security Digital Industrialization

Smita Deshpande

Smita is on the Ericsson Cloud Marketing team and leads Product Marketing for Developer Platforms. Prior to Ericsson, Smita worked at VMware where she led Technical Partner Product Marketing for NSX, VMware’s network virtualization platform.

Smita Deshpande